In Bride Lane, a narrow street off Fleet Street, you’ll find the City’s only gin distillery. Walk down the steps and it seems you’re entering a smart gentlemen’s club, with leather sofas and dimmed lighting. A quick glance to the right, however, and you’ll spot a still, all gleaming copper and twisted pipework.
In recent years gin has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance. It was only a few years ago that Beefeater was the sole London maker but now a whole load of boutique businesses have cropped up: Sipsmith, Portobello Road and Bloom. It seems the thirst for a G & T is unquenchable!
The City of London Distillery was founded in November 2012 and is the first distillery in the City for 200 years. Though its output is small and its gin is not that widely available, they are gradually building up a reputation. Only recently their (excellent) sloe gin won plaudits - and awards.
The gin is produced from the two stills, named Clarissa and Jennifer, after the celebrated Two Fat Ladies. Being big gin drinkers I think they’d heartily approve! Each gin makers’ recipe is a closely guarded secret but they always have to have one thing in common: to be called gin the recipe must include juniper seeds.
CoLD make 3 types: their Dry Gin contains a blend of coriander seeds, angelica and 3 types of citrus, while a stronger blend, Square Mile Gin, has an aroma of coriander. My favourite, however, was their Old Tom, sadly only exclusively available from the Dorchester Hotel.
You can take tours of the distillery: there’s a brief 30-minute overview but for a more informative tasting I recommend the 90-minute tour, with tastings. Cheers!