Roll-me-in-the-kennel, needle and pin, nose and chin and Vera Lynn. That’s right I’m talking gin.
Britain is the biggest exporter of the clear stuff with new distilleries popping up all the time, infusing gins in increasingly creative ways – seaweed anyone?
I’m not a spirits drinker but gin I love. In the last few years London has become a hot bed of gin activity – with festivals, dedicated bars and tours springing up. How about a chauffeur driven gin tour where you can avoid public transport entirely?
I’ve only visited a selection of places so far, so I’ll start with one of them. This establishment was visited with me by my gin-loving friend of 23 years – a discerning woman when it comes to her favourite tipple.
So first in my gin chapter is the London Gin Club. Nestled away in a tiny alleyway behind Oxford St, is I admit not the most appealing sounding, but for the sake of argument its Soho really. You’d probably never end up there ordinarily but I like the fact its off the main drag.
It looks like a pub from the outside and I wasn’t really sure what to expect from reading the website. I envisaged a gin bar within a pub but the whole thing IS the gin club including a small downstairs area. Inside it’s dark, cosy with the walls adorned with vintage advertising posters. Staff were friendly and helpful (table service) and clearly know their stuff. Which is just as well as there are over 200 gins to choose from. With the continuing rise in gin producers I expect this number will almost certainly increase.
The menu is bewildering but has been split up into helpful sections (e.g Dutch gins, sweet cocktails, classic cocktails) to make choosing a little easier. Drinks are served beautifully in the proper Copa glasses that allow the botanicals to release properly (plus you can fit your face in and have a proper good inhale!). Pre-chilled glasses, twice-frozen cracked ice and an array of tonics – they take the G&T business seriously here.
They offer gin tasting evenings and have readily available tasting menus so you can sample several gins in one sitting. There’s even some food available in the evening which we didn’t try. Gin slips in here too – chorizo braised in gin and red wine for example.
You’ll definitely need to book a table here but I promise it will be worth it. Know any gin lovers? They offer ‘Gin Money’ to spend there so why don’t you treat someone to a great night out. They may not remember it the next day though…