Come with me… and you’ll be… in a world of pure imaGINation!
Yes, let me tell you about way to immerse yourself in gin – with Shake Rattle and Stir’s Gin Experience. This is the shorter version of their Gin Journey and I was lucky enough to win a spot on one which I claimed the other week.
We began where it all began, well, perhaps not all of it, but one of the oldest Gin distilleries in London – Beefeater. Did you even know that this famous gin distillery sits just around the corner from the Oval? I didn’t. But it does and this is where we started our experience, gathering in the foyer before we were let loose in their little museum of gin. I was quite fascinated by this and they have done a good job of packing in a lot of information, so much so, that we ran out of time before I got to read everything!
I consoled myself with the thought that the next bit meant we actually got to have a sample – a nice long gin and tonic – Fever Tree I’m happy to report. One of the Beefeater guides talked us through the different ingredients of Beefeater gin (though not the ratios – no one knows that but the Master stillers!) and pointed out each of the stills which are in constant use. Then we had time to quickly sip our drink before being whisked off to the East London Liquor Co where the fun really began.
The East London Liquor Co is a gorgeous little bar near Victoria Park, which I’d happened to visit once before during London Cocktail Week. Not only is it a great bar, but they also make their own gins and have a little shop there as well.
Here we settled by the bar and our host Negroni Nathan showed us, ooh, six or seven cocktails which we were then invited to try, and indeed, get behind the bar and make ourselves. I volunteered first and made a refreshing and light Elderflower Collins. We whisked through a White Lady, the ubiquitous Negroni and an Aviator that was meant to be light blue but seemed more like an English sky – slightly grey, before finishing with the classics – three types of martini. First one with more gin than vermouth, then one that was half and half, and finally one that had more vermouth than gin. I surprised myself by liking the 50:50version least. We also sampled my favourite of them all, a Martinez, which I had never heard of before but had that heavy mix of sweet and strong that I like in a cocktail.
By the end of this we were all a little fuzzy in the head but not too fuzzy that we couldn’t appreciate getting a close look at East London Liquor Co’s gorgeous copper stills in the back. So pretty and shiny!
Thus concluded our tour – almost. For all along the way we had been encouraged to tweet in our best gin-based puns and the winner one a bottle! I have to say I thought some of mine were quite spectacular but I guess my winning streak ran out as another couple walked away with the prize.
I was a little surprised by the cross-section of people on the tour. I had thought they would all be young hipsters of the Twitter generation, being as that is how I knew of Shake, Rattle and Stir but we were most definitely the youngest there. How it made me laugh when I overheard someone say they’d just spotted a hipster. But that just goes to show gin’s broad appeal, and I think we all had a lot of fun learning, and ginning.
A world of pure imaGINation
We all had a lot of fun learning, and ginning. Shake Rattle and Stir's Gin Experience is a must for London Gin lovers.