FOOD & DRINK / WHERE TO GET YOUR GIN FIX IN LONDON
“I exercise strong self-control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast” - W.C. Fields”
A roast dinner, cream tea, drizzly rain and of course, queuing are all typically British. Despite the spirit originating in the Netherlands, my favourite quintessentially British thing by far is a classic Gin & Tonic. A match made in alcohol heaven.
Gin is one of London’s most fashionable spirits. Served as a cocktail in teacups at pop-up bars across the city or in a tall glass as a classic G&T with a slice of cucumber at plush hotel bars; gin overtook vodka in the style stakes several years ago and it continues to remain a firm favourite with drinkers.
I too have a massive love affair for gin. I take after my mum in a lot of ways; one way in particular... we both love (and often crave) a good ol' G&T. There's nothing better than cracking open a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and sipping away at a crisp, refreshing G&T after a long day at work. Pure bliss, right?
It's Gin Festival in London this weekend and tickets are notoriously difficult to get your hands on so rather than putting yourself on a waiting list, I thought I'd give you a list of my favourite bars in London to G&T it up! Whether you want to stick to the classics or broaden your horizons with varying flavours; the nation’s mixologists have plenty of innovative options to offer.
Bermondsey Street is fast becoming one of South London's most talked about locations and lucky for me, it’s only a five minute stroll from my office. Nestled among the other trendy cafe's and boutiques is 214 Bermondsey, a specialist gin cocktail bar. They boast an impressive and extensive menu and feature over 80 different gins to choose from, plus their homemade tonic so there's a drink to suit gin-virgins as well as the most experienced of gin connoisseurs.
It’s all in the name really. This classic venue boasts more than 100 types of gin, new era as well as a selection of vintage gins. With so much on offer, it’s a bit daunting at first but the menu is very comprehensive and the staff are very helpful, friendly and skilled so there’s no doubt you’ll pick a gin perfect for you. The club also has tasting menu’s so you can sample a wider variety and learn more about each specific kind.
Worlds apart from any others in the Covent Garden area, this is probably the most eccentric bar I’ve ever visited. Based on the adventures of Jules Verne’s fictional explorer, Phileas Fogg, this theatrical Victorian-inspired Gin Parlour is a mishmash of vintage antiques and trinkets paired with chaise lounges, patterned china, glass chandeliers and a gorgeous marble-topped bar. The eccentricity doesn’t stop there; it’s followed through to their extensive menu. Among the classics, you’ll find some experimental options made by the passionate – and wacky – mixologists.
If you’re looking for some decent pub grub, a comfy sofa on which to catch up with friends over wine or an enormous choice of gin, you could do a lot worse than The Elgin in Ladbroke Grove. It’s a buzzing local has a relaxed but friendly vibe where you can choose between one of the two bars; the main bar out front or delve a little further into the slightly cosier ‘Gin Palace’ which has a large array of classic and specialist varieties on offer. It’s a perfect choice for a weekday tipple.
If you fancy staying in for a G&T in the comfort of your own home, here are the bottles I'd personally say are worth investing in... (*and a link to where you can stock up)
To the gin snobs out there, try not to judge me too much on this next one, but I guarantee it's one of the best I've tried...
Also, next time you have a tantrum because you've run out of cucumber, fear not because gin is also delicious paired with: a wedge of lime, orange, grapefruit, mint & strawberry and I'm sure many others that I'm yet to try. At least that gives me something to do this weekend...
What's YOUR drink of choice? Any other fellow gin fanatics out there?
P.S. If you want to explore your gin love further afield, I'd suggest anywhere in Spain. They're massive fans of an evening gin cocktail and serve them in goblet 'size of your own head' glasses. Winning. See below images from a girly trip to Valencia demonstrating...