"The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives than all the doctors in the Empire" — Winston Churchhill
The Savoy, WC2
The American Bar is an institution that’s hard not to love. Kick back, order a martini and wonder what it was like in the days when Ol’ Blue Eyes was in town, or ask about how the classic cocktail The Hanky Panky was invented guest by the first truly ‘famous’ bartender, Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman, in 1903 for a guest. The atmosphere is thick with history here and there’s a reason that for the past five years, the team has won every bar award going. You’re in the best of hands.
Strand, London WC2R 0EZ, fairmont.com/savoy
It’s almost impossible to talk about gin in the City of London without mentioning the City of London Distillery (C.O.L.D.), which, in 2012, brought gin distilling back to the Square Mile after an absence of almost 200 years. Enjoy multiple award-winning gins while basking in the warming shimmer of a trio of glorious copper stills, which anchor each sip in a sea of context. C.O.LD, tucked away on Bird Lane, is a truly memorable place to settle down for a G&T. Gin lovers can also book a guided distillery tour, followed by a 3-flight gin tasting (£25 per person) or design and distill their own bottle of gin to take home (£125).
22-24 Bride Lane, London EC4Y 8DT, cityoflondondistillery.com
City Social, EC2
Gin is one of the few sprits that captures a truly dizzying array of flavours. It’s one of the reasons it’s the darling of the cocktail world and to truly enjoy the versatility of gin and all its potential, you need to head to an adventurous cocktail bar, keen on innovative serves. Jason Atherton's City Social’s bar in Tower 42 is all that and more, plus it’s got one of the best views over London’s skyline to boot.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ
Bar Termini, W1
You can’t fight the rush of Soho, so you just have to embrace it. If you want to witness controlled, coordinated busyness behind the bar that makes it all look like a graceful ballet, where speedy service matches incredible quality, opt for a tipple at Bar Termini. The sophisticated brainchild of cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro, expect interiors imbued with retro Italian glamour and a drinks list curated with scientific perfection. Aperitivo hour will never be the same again.
7 Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1D 5JE, bar-termini.com
Canova Hall, SW9
Canova Hall in Brixton is the sister site to Martello Hall in Hackney, both of which have on-site gin distilleries. The capacious Canova Hall offers all-day casual dining and transforms into a lively party destination in the evening, serving a plethora of gin-based concoctions amid deliberately distressed, industrial décor. The zingy gin spirit is available to buy on-site for £30 per bottle.
250 Ferndale Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8BQ, canovahall.com
Hawksmoor Spitalfields, E1
One of the most searched-for cocktails on Ginfoundry.com is Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew. It’s a combination of beer, ginger, lemon and gin that’s blended and served in an enticingly frosted chalice. It’s not just worthy of the title ‘modern classic’; it’s a genuinely paradigm-changing drink that can’t be reasonably explained in words. Its spiritual home is Hawksmoor Spitalfields and that’s where you’ll need to head if you want to have a one-of-a-kind experience.
157A Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ, thehawksmoor.com
And the best gin to buy right now...
Elephant Gin (German)
Elephant Gin is an independent German dry gin that celebrates the spirit of Africa. The premium spirit blends juniper and orange peel with rare African botanicals for an invigorating, memorable pour, housed in a custom-made glass bottle. The name of an African tusker or elephant is handwritten onto every label, while the evocative logo takes its cue from letters sent home by African explorers during the 19th century. The company contributes 15% of all profits to two African elephant foundations to support the preservation of the African wildlife, ensuring philanthropy with every sip.
From £29.15, 31dover.com
Hernö Gin (Swedish)
Hernö gin has been voted the best in the world and for very good reason. The multi-award winning, impeccable Swedish spirit is crafted from curated botanicals spanning juniper, vanilla and spicy notes of coriander for a smooth, lingering spirit that also looks particularly dashing on your drinks trolley. Those with a sweet tooth should try the Old Tom Gin, infused with a touch of honey and ideal for cat-lovers.
From £31.85, 31dover.com
Berkeley Square London Dry Gin (British)
Presented in an imposing glass decanter with a silver engraved stopper, this British gin bottles the heritage and sophistication of one of the capital’s finest postcodes. It is triple-distilled and then infused with kaffir, lime leaves, lavender, sage and basil for a smooth and complex spirit, which tastes as good as it looks.
Jam Jar Gin (British)
Jam Jar Gin is owned by husband-and-wife Faye and Dan. Ingredients are grown on the nursery that surrounds their house and each blend embodies the freshness and exuberance of an English garden.