At 6.30pm on 20 March 2013 a group of 20 intrepid liverymen and their guests set off on a voyage of discovery.
Led by Jamie the distiller and Nathan the barman, we began our journey of discovery and enlightenment on all things ‘Gin’.
On arrival each gin-traveller was revived with a swift G&T (City of London Gin of course and nothing other than Fever Tree tonic, Schweppes would be a crime!) replete with slice of red grapefruit garnish.
Falling into the welcoming embrace of the City of London Distillery on Bride Lane (opposite the Turner’s spiritual home, St Bride’s Church), we were taken through the development of gin from its roots in the Netherlands, through its chequered relationship with the citizens of London to its present day popularity.
Whilst one group was led off by Jamie to look at the still and learn about “heads, hearts and tails”, botanicals and, of course, distilling, the second group was introduced to the concept of tasting neat gin by Nathan.
From Old Tom through Beefeater’s London Dry to Gin Mare from Spain (incidentally, the biggest market for gin), the group learned how it was made, how it was licensed, what makes a London Dry Gin (it doesn’t need to be made in London), how it was banned and its recent resurgence, all the while picking up the nuances of the fruits and botanicals used to give each its individual identity. Until you have tried an olive infused gin with a cardamom tonic water you don’t know anything about either the G or the T!
Whether invigorated by Jamie’s enthusiasm for distilling and the City of London Distillery’s own product, or relaxed by a mixture of Nathan’s Irish lilt and the gin, it was a fascinating experience you couldn’t fail to enjoy (unless of course you don’t like gin!).
A final short journey to Harry’s bar for a pizza and a glass of wine rounded off the evening perfectly. Those attending agreed it was another excellent event delivered by the hardworking members of your Livery Committee!