Gin Joints

Drink here : Mr Fogg’s, Mayfair.

Located at number 15 Burton Lane, tucked into a non-descript side street in Mayfair; it was introduced to me as the kind of place one might find a gentleman that has travelled the world in curious circumstances. It is of course, Mr Foggs.

Even as you approach the large double frontage, with the exception of the uniformed doorman standing outside, there is little to tell you that you have in fact found your destination. Those of a less adventurous demeanour might be perturbed and walk on by, thinking it perhaps a private residence or an old Mayfair members club.

Mr Fogg's

Upon entering the establishment, you are ushered into what I can only imagine was the officers mess at some Victorian era colonial outpost – the walls are adorned with mounted animal heads, ordinary bicycles hanging from the ceiling, a large hot air balloon appears to have crash landed and entangled in the rafters. A large fireplace hosts several roaring logs, above which the head of a Kudo keeps watch over the proceedings. Uniformed waiters, dressed in the style of colonial mess stewards seat you and take your drinks orders.

The selection of Gin on hand was, as you would expect of such an establishment, both extensive and eclectic, with some rare 1970’s bottlings of Booth’s, Gilby’s, Beefeater’s, Pitman’s, and Plymouth Drys. I, of course, being a man who likes to get straight to the point when ordering drinks, looked no further than the first entry on the Gin list: Mr Fogg’s Butlers Gin and a Fevertree tonic. The drink was served in a traditional way, which I guess for me was partially lounging on a low chaise discussing with my colleagues various business engagements.

Mr. Fogg’s is famous for their ‘Tipsy Tea” and whilst I had not the time nor the inclination to order “an intriguing selection of Alcoholic Teas served alongside an exquisite array of elegant Sandwiches, Cakes, Pastries & Petit-Fours” at 17.37 on a Tuesday eve, I have no doubt that other members would find this offering most delightful.

As this was an unplanned late afternoon reconnaissance for a future Gin Club meeting, I have kept the details brief, but I can say that this is definitely a place that will certainly be revisited in an official capacity with the other members of Gin club in the coming weeks.

Mr Fogg's Butler's Gin and Fevertree Tonic

Mr Fogg’s Butler’s Gin and Fevertree Tonic

Gin Joints

Drink here: The Viaduct Tavern, EC1

As the last Victorian Gin Palace standing in London,we couldn’t resist investigating and imbibing the gins on offer at The Viaduct Tavern. Located near St. Paul’s, in the heart of the City, this glorious pub is perfectly placed for an after-work or lunchtime gin.

Image copyright to The Viaduct Tavern (kindly borrowed from their website)


Image copyright to The Viaduct Tavern (kindly borrowed from their website)

With a range of craft gins available at the bar, served in delicate coppa glasses with exquisitely chosen garnishes and hand chipped ice that disappears in your drink, Fever Tree tonic… Well, there is little more a gin-lover can ask for of a gin joint.
The venue itself is steeped in history – formerly a jail, the historic pub still has five cells in the basement (so no fighting over the gin, then!). With original features throughout including scalloped chandeliers, ruby red relief ceilings and rich, copper tables – it lives up to its “gin palace” status without a sniff of pretentiousness.
The ambiance is laid back and intimate – the absence of pop music and bright lights making it a refined choice for a meet-up with old friends, colleagues or a relaxed date.
A handy booklet/ menu takes you through a gin flavour wheel, signature serves and the tasting menus – comprehensively compiled, but far less engaging than the wonderful bar staff who are ready with well informed, polite suggestions, when asked.

Monkey47 and lemon twist. Image copyright The Gin Club.

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Hoxton gin with red grapefruit. Image copyright The Gin Club.

Alongside the house GinFusion, which was No. 3 infused with apple and pear, we also enjoyed several fantastic gins,
  • Martin Miller’s
  • Chase Williams
  • Hoxton
  • Bath Tub Navy Strength
  • Monkey47
  • Hayman’s Old Tom
  • Gin Mare
  • Bloom
  • No. 3
  • Distillery 209
…as well as all the usual gin suspects and other spirits and alcohol for any in the party not drinking Gods good nectar.
The favourite of the night was difficult to choose (so many of our favourites were on the menu!) however the Martin Miller‘s garnished with coriander and cherry tomato made for a refreshing serve, whilst the Hoxton served with red grapefruit was suprising – our first try of the coconut and perfumed aromas and flavours in this unusual gin.
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Left to right: Bloom & Strawberry, Old Tom & pear, Gin Mare with basil & tomato, Chase Williams with pear.

The only crying shame of it all was last orders around were at 11pm when the bar became noticeably empty – the giant ice block had disappeared, the homemade ginfusion drunk and a fresh batch prepared for the next day.
All in all, we loved The Viaduct Tavern and look forward to our next visit. Highly recommended, 4 junipers out of 5!
If you’ve been, we’d love to hear what you thought – tweet us.
Follow The Viaduct Tavern on Twitter.
Bombay Sapphire, Gin Events

The Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin Terrace

Summer in London is one of the most wonderful times of year – the City is alive with tourists, the hanging baskets on every street are in full bloom, the open park spaces are full of sunglassed, beautiful people and, most importantly, our National drink of choice flows freely around the Capital.

When The Gin Club heard that Bombay Sapphire had teamed up with The Rosewood to bring a most delightful gin experience to London, we of course knew we would be heading over to check it out. The Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic Terrace is inspired by the exotic botanicals in Bombay Sapphire and is definitely worth a visit.

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The venue and dressing of it is comfortable and subtly branded – a welcome respite from the usually brash branded events and pop-ups around the City. Each of the tables and chairs are adorned with an exclusively commissioned fabric design created by Jonathan Chadwick that showcased the story of the gin.

A menu of serves (each priced at £14.50 per drink) surprised and delighted with a detailed description that emotively evoked the elegant flavour profiles to come. Thank goodness the menu was strong because our server from The Rosewood had not actually tried any of them so was unable to recommend or talk us through them. No problem though, the good folk at Bombay Sapphire picked up on this immediately and promptly sent a complimentary round to the table.  Well played, Bombay. Well played.

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With botanicals that are less outspoken than those in the Hendrick’s and Sacred’s of this world, Bombay really lends itself to innovative serves. For example,the ‘Indonesian Twist’ was complemented by a tea bag of pink peppercorns, star anise and lemongrass. Whilst some gin lovers may have recently overlooked Bombay Sapphire in favour of one of the many craft or boutique gins on the market, these serves really brought Bombay back to life and reminded us how versatile and rich a gin it really is (and always has been).

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The terrace at The Rosewood is quiet and hidden away so there is absolutely no need to rush, we sipped slowly and just enjoyed the colonial ambience reminiscent of days gone by. We stayed late into the evening when the tea candle lanterns were lit and the temperature dropped, which simply added to the atmosphere.

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Those tweeting and instagramming with #UltimateGT are currently being entered into a prize draw to win a night at The Rosewood too – a lovely way to inspire and thank guests for sharing. We would have loved to see some suitable food pairings, but in absence, you can order from the usual Holborn Dining Room menu.

The terrace is still open until August 28th, so you’ve still time to pop in.We definitely recommend booking as when we arrived at 6.30, the terrace was already full and we had to wait a little while for our table. For enquiries visit: BYO Pith Helmet and Plus Fours!

Gin Club rating: 4 junipers/ 5.

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