Anyone who has enjoyed our Secret Gin Run will know that business is booming for my favourite juniper based tipple.
There are many reasons for this – its versatility, the distinctive taste, and its quintessential Englishness, but perhaps first and foremost is the array of excellent independent craft distilleries that have been appearing over the last few years.
Few epitomise this trend more than City of London Distillery, who since starting up in late 2012 have gone from strength to strength, recently launching their fifth variety of gin. I popped into their Blackfriars base to see what all the fuss was about.
Arriving for our distillery tour, my boyfriend and I were greeted by a complimentary gin and tonic that we enjoyed at the bar. The underground setting is impressive to say the least, and we found the sharply dressed bar staff to be attentive and helpful as we supped up our first G&T’s and enquired about the rest of their range.
G&T number two (an ‘Square Mile' since you asked, pictured left) in hand, we were led through to a small room, where our group of twelve were seated for our tour. Never having visited a gin distillery (honest!) I wasn’t sure what to expect – would we be met with an hour long discourse on the history of gin? Or forced to sit and thirstily watch its step by step creation.
Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. The distillery tour was a unique and insightful glimpse at the realities of running an independent gin distillery. It felt personal, open and refreshingly honest, with plenty of room for questions and asides. Despite being seated alongside ten strangers, the atmosphere was light hearted and friendly, with the historical info deftly supplemented with quips and banter by our fantastic host, Alfie.
It is unfair to label this as a distillery tour – for £25 we were given a history lesson, a tasting, and an up close and personal look at the machinery used to create the fuel for Saturday nights everywhere. And yes, plenty of gin too. This tour represents excellent value for money, as well as perhaps the most civilised pre-drinks possible if you have a night out planned afterwards.
The tour also gets you a discount on a bottle of their excellent gin afterwards. We bought variety number 1, best served with cantaloupe melon or grapefruit. Rude not to.
Highly recommended for ginaholics everywhere.
How to book
We went on the Distillery Tour and Tasting but there's much more to choose from, including workshops to make your own gin, and some competitive (!!) gin experiences. So much to do... so little time...