Blog

Latest from Peter Berthoud

Launch of the London Gin Club

28-March-2012
28-March-2012 0:00
in Events
by Peter Berthoud

The London Gin Club has its official launch party this coming Friday, the 30th March.

Members (and non-members) will have a great new opportunity to appreciate discounted gins from London's most thoughtful list.

The launch will take place at The Star at Night cocktail bar in Soho; the official home of the London Gin Club. I dropped by to see what will be on offer and to find out a little more about the club.

London gins at the London Gin ClubA small selection of the gins on offer - these are all London gins.

The Gins:

There are over 40 different gins to sample, many of them locally produced by small distilleries.

If like me, you thought one gin was pretty much the same as another, then there is a lot to learn but the learning process is such fun.

There are seven distinct styles of gin, ranging from London, Plymouth, Genever, Distilled, Old Tom, Sloe and even a Gin Liquer. The gin list includes the very best Premium and Super Premium examples across all these styles. I particularly enjoyed a Monkey 47, a premium distilled gin named after its 47 different botanicals, nice bottle too.

Monkey 47 gin at the London Gin Club
A bottle of Monkey 47

In addition to enjoying a simple gin and tonic, you can also choose from nearly 20 gin-based cocktails. Classic recipes, some dating from 19th Century, jostle on the menu with brand new concoctions unique to The Star.

The really knowledgeable and friendly staff guide you through all the flavours and history so that you can choose the perfect drink without ever feeling like a gin-muppet.

Prices range from £7.50 to £9.00 and there will be plenty of launch party specials available at just £6.00. This is far cheaper than other bars offering a similar level of quality.

The Service:

Okay, having chosen your style of gin and the particular brand representing that style, there are now a few more choices to make, if you want to. Personally, I left myself in the hands of the expert bartender but you can, if you wish, now choose from four different tonic waters and even choose the glass that you would like your drink served in.

Perfect gin and tonics at the London Gin Club
Two perfect Gin and Tonics. On the left a Whitley Neil, on the right a Bathtub.

If the choice of glasses seems like a really naff gimmick, it most certainly isn't.

The science behind serving a gin in a large balloon glass went straight over my head and was initially met with skepticism by The Star's owners too. But they were persuaded by one of their distillers that serving G&Ts in these new style glasses would enhance the flavour.

It doesn't really matter how it works, it just does. The flavour of each gin is enhanced enormously, the tonic stays crisper and colder and the gin can really get to work on the garnish to give each sip even more of a kick.

Almost forgot to mention the garnishes. Each gin is served with its own individual garnish, chosen to highlight its own specific qualities. So for example, the Whitley Neil, which is made using African botanicals, including Baobab fruit, is served with a Cape Goosberry, whilst Bathtub, made in ultra-small quantities and then infused with six unique botanicals, is perfectly complimented by simple slices of  orange and lime.

You can ask for a straw if you like, but I took the advice of the staff and sipped straight from the glass. Another little enhancement of flavour and aroma.

The Food:

Okay there should have been a mouthwatering picture of the new food offer here. But it was so delicious that I ate everything before I remembered to get the camera out and I can't really remember what I ate either. There were some flavour packed micro-pies and some other really unusual combinations of tiny snacks on crackers. Each of these snacks are naturally designed to bring the best out of the gin.

There were a lot of veggie options amongst the meaty ones. The one snack that did stick in my mind was horseradish and beetroot served on a tiny cracker. It really did what it was meant to and complimented the drinks in a most satisfying way.

Membership:

Is free and open to anyone who enjoys gin. You don’t have to join the London Gin Club to try their gins, however this membership card bestows a range of benefits.

London Gin Club membership card
London Gin Club Membership Card

As a member you will get:

  • A 5% discount off purchases of premium gin at Gerry’s of Old Compton Street, Soho.
  • A London Gin Club allegiance card, which will reward you for your commitment to gin.
  • A monthly bulletin keeping you abreast of gin news, gin reviews, events at the bar and snippets of gin history.
  • Priority booking for master classes, entertainment nights and gin related events held at The Star at Night.
  • Upcoming events include a chance to make, and then drink, your very own gin!

To join email thelondonginclub@gmail.com with your name and contact details and they will sign you up.

The Venue:

If you like a drink and haven't been to The Star at Night before then I cannot recommend it too highly. It's my favourite bar in London. They have a great cocktail list, reasonable prices, a genuinely friendly atmosphere, a great location and the service is every bit as attentive as the very finest five-star hotel bars.

You can read a review by London food and drink expert and Westminster guide Joanna Moncrieff here.

The Launch Party:

This promises to be a really excellent event. Soho cognoscenti have been talking about it excitedly for weeks. Tables upstairs are already fully booked but the long tables downstairs are being deliberately kept free so that anyone can pop along. Many gins will be on a special discount for the entire evening which begins at 6pm.

If you can't make the launch then The Star at Night is open Tuesday to Saturday evenings between 6pm - 11.30pm, with
last admission at 11pm.

Contact Details and Links:

The London Gin Club
at The Star at Night
22 Great Chapel St
Soho, W1, London

020 7494 2488

Twitter: @LondonGinClub

Facebook The London Gin Club

 

Newsletter Signup