Gin, that most British of spirits (what other nation had a historical period called “The Gin Craze”, has an entire category of the drink named after its capital, or indeed, passed two Gin Acts), has dedicated bars from Madrid to Milan, Berlin to Bombay – so it is fitting that London is upping its game: the Rosewood London is launching The Gin Bar on April 18.
Housed in the Holborn Dining Room, The Gin Bar will be the largest of its kind in the city, serving over 400 different kinds of gin and 27 branded and homemade tonic waters. If those figures don’t impress, the fact that guests can choose from a possible 14,035 gin-and-tonic pairings certainly should.
In the mix will be well-known international brands and small-batch local distillers, with over 100 of the gins distilled in Britain – from Rathbone London Dry to the rare 1950s Taplows London Dry to the Japanese-inspired Jinzu – a London Dry with hints of cherry blossom and softened with Junmai sake.
International offerings will include Buss No 509 White Rain, a fruit-forward gin made from Belgian botanicals of juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, vanilla, cardamom, iris, verbena, orange and lemon, as well as what the creators deem “a hearty hint of marjoram at its core”. Also from Belgium comes the extra-herbaceous Uppercut Gin, which blends strawberry leaf, damiana leaf, vervain and liquorice root into a concoction that it claims “makes the weak strong”, and the cognac-based Pink Pepper Gin, created by an Australian in France with the help of pink pepper, juniper and cardamom.
Distilled gins, with colours and flavourings added post-distillation, include the “agreeably British” Pinkster raspberry gin, which jostles for attention with Finland’s Kyrö small-batch rye gin and over 20 genevers, the concoction from which gin evolved, and which gave its name to the term “Dutch Courage”.
Bar manager Matthew Sloper, previously of the George Club private members’ bar in Mayfair, also promises a range of tonics – Fever Tree, Peter Spanton and Merchant’s Heart are among the 27 to choose from – while for the martini lover, he has created a special house martini made with Steam Punk Extremely Rare gin.
It seems then, that this is a place that would have suited Winston Churchill, who, legend has it, described the best way of making a martini as “glance at the vermouth bottle briefly while pouring the juniper distillate freely”.