Ginny things all kicked off with our lovely Dutch neighbours and their preferred tipple Genever but London made gin great. London took it to the world. Then India splashed some tonic in it and things got real dreamy.
During the 18th century it all got a little wild and we had the ‘Gin Craze’ people were addicted to a liquid that bares little resemblance to what we sup on today, distillation was made legal for any Tom, Dick or Harry and the London streets were awash with ill made gin.
When things got too bad the big dogs in parliament needed to take action. They did. The Gin acts were introduced which whacked some sweet laws around distillation along with a hefty bit of sales tax on spirits.
BOOM. It was then time for the big gin houses to step up. Beefeater, Tanqueray, Booth’s and Gilby’s began making gin sexy. Gin got classy and the world adored it, it became the base spirit for many of the globe’s great cocktails. The Negroni, the Martinez, the Last Word, The Aviation (anyone thirsty? I am!) and yeah boy; The Gin Martini.
So London was rocking the gin scene right up until the Second World War but after that it was getting silly expensive in the capital and many gins left to distill in more economically easy areas. Slowly but surely London lost many of its gins. But fear not, a wonderful era then began.
That era is where we’re at right now. The second ‘Gin Craze’ erupted. Drinkers grew more knowledgeable, bartenders cared more about their mixing and distiller’s passions flickered, they saw opportunities. Gin came BACK to London in 2009 with the gallant folk at Sipsmith. They were the first to have a distiller's licence granted in London for almost 200 years. Where they started others followed.
We now have distilleries knocking about all over our glorious city. Portobello Road opened up a Ginstitute in Notting Hill, Jensen’s arrived in Bermondsey in a wicked little arch. City of London Distillery rocked up slap bang in the square mile. East London Liquor Company brought gin back to the East. Beefeater continued what they do best and then opened up their first ever visitor centre. Hayman’s kept the Essex gin scene alive. Sacred developed the first micro distillery London had encountered. The London Distillery launched a gin that celebrated the exploits of 19th century engineer Ralph Dodd. The love of gin was stronger than ever. Worship Street Whistling Shop, White Lyan, Bump Caves and Peg + Patriot created gins which suited the cocktails their bars created. 58 gin, Half Hitch and Highwayman Gin started distilling on seriously small scale. A landscape of gin like we’ve never seen before developed.
That’s where we at Shake Rattle and Stir come in. It’s our duty to take you around these wonderful edens, tell you all about it and let you taste the fruits of the distillers labour. We host a couple a lovely little gin tours, namely the Gin Journey. For London Cocktail Week we’ve put together a special edition the ‘High and Mighty Gin Journey’. Things are going High AND Mighty! Don’t ask questions, if you like gin just BOOK!
The line up for the High and Mighty Gin Journey has been confirmed:
6.15pm - Quo Vadis,
7.30pm - City of London Distillery
8.30pm - The Savoy
9.30pm - Duck + Waffle
10.30pm - City Social
One sample of gin and one bespoke gin cocktail in each bar. Loads of lovely gin chat and an amazing evening like you've never experienced before. The chance to taste an exclusive gin which has only had 30 bottles bottled.