Feb 2020 UPDATE

Well, still unbelievably frustrated however if you’ve been past in the last week you will see works have started on the street.

Our insurers have begun  the process of repairs to the road. This will not be a quick job but at least things are now moving in the right direction.

In the meantime we remain entirely closed!

 

Progress update January 2020

Well, our frustration is off the scale…we are coming up to our one year anniversary since the damage was caused and  We remain entirely closed!

Works are scheduled to begin soon, we are told!

You may have seen us on the BBC, heard us on the radio, and in the press.

Everything we want to say can be seen in our new poster in the window of our lovely but still closed bar!

Progress update September 1st

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that two holes were dug in the street outside the bar last month. At last some action by Crossrail to investigate what exactly has been done to the road to cause us so much grief and deprive you of gin!

The good news is that we now have the green light for the road to be dug up so, so fingers crossed these critical works will start soon. We are as shocked and stunned as you must be about the time this is taking… We are very Cross about this, but we won’t be de-railed. Hopefully the light is at the end of the tunnel and things will be back on track soon.

 

Progress update July 1st

You may have noticed that our gin cellar has been closed since February this year, and the bar has been closed since April. We haven’t said much about it up to now, here is an update.

Road works outside the bar by Crossrail caused structural damage to our basement and we now have something of an unwanted water feature – even Charlie Dimmock would be impressed. So where are we now? Getting this fixed was always ‘out of our hands’. It was initially thought the repairs would be straight forward and take a month so we closed in April with high hopes we’d have a month of disruption at most. Sadly this wasn’t the case. The damage was much more extensive than originally apparent and the road may need to be dug up so our vault can be fixed properly (eek!).

We’re frustrated, you’re frustrated, but we promise we’re doing everything we can to push things forward, if we had a pick and a shovel we would do the repairs ourselves but we can’t.

In the meantime here are some snippets about our wonderful basement, which dates back to the 1700s!

About the basement

Maps show there’s been a building on this site since the 1720s, however the building you see now is at least it’s second and possibly it’s third incarnation. It was rebuilt in 1824, and possibly altered again in the late 1800’s however the original basement vaults remain.

The first mention of the streets are in Westminster Rate books. Chappell Street ( as it was called then) appears in 1696, the first mention of Hollen Street and Great Chapel Street (our corner) is 1717. We are sure a building was here then, but buildings did not have numbers until the 1850’s, they were referred to by the occupiers name. The first reference to the property as a public house comes from insurance records, in 1785 Richard Beall is insured as a victualler at The George, Great Chapel Street, Soho.

The first real details of what the original premises were like come from the Morning Advertiser 1809 which is advertising the lease for sale which indicate the cellars were originally build as wine vaults: “A free public house and vine vault near oxford st with immediate possession. An old established house known by the sign of the George most advantageously situate the corner of hollen street in great chapel street.”

 

 

The next full description we have been able to find dates from 1824 Morning Advertiser where the lease is again up for sale but the premiese have clearly been rebuilt, probably because most of the first Georgian buildings in Soho were put up quickly and cheaply by builders on relatively short leases and so were not built to last.  “A valuable public house and wine vaults known as the George situate in Great Chapel St, Oxford st, the corner of Hollen street, soho. The house is newly build in the most substantial manner and fitted up with every convenience for the trade and contains 5 bedchambers, a clubroom 22ft by 16, bar, palour, tap, kitchen, washhouse, cellar areas and vaults in the occupation of Mr Cussins.” We are not sure where the ‘Wash house’ was, but we suspect the building used to have a back yard before Novello House was built next door in the late 1890s.

So we know our vaults date from at least 1809, and from the records and what we can see now they are stripped back inside we are pretty sure they are from the original premises though the back vault was clearly altered at some point, probably when the premises were rebuilt in 1824 to accommodate coal storage.

 

Whilst dry gin and the origins of the gin and tonic lie with all things red, white and blue it can be argued that the origins of the 21st century renaissance of the gin and tonic lie in Spain so it’s high time we turned our review focus towards our European friends and our taste buds alighted at Madrid’s Santamania distillery and their small batch gins lovingly made in their stills Lola and Vera.

At a respectable 41% abv Santamania London Dry is made from a base spirit produced from Spanish Tempranillo grapes and 14 botanicals. The botanicals are macerated, then distilled, the spirit is brought down to bottling strength with water from the Teide volcano and then the gin is then rested for 2 – 3 months.

The botanicals are an interesting mix of traditional London dry botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root, fresh lime and lemon, cinnamon, orris and liquorice. Together with a more contemporary set: pistachio, white pepper, dry ginger, rosemary and raspberries.

One the nose the grape base announces itself as lovely luscious green fruit notes, bright and sweet but not overpowering. There are hints of pine, earth notes and a hint of berry sweetness.

Tasted neat on ice the lead is bright green pine with a sherbet citrus. This is followed by a big punch of zingy pepper with a hint of earthy spice. There is liquorice sweetness in the linger and a luscious juicy texture from the grape based spirit.
With tonic the palette is transformed. A berry sweetness leads into fresh citrus and green juniper pine. A whisper of spice then yields into zingy pepper warmth in the linger. Distinctly Mediterranean in style with a highly satisfying mouthfeel Santamania makes a very drinkable gin and tonic which works well with a red berry garnish.

This is a satisfying gin and especially recommended if you are looking for the on trend berry flavours harmoniously balanced with traditional dry gin notes. Viva Espana!

 

 

Twelve keys is a gin made by the fantastic chaps at Sartorial Spirits that takes alchemy as its inspiration, and in particular the work of Basil Valentine who published his Twelve Keys text in 1599.

The origins of distilling are closely associated with alchemy. Early distillers believed that distilling captured  the quinta  – the quintessential essence – of a substance (‘Quintessential’ became’ essential’, which is why plant distillates are called essential oils). Early distillers / alchemists distilled everything from plants to precious stones in a search for the elixir of life and therein lie the origins of gin, juniper distillates (or strong waters as they were known in England) being thought to be good for everything from protection against venomous beasts to helping the memory and fortifying the sight.

Twelve Keys have done their research on alchemy and taken four moments in its history as inspiration to select twelve botanicals for their dry gin which make an intriguing mix: juniper, basil, angelica, gentian, caraway, cinnamon, frankincense, honey, apricot, fig, quince and orris.

And so how does this alchemic gin taste?

The nose is full and robust with fresh green notes with an underlying warm earthy spice.

Tasted neat, bright juniper with fresh green notes lead. There is a big peppery bite and a flood of warming spice followed by a sweet succulent fresh fruitiness in the linger. This is a well balanced complex gin that is easy and rewarding to sip neat.

With tonic (Fever Tree regular) a good fresh green nose remains.  On the palette fresh green and pine notes lead followed by a warming spice balanced by a full sweet fruity linger, the gin rounding out with a luxurious silky mouth feel.

Twelve Keys is an extremely drinkable, well balanced dry gin that uses an interesting and innovative mix of botanicals that balances juniper with sweet fruit notes. It makes a very moreish gin and tonic which we garnish with fresh basil.  I am sure Basil Valentine would approve!

 

Happy Holidays!

We are shut for our annual holiday over the festive period, and re-open refreshed on January 8th.

We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful new year and look forward to seeing you in 2019.

 

We have two new tasting menus that showcase gins from the floral and fruit categories, flavour styles that are increasingly popular at the moment.

Our Fruit / Floral Tasting menu showcases floral and fruit forward gins:

  • Bloom Jasmine & Rose  43% – A new pink gin from Bloom, light and floral with delicate fruit notes.
  • Chamomile & Cornflower 39% – Made by Old Curiosity who grow all their own herbs. This gin has a vivid infusion of pure cornflower, naturally a vivid blue, and the subtle notes of chamomile.
  • Variorum 37.5% – The juniper and citrus flavours of King of Soho London Dry are complemented with pink berry notes of strawberry and vanilla. A fine berry gin inspired by the spirit of Soho.
  • Pomelo 41% – Made using Juniper, grapefruit, cox’s orange pipin, conference pears, wormwood and liquorice. Fresh and crisp with full-bodied citrus.

Our new Fruit Gin tasting menu showcases three sumptuous fruit gins:

  • Rhubarb Triangle 46% – sweet and fruity, made with fresh rhubarb from the famous Yorkshire rhubarb triangle.
  • Keepr’s Strawberry & Lavender 37.5% – A unique flavour packed gin made using a classic dry gin base enhanced with an infusion of fresh strawberries, lavender and a touch of honey.
  • York Roman Fruit 42.5% – A juniper led dry gin infused with fruits inspired by Yorks roman heritage including apples, strawberry and hibiscus.

These, along with a host of other fabulous fruit and floral gins are waiting for you here at The London Gin Club.

We have a fantastic selection of new gins for autumn and winter 2018 which we are showcasing on our tasting menus. We have also updated our extremely popular Fruit / Floral Tasting menus.

For Tasting menu number 1 we have:

  • Fatty’s Organic gin 40% A 100% organic London dry gin produced in Dulwich infused with dill flowers. A soft, full flavoured gin with herbaceous notes of dill balanced against juniper and citrus.
  • Ginetic 43% – Made in France using techniques traditionally used to produce cognac the botanicals include Juniper, Jamaican Pepper, Lemon Peel, Spanish Coriander, Angelica and Cinchona Bark. Fresh and citrusy with a distinct touches of spice and pepper.
  • Greensand Ridge 40% – An environmentally conscious distillery using 100% renewable energy. This gin includes eight botanicals that can be found within a mile of the distillery: cobnut, gorse flower, oak moss, honey , rosehip, bay, hawthorn and poppy.
  • Triple Point 43% – A refreshing dry gin made with Juniper, spruce needles, fresh lemon, cassia, star anise, chamomile, moor heather and green tea. Bright, juniper and pine led balanced with floral and tea notes.

For Tasting Number 2 we have:

  • Santamania 41% – A Spanish London Dry Gin featuring a base spirit made from Tempranillo grapes and an interesting selection of 14 botanicals that include juniper, lemon, lime, coriander to the rather unusual white pepper, raspberry and Spanish pistachio. Very flavoursome with a great mouth-feel
  • Mother’s Ruin Old Tom 40% Made in a former WWI munitions factory in east London, an aromatic old tom gin made with Juniper, coriander seed, oris, bay, nutmeg, sweet orange peel, vanilla sweetened by a touch of Demerara for depth.
  • Twelve Keys 46% – Made with twelve botanicals inspired by alchemy: Juniper, cinnamon, orris, angelica, frankincense, caraway, gentian, honey, basil, apricots, quince and figs. Heaps of Fresh juniper dominates with some soft notes of fig and apricot against a backdrop of honey.
  • York Cocoa gin 42.5% – This gin combines York dry gin with cocoa beans from the award-winning York Cocoa Works. Subtle, rich notes of chocolate meld with the gin’s traditional botanicals of juniper, cardamom, angelica and pepper. Complex and satisfying with a unique rich element of cocoa

A fabulous selection to add to our shelves sure to keep the winter blues at bay.

It was love at first sight with Duck and Crutch, who can resist such a handsome and beautifully designed bottle. We were further seduced when we learned more about the gin, made lovingly by hand in a 6 x 4ft shed in Kensington by a fabulous couple, George and Hollie. What really made us fall for this gin however was the taste. Made with juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, cassia, nutmeg, cardamom, citrus, fresh thyme, walnut, Darjeeling tea and bourbon vanilla pod. This is a deft balance of classic and modern gin botanicals.

On the nose there are wisps of citrus pine then a flood of vanilla and tea with underlying earth and spice notes. The aroma literally draws your mouth to the glass, it’s very hard to resist.

Tasted neat the lead is fresh pine and citrus, this yields to hints of warm spice followed by a satisfying dry gin kick that grabs the mouth. Tea and vanilla notes round out in a long, long, smooth and subtly sweet linger that builds as you sip.

With tonic (fever tree regular) the gin rounds out, the dilution also brings out an almost creamy, full, mouth feel. On the palette citrus and pine notes lead into a pleasing dry middle with layers of warming spice that yield to a long subtle sweet linger. All the way through this gin is fresh yet creamy, moreish and seductive. Go Kensington!

What can we say, Duck and Crutch shows what can be done by two people with care, attention and love. More please!

Not that you need a reason to drink gin, but let’s say you did, saving mankind is a pretty good one.

It’s said that “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.”  If bees go we go. Keepr’s is a company that is working hard to make bee keeping in the UK a viable proposition, supporting beekeepers and in turn the British honey bee to ensure their future in our environment.

Keepr’s Honey gin is a London Dry Gin infused with small batch Cotswold honey. Each batch, and so each bottle of gin is traceable to the hive and the queen bee the honey came from. Our particular bottle came from a hive with Queen bee Alice! The gin is made by taking a classic London Dry and adding an infusion of their raw honey.

And so how does honey gin taste?

On the nose honey dominates with hints of juniper camphor and meadowy floral top notes.

Tasted neat on ice, immediately on the palette there is silky sweetness. A fleeting hit of fragrant juniper pine quickly yields to a wave of caramel only to be consumed by a flood of warming almost peppery heat. We are talking a comforting, life affirming, peppery gingery, lip smacking zing. The linger is a soothing, mild, honey sweetness.  This is a very pleasant sipping gin, a Cordial Gin would be the best description to convey the silky mouthfeel – delicious and warming.

We were curious how this gin would stand up to tonic. Good news, with a one to one ratio (fever tree regular) and a lemon peel & rosemary garnish this makes a very good, easy drinking gin and tonic that fits well with the current vogue of sweeter gins. The tonic lifts it and gives it longer legs with clear notes of fragrant almost floral pine, ginger and honey. It is sippable, moreish and very drinkable.

Excellent in a gin buck and delicious in a bees knees we are very pleased and proud to have Keepr’s on our shelves. Not only an excellent gin but supporting our vital and busy british bees. Look out for it on our autumn menu, and of course in a special bee-keepers knees cocktail!

As we brace ourselves for the final ever episode of The Bridge this week we thought it would be appropriate to console ourselves with some Scandinavian gin. Nordic noir has transformed our appreciation of drama here in the UK over the past few years, do Scandinavian spirits do the same for gin? The bottle we reached for is Bareksten, a Norwegian gin taking it’s inspiration from the dramatic surroundings and folklore of Norway and made with local herbs and berries.

The nose is vibrant and inviting. Fresh pine notes married with enticing spice notes and hints of blueberry fruit.

Tasted neat there is fresh pine and a wonderful burst of caraway spice. This yields to subtle sweet fruit undertones with a tingly pepper bite in the linger and a round silky mouthfeel. Bareksten is an extremely tasty, well balanced gin that can easily be sipped on the rocks and makes a superb Martini.

With tonic (Fever Tree regular) the nose is still present, enticing one to sip. The profile opens out and lightens but most pleasingly the sweet spice body remains full and voluptuous. Pine citrus notes lead into a spicy middle. There is a moreish, almost savoury bitter dryness with a subtle fruit sweetness in the linger. A seductive silkiness to the mouthfeel that has one reaching for the glass.

Is this gin Thor or Gretta Garbo? It is both! Muscular and bold in its flavours but at the same time enticing and seductive. Our conclusion? That this gin is as gripping and satisfying as the best Noridic noir, we raise our glass to Bareksten!

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