Once I became of legal drinking age whenever I was in a pub and someone asked me the oh-so simple question of “Plum, what would you like to drink?” I’d be stumped. Decisions have never been my forte you see, so I’d uhmm and I’d ahhh and then eventually after a long time pontificating I’d panic order, and ultimately, be glum with whatever tipple I’d chosen. Sometime around my early twenties a friend sat me down and bestowed some wise words unto me, “Plum you just have to have a drink”. Straw still in mouth I looked up from the drink that I’d absent-mindedly been slurping, “yeah thanks but I’ve got a drink. In fact, go on, I’ll have another. You know me I never say no to a drink!” My friend, making no move to reach for her wallet, shook her head at me “No, no, no! Not a drink silly. But A Drink. You know, a drink of choice. Your drink. The one that you always order without fail. If anyone buys you a drink they’ll always know exactly what to get you because …… you have A Drink”. Wise words indeed. So I took her advice, and for the next few years my Drink was Courvoisier and Coke, a sickly sweet and honestly quite vile combination that I still can’t catch a whiff of without my stomach flip-flopping and some fairly graphic memories of being sick into an assortment of nightclub toilets seeping back into my consciousness. Thankfully since then both my palate and I have matured somewhat (!) and nowadays my Drink of choice is always a G&T, plenty of lime and plenty of gin but easy on the tonic thanks.
So when the opportunity arose to toast the Birthday of a fellow gin-o-phile at The London Gin Club, I leapt at the chance. Boasting an impressive and slightly formidable list of 50 different gins and ‘London’s best G&T’, The London Gin Club is a must-visit for gin junkies. Located just off Oxford Street in The Star at Night pub and obscured from view by scaffolding (blame the expansion of the Northern Line) it’s worth a few mis-traced steps around the block for what I really do think is up there with the best G&T I’ve ever had the pleasure to sup. The London Gin Club serve their signature G&T’s over gigantic slabs of twice-frozen ice and in a ‘gin Copa’ balloon glass, which to you and me is basically a goblet the same size as a baby’s head, roomy enough for the gin to roll around the glass and impart its true flavour thus enhancing your overall drinking experience. Me, I was delighted that a glass that big equalled a pretty substantial measure! For the indecisive amongst you the bar staff, who are all self-confessed gin addicts and friendly and forthcoming with their knowledge, will patiently listen to your preferences and play matchmaker to you and your perfect gin partner. Mine was a Monkey 47, a German gin that like their cars, has been expertly engineered and contains a staggering 47 different botanicals. With citrussy lavender undertones and a warm spicy top-note it was paired with one of the seven different tonics on offer then garnished with a plum (but of course!) If you like your drinks aromatic then I can also recommend a Bathtub, served with an added kick of Gin Barrel aged orange bitters and garnished with orange and cardamom. Funnily enough both of the gins I liked had Victorian apothecary style packaging and looked like they belonged in a chemistry lab, definitely on my wishlist for my cocktail bar. The Birthday Girl plumped for one of the Tasting Menus including four very different gins and all with four very different garnishes to compliment their individual flavours. After passing them round the table for approval we all agreed that our favourite was the delicious but quite obscure Gin Mare, served with a tomato and basil garnish. It was like drinking alcoholic antipasti! A true treat for the tongue.
If you contact The London Cocktail Club directly you can obtain membership to The London Gin Club granting you access to discounted rates for all of the Tasting Menus and a wealth of other gin goodies.