Gin Journey

Gin Journey East London LIquor CompanyIf you want to discover London’s best gin delights (and a some more of its best bars), then it’s time to hop on to the Gin Journey. It’s not quite a pub crawl – this is a rather more elegant affair – but either way, it’s just as fun. Put yourself into the capable hands of Leon Dalloway, the dashing chap who’s the brains behind Shake, Rattle and Stir. With a decade of experience working in the drinks industry, needless to say — he knows his stuff.

Gin Journey Leon

In one evening, you’ll get to visit five bars, taste five cocktails and five gins, be chauffered around London in a “gin carriage”and learn all about the fascinating history of this iconically British spirit – for the bargain sum of £60. In it’s current incarnation, you’ll start the night off at Merchant House – a beautiful gin and rum bar in the City – where you’ll get to know one of the most awarded gins of the last few decades, Martin Miller’s. From there, it’s on to Tower Bridge where you’ll drink Beefeater among the Beefeaters. Sheer genius. This stop is at Perkin Reveller, and as it’s your opportunity to order some food – we say, take it up. We quite nearly ate the entire menu … and felt all the better for it.

Gin Journey Perkin Reveller

Then it’s time to hop on to the gin carriage and head eastward, to the prettiest bar-cum-distillery we ever did see: East London Liquor Company. Here you’ll get the full rundown on how gin is made and get to taste some of their home brand stuff – it’s as fresh as it gets. The next stop on the journey is at Worship Street Whistling Shop: a Shoreditch speakeasy slinging some seriously sumptuous Sipsmith sippers. And when it’s time to wrap up the night, you’ll be heading to the one and only Callooh Callay. This is a mega-bar that’s won quite a few awards in its day and is partial to a punny cocktail or two. Here things will get changed up month-to-month, with guest gins taking a starring role. We got to try a What’s up Doc made with Ford’s Gin, lemon, elderflower, ginger, carrot shrub, orange and mandarin bitters poured over prosecco. Bright orange, bubbly and brilliantly fun.

Oh and did we mention there will be prizes up for grabs throughout the night? Come prepped with your best gin knowledge OR be a social media whiz. Either way, you can leave with some nifty gifties.

Best Bars tip: Once you’ve had a taste of the Gin Journey – you’ll be all aboard for more. And lucky for you, there’s plenty more to choose from. To get the whole “Gin Experience“, join Leon for a tour of London’s gin distilleries and really sink your teeth into the technical sides of production. Or switch over to the richer sweeter side and go on a Rum Ramble – like the Gin Journey but with a LOT more rum.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

gin journey worship street whistling shop

Old Tom & English

Old Tom and English SohoWalking down Wardour street, we wouldn’t blame you for whizzing right past this door. With just a red light buzzing above, there’s little indicate the luxurious den that awaits downstairs. Old Tom & English plays on the brothel history of Soho, but nothing down here is seedy. The design comes courtesy of Lee Broom, with his signature 60s style and glamorous touches, this feels like walking into an episode of Mad Men.

If you’re here, then you’ve got to have an Old Fashioned — but this one comes as a twist. Made with barrel-aged gin, honey and bitters — it’s like no other Old Fashioned you’ve tried before. For a drink inspired by the area, try the South Side of Oxford Street with Gentleman’s Cut gin, lemon, sugar and Manzanilla dry sherry. Dry, fresh and definitely delicious. Food is designed to share, so start ordering those plates around. Lighter bites such as the kale and burnt apple salad are friendlier to the waistline, while those looking to indulge should get straight in to the melt-in-your-mouth confit smoked guinea fowl served with an anchovy mayo. Oh, and get the triple cooked chips … these are some of the best in town.

The booths are ideal for big groups that want a bit of privacy — you get your own little alcove to while away the hours in.

Best Bars tip: It’s reservations only (if you want a booth), but play nice and they’ll let you perch up at the bar … our favourite spot.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Old Tom and English Soho

Cocktails in the City – London

Cocktails in the CityWe’ve been lucky enough to experience Cocktails in the City firsthand, from Leeds to Manchester, but now we’ve got the sneak preview of the London edition … and boy, is it good. On 18-19 September, at The Grand Hall in St Pancras, you can get a taste of the greatest cocktails from the city’s finest bars and bartenders. From the Tiki chaps at Trailer Happiness to the party kids of London Cocktail Club, there’s more than enough to satisfy all your boozy desires.

Try the sippable summer servings courtesy of Chase Marmalade Vodka, which will come alongside some seriously indulgent pampering courtesy of Harvey Nichols. Then it’s time to taste the elegant and refined Beluga Vodka Caviar Martinis from the talented gents of The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz. And then … well, there’s more than enough masterpieces to keep you busy on the night.

You’ll even get to try out the offerings of a few brand new bars that haven’t opened their doors yet, like The Alchemist and Call Me Mr Lucky. And we can confidently tell you — you’re in for a treat.

Best Bars tip: For £12, you get a cocktail on arrival, access to the biggest party in London, tutored masterclasses, product sampling and on the day additional drinks will cost £7. What else do we need to say? Get your tickets now!

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Cocktails in the City London

World Class House

Jude Law Johnnie Walker Blue Label World Class House Screening RoomDiageo World Class House is setting up shop for one week only starting Monday 28 July — and this is not one to miss out. The World Class competition is all about the best of the best, finding the cream of the cocktail crop from around the world. This is one hell of a way to ring in the upcoming grand final, and for the first time ever — we’re all invited.

Set up in Fitzroy Square, you’ll have a five-storey Georgian townhouse (kitted out with eight experiences) to explore. From the introduction of Haig Club (yep, that’s David Beckham’s single grain whisky made in collaboration with entrepreneur Simon Fuller) to workshops discovering the craft of the Bloody Mary — there’s more than enough boozy fun to keep you wanting more. After admiring Jude Law’s ever handsomeness in the short film screening of a Gentleman’s Wager, you can climb up to the rooftop terrace and bask in the sun with some of the world’s best cocktails in hand.

Tickets cost £20 a pop and include two tokens for drinks or they can be added to the cost of the various experiences. Don’t worry, you can buy more tokens on the night.

Best Bars tip: We hear Don Julio tequila have a speakeasy bar … so keep an eye out for a vintage telephone box but *shhh … it’s a secret.*

the world class house, 33 fitzroy square, fitzrovia, london w1t 6eu
monday 28 july — sunday 3 august. mon-fri: 6pm-11pm; sat: 12pm-5pm; 6pm-11pm; sun: 12pm-5pm.

Tanqueray No 10 Diageo World Class House

81LTD

81LTD LiverpoolThose looking for a slick, sexy evening of tunes and top cocktails could do worse than head to 81LTD. Situated above dive bar Salt Dog Slim’s, up a hidden stairway at the back, you gain access by typing a code that’s texted to you beforehand. Entering is like stepping into a cool Manhattan loft with a DJ set up in the corner, exposed brickwork, mirrored back bar and silver art deco ceiling tiles.

The beautiful crowd comes to drink here, and it shows, with a full champagne list on offer in the cocktail menu (no other wines are listed in it). The staff are particularly proud of their Old Fashioned twists. Or for a serious late-night tipple, try a Hold Your Plums, a rich concoction of Nikka from the Barrel, plum sake, date syrup and Angostura Bitters.

Pull up a pew, order a drink and watch everyone get down – or get involved and pull some shapes yourself. There’s room for everyone here.

Best Bars tip: Be sure to text the bar’s phone number well beforehand in order to get the access code for the door. 

— Laura Foster

81 LTD liverpool cocktail 2

Vinopolis

Vinopolis © Jonas Abbott
© Jonas Abbott

Are you keen to get a little more out of wine drinking? Situated under the impressive railway arches of London Bridge, Vinopolis is a wine experience to help you look beyond the usual, with lessons, masterclasses and plenty of wine to taste.

You’ll start with a short wine-tasting class to get your palate ready, then off you go – tokens in hand, you can explore the nine rooms that make Vinopolis, and include everything from white and red tasting rooms to a geography zone, a champagne bar and a spirits lounge. Each has different bottles for visitors to sample in exchange for tokens. Peek at panels on the geography or making of vino while you sip, and check out the interactive questionnaires for help finding vintages to your taste.

Perfect for an original date or to finally get your mum to drink more than Chardonnay, Vinopolis lets you learn more about wine at your own pace. Plus, you won’t be going light-headed, as one of the rooms includes a tapas bar, with three handy restaurants also on site if you want to prolong the evening.

Best Bars tip: Want nothing more this summer than escaping the football? Try Vinopolis’ Wine Cup, a special package that tops your wine tasting promenade with a cocktail, a goody bag and a massage on select World Cup nights. 

— Gaëlle Laforest, @gaellelaforest

Vinopolis Theatre

Disco

Disco

*This bar is currently closed.*

Make your way through the PanAm door, pick up your boarding pass, set down your things on the conveyor belt and off you go. So you may not be boarding an actual plane, but you’re in for a trip you’ll remember (or maybe not so much). Disco is ready to take you straight back to 1970s Manhattan.

This is a place for late-night partying and forgetting about the morning. And with live music on Thursdays and some big names of House often popping by, you’ll have no difficulty getting into the vibe. The staff itself joins in on the party too with disco moves that’ll make you jealous.

Better get your mates together because the star drink comes in a massive disco ball, and mixes Moët and Chandon Champagne, Belvedere Vodka, Chambord, Malibu and Midori. Big, sweet and bubbly … right on theme. If sharing ain’t your thing, you’ll (obviously) want the Michael Jackson – El Jimador Reposado Tequila with a splash of crème de mûre and topped with lightly spiced ginger beer. Didn’t you always want to drink out of a mug that looks like MJ’s mug?

Best Bars tip: Disco is a members club, but you can request guest membership for a taster of this wild Soho hang. We reckon you’ll want to come to this time-travel spot again.

— Gaëlle Laforest, @gaellelaforest

Disco