A G&T is no longer a dated drink to choose when there’s nothing else on offer. In 2009, gin enjoyed a resurgence, increasing in popularity with exclusive blends and limited-edition flavours . Gin is now typically served in large ‘gin balloon’ glasses, often decorated with ‘garden’ garnishes.
Craft gin has become especially popular. Certainly some of the appeal of gin is the fact that you can make it in small batches locally. Consumers are looking for locally-sourced produce and are interested in local tradition.
So where can you find London’s most exclusive gin bars, which will impress even the most discerning gin drinker?
London Gin Club
With a choice of nearly 200 gins in giant balloon gin glasses to choose from, The London Gin Club in Soho is so popular that you have to book a seat.
There is a cocktail list featuring all the classic favourites along with some of their own inventions. There are also ‘ginfusions’ – Broker’s gin mixed with different flavours.
For those who like to take their time comparing differences in flavour, gin tasting menus with tasters of four or eight gins are available.
City of London Distillery
A few of the distillery’s copper stills provide striking statement pieces in this underground bar, giving it a speakeasy vibe which offers a relaxed yet refined atmosphere to the City’s after-work crowd.
The smartly groomed staff at the City of London Distillery serve a variety of drinks including beer, wine and champagne, with the emphasis on gin.
You can book a gin tasting session or a distillery tour and there is also a gin ‘lab’ experience available where you can distill your own gin.
With a shop on site, if you like what you taste you can take it home to enjoy another day.
Merchant House is in the heart of the City and specialises in gin with over 250 varieties to choose from. You can sip your gin while sampling meat and cheese from local suppliers.
The handsome dark wood and leather interior with historic maps on the wall gives the impression of a traditional gentlemen’s club while the bartenders live up to the sophisticated surroundings with an in-depth knowledge about the drinks they serve.
The bar also offers gin masterclasses and tasting.
The American Bar at The Savoy
The American Bar at The Savoy has been named the World’s Best Bar at the 12th Annual Spirited Awards in 2018.
This bar has always been something special. Since the bar opened in 1893, the role of head bartender has been filled by just ten people who have been bestowed the honour of living up to the expertise and renown of the role. One of these ten people was Harry Craddock, who famously got people drinking the gin martini.
A prestigious bar frequented by many famous names (one of those being Winston Churchill), today the interior still feels like you are walking into its glamorous past with the decor as rich as ever.
2018 saw the launch of a new cocktail menu with drinks inspired by Terry O’Neill’s portraits of cultural icons. Try the Marlene Dietrich cocktail – she was a Savoy regular. This cocktail is a mix of gin washed with sesame oil, Mr Black coffee liqueur, Figaro fig liqueur and Dom Perignon Champagne.
While you sip your gin cocktail you can enjoy complementary nibbles and there is often live music. The American Bar is truly timeless.
Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace
During the week, Mother’s Ruin is a gin manufacturing unit, but the weekend sees the factory doors often to host a small, exclusive cocktail bar. They offer around 70 varieties of gin, including their own.
Becky Griffiths is the owner of Mother’s Ruin and she was inspired as a child watching her mother make gin. The fact that Becky is a supporter of all things local is this bar’s crowning glory. Most of the fruits that are used in the liqueurs are grown by Becky, the damsons are from her brother’s orchard and she forages for the sloes and elderflowers.
As you are drinking the locally produced gin you can also enjoy some local food – it really is a pleasure knowing where everything you consume here comes from.
If you want to gin themed day out in London to impress, perhaps for a special occasion, you can create a gin themed day around your favourite gin bar.
Take a helicopter ride over the sights of London, ending up at Kew Gardens for a picnic, taking a look at Kew Gardens’ own botanical and organic gins in their shop, before heading over to an exclusive gin bar in the capital for an aperitif before dinner.
With the revival of gin, exclusive gin bars and homemade gins are popping up everywhere to serve you the perfect drink from a large selection of different flavours. If you are a gin fan it is worth booking a seat at one of the best regarded gin bars in London.
Consumers see local as being higher in quality as it hasn’t been mass produced. Hand-crafted gin is highly regarded so seeking out a bar in London which knows about where the gin has been produced is worth the effort.