If mother’s ruin is your tipple of choice, London is the place to be. It’s home to some of the most exciting and oldest gin brands in the world, from the quirky Sipsmith to the classic Hayman’s and the immersive Ginstillery which boasts its own gin-dedicated hotel.
We’ve rounded up our favourite London-based distilleries to visit for tastings, pop-ups and more (when we’re allowed to of course) and in the meantime, why not try out the fruits of their labour by buying a bottle online.
Sipsmith have paved the way for contemporary gin brands, thanks to their innovation and knack for seriously sexy branding. From their collaborations with the likes of The Gingerline pop-up to their relationship with some of London’s best bars and the introduction of creative flavours (we love their Pimm’s-esque Summer Cup), they’ve made great choices that have seen them go from unknown to the go-to gin for many when both drinking out and picking up a bottle at the supermarket.
Chiswick plays home to their distillery and it’s both a beautiful space and one where you’ll learn everything you could ever imagine about old mother’s ruin. Under the current government guidelines Sipsmith will be hosting virtual tours of the space so book in and pour yourself a double.
83 Cranbrook Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2LJ
Fun fact: this East London favourite, that’s perched on the outskirts of Victoria Park, used to be a glue factory. There’s no glue knocking about now thankfully, but a cornucopia of the company’s award-winning elixirs.
They make everything from whisky to rum, but the gin is our favourite – their gins in tins may as well be sponsoring our summer park sessions right now. Order their products online before their Spirit of Gin Tours recommence post-lockdown and their popular bar reopens.
Not content with an onsite distillery, these guys opened a four-floor mecca dedicated to the discerning gin drinker.
Based in Portobello, you’ll find their critically-acclaimed gin-blending experience which comprises The Ginstitute, The Resting Room, The Malt Floor, a private dining room and their internationally-renowned Portobello Road Gin. Oh, and not forgetting their gin hotel.
Puts a whole new meaning into nightcap.
A stalwart of British gin, Hayman’s history goes back over 150 years. Five generations have provided an unbroken lineage dating back to the original gin boom and are still using traditional family methods to blend their product.
But they’re definitely no fuddy-duddy old brand, they’re fiercely innovative too. Take their game-changing Small Gin, which is small in size but big in flavour. So rich in botanical character is it that the recommended serve of just 5ml (one thimbleful) is all you will need to create a real gin and tonic drink that containing 80% less alcohol. Perfectly playing into the hands of the low- and no-alcohol trend.
The rest of the Hayman’s collection is traditionally heady, from the classic Dry Gin to Sloe and even a Gin Liqueur.
Tours to the actual distillery have of course been put on hold, but you can buy vouchers for any ginthusiasts to look forward to in the future.
8a Weir Road, London SW12 0GT
With a 200-year-old history, countless awards and the prettiest bottles ever to house a selection of gins, the City of London Distillery is one of the Square Mile’s hidden gems.
The distillery, event space and tours might be closed for now, but you can sample the fruits of their labour with a cornucopia of flavours, from Rhubarb and Rose to Murcian Orange and Navy Strength Lime, all available to buy online.
City of London Distillery
22-24 Bride Lane, London, EC4Y 8DT
Using a classic London Dry recipe as a foundation and then adding a personal flavour profile chosen by you, 58 Gin is London’s most bespoke gin-based tipple.
First you choose your flavours, from citrusy to floral; add up to three specific botanicals such as pepper, lemongrass or lavender; choose whether you like your gin clear of pretty in pink; fill in your personalised name and message and the 58 Gin will distil, bottle and deliver it to you within a week.
Book into one of their gin making classes for a more hands-on experience once things return to normal.
Beats a bottle of Gordon’s any day.
If you’re into the geeky science behind gin, Sacred is one to check out. The Highgate-based brand use vacuum distillation as a way to preserve the richness of flavour and aromas of his hand-picked botanicals, instead of traditional pot distillation.
The collection started off with a gin that blends a dozen botanicals, including juniper, cardamom, nutmeg, and frankincense, but has grown to offer a wealth of other flavours as well as Spiced Vermouth, bottled Negronis and even a Peated English Whisky.
The uniqueness of Jensen’s, made in Bermondsey, really stems from it not being very unique at all, given that it’s created to honour the forgotten recipes of London’s lost gin distilleries. While other brands are trying their best to do something out of the box, Jensen’s are keeping it simple.
The brand offer two classic gins, our favourite being the Bermondsey Dry, an old-fashioned London Dry style that’s smooth and rounded, with delicate floral and citrus notes. In short: the ideal base for a banging martini.
55 Stanworth Street, London SE1 3NY
The granddaddy of London gins, you’ll find the Beefeater Distillery in Kennington, South East London. It’s here where the iconic gin is still hand-crafted to a recipe that is virtually unchanged since the 1800s and the building itself is pretty impressive too.
Housed in an Edwardian building (with a 1950s extension), the Beefeater Distillery features original Victorian pot stills and a botanical room, where the fresh ingredients are stored. Gin connoisseurs can visit to see the original stills, view the distilling process and learn about the history of gin in London, before trying a few samples of the good stuff, of course.
20 Montford Place, London, SE11 5DE