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Chin Chin! London distilleries that are brewing up a storm

bimber.jpg

Liz Granirer all raise a glass to the London distilleries that are brewing up a storm.

London was once a giant gin palace – or so it might have seemed to the casual visitor back in the 18th century. Then, you would have found a distillery on practically every corner and mother’s ruin tasted so bad it was sometimes flavoured with turpentine to ‘improve’ it. However, taxation, starvation and regulation put an end to all that for some 200 years. Fast forward to the 21st century and our love of all things single source and locally produced by enthusiastic, committed makers has spawned a whole new raft of distillers doing amazing things with liquor. The capital currently boasts a whopping 24 gin distilleries alone, and there are also whisky, rum, vodka and even triple sec distilleries here. Best of all, you can try before you buy and learn what goes into creating your favourite tipple by joining tour and tasting experiences. Like to get hands on? Many offer make-your-own workshops, meaning you can take home a very personalised souvenir. Here’s our pick of the bunch…

 

Dining

City of London Distillery
With the distinction of opening the first gin distillery in the Square Mile for almost 200 years, the City of London Distillery has been garnering a number of awards for its tipple, including three Double-Gold Awards at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition. Pop into the COLD bar for a gin cocktail, book onto a tour and tasting experience or go the whole hog and pimp your own gin to your liking, then take the bottle home to share. If you’re staying at the Conrad St James, you’ll find a visit here is one of their Stay Inspired experiences – be sure to book.
cityoflondondistillery.com

Bimber
Bimber is claiming to be the ‘first to produce a single malt whisky in London for over a century’ and will have the first batches available for sale from June. They’ve been aged in four cask types in this west London distillery, so you can choose your favourite flavour. Can’t wait? Bimber also produces three types of vodka and a gin, and prides itself on using only natural ingredients. With numerous tours, tastings and cocktail classes, spirit lovers will be spoilt for choice.
bimberdistillery.co.uk

ellc-barrels-2.jpg

Sipsmith

Committed to the small-batch philosophy – that things should be well-made and handcrafted – two childhood friends, Fairfax and Sam, set up the first copper distillery in London since 1820. Their attention to detail, for instance, blending their London Dry Gin with water from the sparkling clean source of the River Thames, has been rewarded with a range of gins and a vodka
that is coveted in the world of liquor sippers. Come
for one of the evening tours and get acquainted.

sipsmith.com

 

East London Liquor Company

With a mission to bring spirit production back to the East End, the East London Liquor Company is forging new ground with its Demerara Rum, available in ordinary and – landlubbers, beware – navy strength. There’s also
a rye whisky, a wheat vodka and, this being London, gin. Take a Whisky Lover’s or a Spirit of Gin Tour and Tasting – or go the whole hog with the Distillery Tasting Experience and try everything.

eastlondonliquorcompany.com

 

The London Distillery Company

Taking the Royal Botanic Gardens as its inspiration,
this distillery has crafted a selection of exotic flavours for its KEW Organic range of liquors. For instance, there’s the Orangery Triple Sec, London Dry Gin and Explorers’ Strength Gin, made using 15 botanicals from around the world. Tours take place on selected Saturday afternoons and include a history lesson and guided tastings.

londondistillery.com

 

 

Sipsmith
Committed to the small-batch philosophy – that things should be well-made and handcrafted – two childhood friends, Fairfax and Sam, set up the first copper distillery in London since 1820. Their attention to detail, for instance, blending their London Dry Gin with water from the sparkling clean source of the River Thames, has been rewarded with a range of gins and a vodka that is coveted in the world of liquor sippers. Come for one of the evening tours and get acquainted.
sipsmith.com

East London Liquor Company
With a mission to bring spirit production back to the East End, the East London Liquor Company is forging new ground with its Demerara Rum, available in ordinary and – landlubbers, beware – navy strength. There’s also a rye whisky, a wheat vodka and, this being London, gin. Take a Whisky Lover’s or a Spirit of Gin Tour and Tasting – or go the whole hog with the Distillery Tasting Experience and try everything.
eastlondonliquorcompany.com

The London Distillery Company
Taking the Royal Botanic Gardens as its inspiration,
this distillery has crafted a selection of exotic flavours for its KEW Organic range of liquors. For instance, there’s the Orangery Triple Sec, London Dry Gin and Explorers’ Strength Gin, made using 15 botanicals from around the world. Tours take place on selected Saturday afternoons and include a history lesson and guided tastings.
londondistillery.com

Photos courtesy of Piotr Apolinarski and East London Liquor Company

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