Of all the gin joints, the following eight spots are the best places to drink, learn about and celebrate gin in London.
The Gin Bar at the Holborn Dining Room serves London's largest collection of gin with over 400 bottles to choose from. The mighty selection features spirits from well known brands as well as small-batch distilleries and independent suppliers and the bar stocks 30 different tonics. Grab a seat on a stool at the long copper bar and sip a cocktail from a traditional Copa Balon glass. Line the stomach with bar snacks from a menu that features award-winning Scotch eggs and gin-cured salmon.
There's no better place to sip a martini in London than at Dukes, a bar loved by James Bond author Ian Fleming. The gin and vermouth cocktails inspired the writer to come up with the iconic "shaken not stirred" line and the bar is considered by many to serve the world's best martinis. Tucked away in a discreet corner of Mayfair, Dukes has the look of a gentleman's club with comfy armchairs and oil paintings and the martinis are mixed and served at the table on a traditional drinks trolley.
The Distillery in Notting Hill is a four-story shrine to tasting, making, buying and appreciating gin. Occupying a traditional pub that first opened over 100 years ago, the building is now home to a working distillery, two bars/restaurants, a 'Ginstitute' (a gin museum and a gin-making experience), a shop and three guest rooms. The rooms are individually decorated and feature vintage furniture and a drinks cabinet filled with pre-made cocktails distilled on-site.
East London Liquor Company: Locally Made Gin
In a former glue factory at the edge of Victoria Park, the East London Liquor Company is a hipster hangout that serves gin made on site in two large copper stills. The canalside spot also distills vodka and whisky but gin is very much the star of the show. Order a classic cocktail and pair with tasty bar snacks like gin-glazed chorizo or learn about all things botanical on a gin tour and tasting.
The London Gin Festival is a regular three-day event that showcases some of the finest juniper-based spirits in the world. You'll get to sample more than 100 different kinds of gin as well as learn from industry experts through talks and masterclasses at the Tobacco Dock, a converted tobacco warehouse in Wapping. The cocktail bar serves all sorts of potent concoctions and you can enjoy live music and food from a range of gourmet stalls. The ticket price includes a Gin Festival Copa Balloon Glass.
Just off St Martin's Lane in Covent Garden, Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour is an eccentric drinking den that stocks more than 300 different types of gin. Every Saturday this sophisticated spot serves G&Tea, a boozy take on traditional afternoon tea where tea-infused gin cocktails are served in teapots alongside scones, cakes and savory treats.
The Princess Louise in Holborn is a beautifully ornate Victorian drinking den with lavish interiors that date back to 1891. With its etched glass panels, ornate mirrors, intricate tiling and mosaic floors, it's the closest example of a traditional 'gin palace' that you'll find in London. Grab a G&T in one of the wooden booths that fan out from the horseshoe-shaped bar. While the gin selection itself isn't hugely impressive the decor certainly is.
In the heart of Soho, the London Gin Club stocks over 300 premium gins from micro-distilleries and small batch producers around the world. This intimate bar is serious about gin and holds weekly tasting events to explore the history of the drink and to provide an insight into the botanicals used to create different flavors. The events last around an hour and a half and run on specific days so if you're pushed for time, order one of the tasting menus from the bar instead and work your way through a variety of gins served with Fever Tree tonic. You'll be guided through each flavor but you can enjoy the drinks at your own pace. The World Gin Tasting Menu features 8 gins from small batch suppliers from Argentina to Australia.