Behind the Bar: Welcome to the City of London’s Only Gin Distillery

Here at House of Coco we love gin as much as the next millennial, but the City of London’s Gin Distillery is kicking it well up a notch. Following a hefty refurbishment, the Distillery welcomes a brand new underground bar for gin aficionados, liquor lovers and stressed city workers everywhere.

 

A hidden treasure burrowed under Bride Lane and just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s, the City of London Gin Distillery has all the hallmarks of a boujie, underground bar with one distinct feature; striking copper stills and stainless steel funnels overlook the speakeasy-style bar, and the feverish Friday night excitement of the City swirls with the citrusy aroma of the distillery’s authentic dry, signature murician orange and rhubarb & rose gins – to name just a few.

If it’s one thing us Brits have always loved, it’s gin. And here in the heart of London, the gin craze of the 18th Century blazed through London backstreets; Hogarth’s infamous “Gin lane” says it all. Distilleries propped up every corner and working-class Londoner’s feasted on “Mothers ruin” like it was going out of fashion. Eventually, it did. Following the Gin Act of 1751 which outlawed small scale gin distilleries in the capital, the gin craze fell out of favour and gin distilling ceased. Since its repeal in 2008, London’s love affair with the spirit has transformed into a fully-fledged “ginaissance” and last year alone, we purchased 55 million bottles of the stuff – up 44% from last year. That’s 1.32 billion gin and tonics. Since then, craft gin has led to the influx of blissfully ‘extra’ G&Ts frequenting every drinks menu in the UK. What a time to be alive.

Paving the way for craft gin in the Square Mile, the City of London Distillery has brought gin distilling back to the City for the first time in almost 200 years. First opening its doors back in 2012, its shining copper pots and vats are proudly on display for all to see. Guests can enjoy a tipple (or several) against the backdrop of the working stills, while official tours and tastings take place regularly for gin aficionados looking to refine their tastebuds. For a cool, distinctly British experience, the gin lab offers weekly workshops where anyone can curate their own botanical blend, distil their own gin and take home a bottle of their hand crafted elixir.

Gin has officially overtaken vodka as Britain’s most popular spirit once again, but why such a revived boom for premium and craft gins? Bombay Sapphire and Gordon’s are British staples, but its small scale craft blends that are fuelling the UK market’s insatiable appetite.

Anyhow, it’s safe to say that today’s image of your typical gin drinker is a far shout from working-class Victorians drinking themselves to death on cheaply distilled paint-stripper esque pints of the stuff. Gin has benefited from a huge PR makeover, facilitated by the market influx of better quality sprits, authentic brands and unique flavours.

The Distillery’s COLD bar fits right in with the latest gin fashions. Distilled on site by the master blender, the cool and crisp authentic dry gin is a staple tipple. For those like me, who enjoy gin best when infused with citrusy botanicals and floral flavored tonics sloshed into a chic balloon glass – then you’re in for a treat. The Murician orange gin is equally tart and sweet (I tried it neat – and I didn’t hate it!) and paired with rose vermouth, lemon and tonic for a sweet but light “Dome Spritz” – one of three cocktails concocted for London Cocktail week to celebrate the unique flavours of Square Mile gin.

So if you’re in the City and gasping for a truly authentic London Gin which encompasses all the hallmarks of Britain’s historical obsession with the stuff (but in a vastly more chic and cool scenario), you’ve stumbled on the right place. Chin Chin!

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