© Sipsmith via Facebook

Where to Drink: Gin in London

Billie Manning

William Hogarth's 1751 engraving Gin Lane was part of a campaign to control the production and distribution of a beverage seen as a blight on the city.

Clearly, it didn't work forever - Londoners are loving on the spirit more than ever before, with indie distillers making a killing and twists on the classic gin and tonic as well as inventive gin cocktails making appearances in every bar. If you want to know how the G comes to be in your G&T, or just want to get a good round in, here's the low-down on where to find the best craft distillers, gin tours and gin bars.

Sipsmith Distillery
One of the key centres in the gin revival happens to be based just two miles from Hogarth's Chiswick home - quelle ironie! The world-famous Sipsmith distillery is found in west London and runs tours of its premises on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. There, you can inspect their elegant stills and learn all about the team's hands-on technique. On Tuesdays, check out their Sipsmith Sipper Club, a partnership with neighbouring restaurant Charlotte's Bistro, where you'll enjoy a three-course meal after a tour to work off all that gin.

Sipsmith gin distillery tour
© Sipsmith via Facebook

83 Cranbrook Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2LJ

Portobello Star
This Notting Hill institution actually makes its own fine gin – Portobello Road – and hosts the Ginstitute, a micro-museum dedicated to the venerable spirit, where you can learn its chequered history and all about the use of botanicals – the blends of herbs, berries, spices and fruit - that give gins their distinctive flavours.

171 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY

The London Gin Club
At this appropriately named bar you can work your way through 130 different varieties of the good stuff, many of which appear in its specialist cocktail menu. Joining the club is optional, though you do get a discount as well as other exclusive offers and invitations. The LGC also hosts regular tasting sessions to suit both novices and enthusiasts alike.

London Gin Club gin selection
© London Gin Club via Facebook

22 Great Chapel St, Soho, London W1F 8FR

The Gin Journey
These party-starters have been leading gin tours round the Big Smoke in various guises since 2013. There are several London-based tour options: Soho, Shoreditch or the City & Bermondsey, so you're likely to find a tour that's easy to get to no matter where you're based. What's more, you get driven from location to location by a chauffeur - pure alcohol-fuelled luxury.

The Shrub & Shutter
Brixton's Shrub & Shutter bar boasts a mammoth selection of gins, with an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients. Its signature eponymous cocktail is made with Whitley Neill gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and blow-torched fennel to create a real eye-opener. You're welcome!

Shrub & Shutter gin bar cocktail
© The Shrub & Shutter via Facebook

336 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8QH

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