London’s gin-making heritage dates back centuries and today the city still has a thriving gin scene which can be explored by booking onto one of numerous curated tasting experiences.
Gin has played a significant role in London’s fate and fortunes down the years. Indeed, during the first half of the 18th century, a rapid increase in the consumption of gin in the capital – and indeed across Britain – led to an epidemic that became known as The Gin Craze, a time characterised by extreme drunkenness and social disorder. Happily, today’s gin scene in the capital is far more refined – well, usually, anyway. Here are 7 of the best London gin tasting experiences currently on offer.
Sophisticated Spirit: Gin And Tonic Experience For Two
In the swanky environs of The Donovan Bar in Mayfair, patronised over the years by some of London’s most glitzy figures from fashion and art, pairs of guests can enjoy a memorable 2-hour gin and tonic experience hosted by acclaimed bartender Salvatore Calabrese. During your time in the venue, with its walls adorned with black and white photographs and set against the backdrop of the smooth sounds of jazz, you’ll get to taste a selection of three different gins – dry, herbal and spiced – while learning about how to pair gins with tonics to bring out the flavour. From £112 per person.
Gin Tour by Classic Mini Cooper
Hit London’s roads on this two-hour drive in a classic Mini Cooper, stopping at two acclaimed gin bars and distilleries along the way. The tour starts with a pick-up in Central London where you’ll be chaperoned in style by a local guide who will regale you with fascinating tales about the history of the city, including stories of the era of Charles Dickens. At each of the two stop-offs you’ll get to taste some of the products and see how they’re made. Transportation and three gin-based drinks are included in the price of the tour. From £312 per group (max 3 people).
Quintessentially London: Distillery Tour And Gin Tasting For Two
The first copper-pot distillery to open in London since 1820, Sipsmith Distillery has been on a mission to create the world’s best London Dry Gin. While pursuing this goal, the distillery opens its doors to the public with tours and tastings for those keen to discover what goes on behind the scenes at a modern gin-making production plant. During this 1.5-hour experience for two, you’ll get to look around the facility alongside an expert guide before savouring some of the distillery’s hand-crafted spirits at a tutored tasting. A complimentary Sipsmith goodie bag will be given to you to take home as a memento. From £50 per person.
From London: Bombay Sapphire Gin & Winchester Tour
This small-group day trip transports visitors via a Mercedes mini-coach from London to the historic city of Winchester in the south of England. During the 10-hour fully accompanied tour you’ll get to explore all the city has to offer, including its magnificent cathedral, ancient mill, and myriad of museums. After a leisurely look around, you’ll head to Laverstoke Mill, distiller of one of the world’s most popular gins, Bombay Sapphire, where you’ll get to discover the artistry behind the gin-making process, before your return journey to London. From £59 per person.
Gin Palace Crawl with Distillery Tour & Tastings
Taking in four London gin palaces over the course of three hours, this guided tour invites you to learn about the history of gin since the 1700s while sampling a gin at each venue. In the company of your expert guide, a qualified historian, you’ll discover the fascinating relationship between the famous liquor and the British people as you weave through the city’s backstreets and alleyways and along its grand thoroughfares. The stop-offs include some of the finest examples of Victorian Gin palaces to survive the Blitz and modern property developers, and the tour ends with a visit to the City of London Distillery. From £79 per person.
Keep your gin up: Gin & Tonic Masterclass With Three-Course Lunch For Two
In the chic environs of the Skylon restaurant on London’s buzzing Southbank, enthusiasts can unearth the true spirit of gin with a Gin and Tonic masterclass for two followed by a delicious lunch. Surrounded by panoramic views of the city afforded by floor-to-ceiling windows, guests will be treated to a tutored tasting of three gins matched with tonics to enhance the complex flavours, with the in-house mixologist delving into the history gin and offering insights into the nuances and delicacies of tonics. Following the masterclass, guests will sit down to a three-course lunch from a set menu in the venue’s popular Grill restaurant to round off the experience. From £120 per person.