Award-winning drinks writers-turned-witty stage entertainers The Thinking Drinkers celebrate the rebirth of a great tippling tradition…
The opening of Tate Modern’s Botanical Bar, specialising in bespoke and blended gins from London microdistillery Sacred, is a sure sign that the drink once known as ‘mother’s ruin’ is now a metropolitan must. But then London and gin have history.The drink arrived here in the seventeenth century as the Dutch firewater genever. Within 100 years the city was hooked on an adulterated version flavoured with urine and sulphuric acid rather than juniper berries. Mercifully, in the 1800s great London distillers, like Tanqueray, developed pure and pleasantly botanical London dry gin. Now gin is being reinvented once again, by new distilleries, great bars and events devoted to the spirit. Here are seven of the best. The Thinking Drinkers explain drink, gin and everything on Thursday July 18 as part of the Urban Sessions at Cre8, The Old Baths, Hackney Wick.
City of London Distillery
Where better to try a short course in gin studies than at the fascinating laboratory-like bar of this working distillery? Make your own cocktail or just sit and sip something special.
The City of London Distillery, Blackfriars.
With a small distillery at the top of the building, a room dedicated to gin history in the middle and a bar at the bottom serving fine gin cocktails, this covers every stage of the gin process.
The Portobello Star, Ladbroke Grove.
Gilbert’s Gin Garden
Described as a ‘curiously splendid imbibing arena’, this project is a partnership with Hendrick’s gin and set in the forecourt of the Renaissance Hotel’s cocktail bar. Expect plenty of irreverence and quality gin cocktails.
The Gilbert Scott, King’s Cross.
Carom Botanical Gin Garden
A glass atrium pop-up in partnership with Tanqueray gin. The inspiration for the drinks comes from the restaurant’s herb garden. You can wander among aromatic plants with a sharpener or, on September 17, hear Tanqueray Number Ten distiller Tom Nichol give away trade secrets. Carom, Tottenham Court Rd.
Despite drinkers once being warned that it takes 25 attempts before you can handle the potent poke of a negroni, it appears to be the ‘in’ gin drink this summer. Find the best at Frank’s, the open-air, makeshift bar at the top of a Peckham car park. Frank’s Café, Peckham Rye.
Tate Botanical Bar
Sacred stands out among the new breed of quality microdistillers, thanks to creator Ian Hart actually making the gin in his living room in north London, where the sofabased booze boffin also experiments with his botanical blends. The depth of flavour and the different tastes he create sare celebrated at Tate’s pop-up Botanical Bar, which is running until September 28. Skirt of the Black Mouth park, Tate Modern, London Bridge.
London Gin Ramble
Join us, the Thinking Drinkers, in association with the Wine Spirit & Education Trust, on our Gin Ramble this September. It’s a day of gin learning with experts giving tastings and a bus tour of some of London’s best distilleries. For more info wsetschool.com.
For more great London bars click here.