Gin is ruddy marvellous, isn’t it? Unless you’re one of those people where it transforms you into a sobbing wreck, I guess. It’s my favourite spirit – a nice cool gin on a sunny afternoon is unsurpassable.
Here are some gin facts for you (I like gin, suck it up):
– Gin is made with juniper berries
– London gin doesn’t have to be made in London – it’s a way to make gin
– Gin joints in 18th-century England allowed women to drink alongside men for the first time. It’s thought this led many of them to child neglect and prostitution. So gin became known as ‘Mother’s ruin”
– Gin and tonics were invented in colonial India when they found the quinine in tonic water was effective in preventing malaria. Soldiers added gin to tonic water to make it more palatable
Are we having fun yet or what?!
So anyway, I’m gin crazed. So when The Warwick invited me to a gin masterclass I was there faster than you can say Sipsmiths.
I headed there with my lovely pal Emily, of Curious London fame. We were located in the basement bar which was replete with gin bottles. Having just been taken over, The Warwick in west Soho and has undergone extensive redevelopment. The upstairs bar was HEAVING with people. The Warwick loves their gin and has even installed a gin shrine to pay their respects.
Meanwhile, in the basement, we were taken through a gin tasting session. We drank the gin neat, with a dash of water to open the flavours up. There were gins from all over the world, from Hammersmith to Africa.
We kick started the evening with Portobello Road. This is a London gin created by the Portobello Star bar. It’s an old-style gin with lots of botanicals (that means herbs and shiz, yo). It almost blew my head off – very punchy. It’s not messing around. It was slightly too harsh for my tastes, I think.
Boodles is named after the St James’s private members club in London. Sir Winston Churchill was a member. This fella (the gin, not Winny) was woody and spicy. I quite liked it – less punchy.
I tried really hard to like this one. I love elephants, and every bottle is named after a famous elephant. Amazing! All profits from this gin are donated to African elephant preservation charities. This gin has 14 botanicals in it. It wasn’t The One though. I was rapidly discovering I am a spirits sissy – neat spirits just blow my head off. Sorrynotsorry.
I won’t bore you, we all know Sipsmiths. Distilled in Hammersmith, this is in every self-respecting gin enthusiast’s drinks cabinet. It’s small-batch gin, which makes it sound dead exclusive.
This was loads of people’s favourite gin at the event. The premium gin has basil and kaffir lime leaf it in. It was pretty decent and my second favourite of the night.
Here’s my favourite gin! It was really easy to drink neat – so dangerous. If I had children I would neglect them for this bad boy. It’s inspired by Africa but made in England (small batch again). It’s fresh and warm yet citrusy. It also has baobab fruit in it, which I put in my fruit smoothies.
Gin tasting over, we then were made a G & T with our favourite gin. The garnishes different depending on what gin you picked, to enhance the botanicals in that particular gin. I had rosemary in mine. Yum!
If you fancy a trip to The Warwick, Piccadilly Circus tube is very closeby – some might say stumbling distance.