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For gin lovers, there’s simply no better city on earth than London. From the Gin Craze of the 18th century, to the grand Victorian gin palaces, London’s love affair with “Mother’s Ruin” is well established, and still going strong today.The city’s first gin palaces began popping up in the East End, around Holborn and Old Street, during the 1830s, before spreading to more central locations. From the Hotel Indigo London – Tower Hill, you’ll find yourself ideally placed to explore the London’s gin-loving heritage. From traditional offerings in nearby Holborn to trendier variations in Shoreditch, here are a few modern-day gin palaces to try:
Whistling Shop (63 Worship Street) This Shoreditch gin bar is the perfect modern-day homage to London’s historic affinity for the tipple. Inspired by a Victorian gin palace, The Whistling Shop on Worship Street is dark and atmospheric. But, of course, this being Shoreditch, there are trendy modern twists aplenty when it comes to the cocktails on offer. The Phileas blends the classic British taste of Dandelion, Burdock, and tea with Asian spices and Chai masala bubbles.
Photo provided by Whistling Shop
Viaduct Tavern (126 Newgate Street) Although it’s now owned by Fuller’s brewery, the Viaduct Tavern was one of the original Victorian gin palaces, built in 1869. It still boasts a traditional gin booth and an extensive gin menu, including cocktails inspired by 17th-century playwright Ben Johnson and notorious pickpocket Moll Cutpurse.
City of London Distillery (22-24 Bride Lane) A little farther west you’ll find this modern gin distillery near Blackfriars. COLD, as it’s known, opened in 2012 as the first new gin distillery in the City of London for more than 200 years. Modern as it is, the bar still gives a retro nod to London’s heritage. It’s stocked with 180 different gins for mixing an impressive range of cocktails. If it’s not enough to just drink gin, COLD also offers distillery tours and gin distilling masterclasses.
Photo provided by City of London Distillery
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour (58 St Martin’s Lane) Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour can be found in bustling Soho, above Mr Fogg’s Tavern. This is a gin bar for those with a taste for the finer things in life. Inspired by a Victorian drawing room, Mr Fogg’s is a dapper experience. There are more than 300 gins to choose from, and “G & Tea” cocktails come served in teapots.
Photo provided by Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour
The London Gin Club (The Star, 22 Great Chapel Street) Another popular Soho gem, the London Gin Club serves more than 300 “premium and super premium gins.” They also host gin tasting events, gin cocktails, and “ginfusions.” Described as “somewhere between a G&T and a cocktail,” The London Gin Club has three spicy ginfusions on offer: red chilli, cucumber, and basil; cinnamon and apple; and cardamom and orange.
Photo provided by The London Gin Club
The Ginstitute (The Distillery, 186 Portobello Road) If you’re based at the Hotel Indigo London – Kensington or the Hotel Indigo London – Paddington, it’s well worth checking out this West London gem. Home of Portobello Road Gin, the Ginstitute offers a full gin immersion with Still Room tours, gin history lessons, gin tasting, gin making masterclasses, and, of course, a tip top G&T.
Photo provided by The Ginstitut
The ties between London and gin are strong, but if gin isn’t your preference, there are other ways to enjoy thoroughly British cocktails.