We all know that the ladies of Sex and the City were partial to a cocktail or two, as are the Catwalkschoolgates Team, this and the fact that we are well into the festive season we are all very excited to hear how Nuzy got on at the London Gin Club!
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”
Some rules are not meant to be broken – and the “two martini” rule certainly falls within this category. However when I booked a table at The London Gin Club in Soho which serves over 130 types of gin and boasts the best Gin and Tonic in London, I knew that I was at risk of testing my resolve to the limit! To make matters worse I was joined by my cousin Jabir who has managed some of London’s top bars and my husband Hassan, a gin aficionado, who mixes a mean martini. Let the games begin…………..
The London Gin Club was launched by Julia Forte in 2012 in her former cocktail bar, The Star at Night. The original Star Café was established by Julia’s grandfather over eighty years ago making this Soho’s oldest family run business. The décor retains the café’s original charm with old tin advertisements and black and white family photos on the walls. It is table service only (a nice change from most bars today) and there is a great vibe. The location is very central – just off Oxford Street and despite being dwarfed by a construction site across the road, there was a constant stream of customers.
You can tell by speaking to Julia that she has a real passion for what she does and that she cares deeply about her grandfather’s and father’s legacy. However she is not wedded to the past and has created a bar that will appeal to connoisseurs of gin as well as those of us who want to experience something new and educate our palate.
Julia advised us to start off with a cocktail and asked us what characteristics we liked. We selected a Negroni made with barrel aged gin that certainly packed a punch, a classic Tom Collins topped up with champagne and an elegant White Lady. I couldn’t resist the exotically named Cardamom and Orange Gimlet made from Cardamom gin, orange, lime and sugar that was sublime – delicate and perfectly balanced flavours with the wonderful fragrance of cardamom.
The first round
There is a selection of vintage gins from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s so you can have cocktails made with the original ingredients to experience the genuine flavour. Perfect for all you fans of Mad Men!
Nuzy sipping her White Lady
In order to test Jabir’s knowledge we moved on to a Blind Tasting where we sampled 4 gins served in inconspicuous glass bottles accompanied by a selection of garnishes. I learnt that gin is best served in a balloon “Copa” glass to enhance the aroma and the water from the cracked ice releases the flavour of the botanicals that flavour the gin. Juniper is a key ingredient but other botanicals can include coriander, orange, lemon, damson, sloe berries, cinnamon and cardamom.
Jabir passed his test with flying colours and was able to identify the features of each gin, be it citrus, spicy, floral or savoury and the underlying botanicals.
My favourite gin for a G+T was Old English Gin that is made from a 1783 recipe. Julia suggested a lemon peel and raspberry garnish. I guess I am an old fashioned girl at heart!
I recommend The London Gin Club for great cocktails and for a unique exploration of gin. A perfect place to have a few drinks before a night out in Soho or the West End.
The London Gin Club
22 Great Chapel Street,
Soho, London, W1F 8FR
Phone: 0207 494 2488
PS managed to get there on Wednesday and the cocktails are sublime!!! Anne Marie