the process for converting denatured or wood alcohol into consumable form was not always reliable - some batches of "bathtub gin" were genuinely poisonous, and the consumption of wood alcohol often led to blindness or even death. 

producers of bathtub gin understood how undrinkable their product would be, so they encouraged bartenders at hidden bars and clubs to create their own recipes for cocktails. still today, straight gin is not usually served on its own, since it tends to be extremely dry. gin is often mixed with tonic water, vermouth or fruit juices to make it more palatable.