Avoid the tube strike with a pub crawl (duh)


We all know the tube strike is the pits. Avoid the hellish gridlock, taxi queues and aggro fellow commuters on the bus by pub crawling your way home, instead. It’s Thirsty Thursday after all, right?

Kudos to The Evening Standard for this nifty interactive map, which plots the best* pubs on all the tube routes (other than the Waterloo & City, obvs)

*according to them. Actually, some of these are pretty spot on. Although ‘The Bow Bells’ is in Bow, not Stratford. Perhaps they couldn’t bring themselves to direct anyone to Westfield.

Anno Kent Dry Gin

Tasting notes

I discovered this gem of a gin earlier this summer at Taste of London. Instantly drawn to a stunningly beautiful bottle design, I was pleased to learn that it tastes pretty darn good, too.


Made by Anno Distillers, the first micro-distillery in the county, Anno Kent Dry Gin (43% ABV) is the first gin to be made in Kent in over 200 years.

Crisp, citrusy and floral on the nose, there’s a classic Juniper flavour to start, with a long, hoppy, herbal finish.

With 16 botanicals, and many of them local, this gin is distinctive both in flavour, and in appearance. The thing that really stood out for me, though, was one botanical in particular; local samphire from Romney Marsh.

Kent Botanicals for mailing

It’s something I’d never seen before in a gin, and boy, does it work.

Pick up some and say you tried it first, because this stuff is going to be big.

Welcome to TheGinthusiast.com!


You may have noticed the name of this blog has changed. In my eagerness to start working on this project (of sorts), I rushed into something I wasn’t totally comfortable with.

Formerly TheGinPalace.net, I felt this blog deserved a name more befitting of what it really is: an online collection of my drink-related babble, a place that exists only in coding and wires, and not, as was formerly suggested, a physical presence in the real world. Gin palaces are bars and drinking dens of old, and not the musings of an over-eager twenty-something gin fanatic.

So this is what I’ve become; an enthusiast for gin. The Ginthusiast. Find me tweeting all things mother’s ruin at @ginthusiastUK.

World Gin Day 2015


World Gin Day – a blatant excuse to drink lots and celebrate – falls this year on Saturday 13 June. Here are my top ways to celebrate in the capital.


Hosted by the chaps at Gin Foundry, Junipalooza is sure to be a fun-filled, gin-packed weekend, which sees 24 makers from across the world come together for tastings, masterclasses and Martinis. It’s a sure thing for every gin lover, and we couldn’t NOT include it in this list. See here for more info.

Update: This is a ticketed event which has now sold out. 

Merchant House Masterclass
The super knowledgeable people at Merchant House will take you through gin’s rich history, with four different gins to wash it down. Classes run at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Tickets are a snip at just £20. Book yours here.

Shake, Rattle and Stir’s Gin Voyage
Want to make your very own gin, on a boat, floating around London, sipping on cocktails? Of course you do. There are very limited spaces left for this one, which costs £70pp, and guests receive six cocktails and two samples of gin. Find out more and buy tickets here.

Go your own way
Keep it simple, and stock up on gin (Majestic Wines are doing free tastings all day on Saturday, so it’s the perfect excuse to try before you buy, FYI). Invite a few friends round, pour a few G&Ts, and sit back, relax, and revel in the majesty of gin. Cheers!

World’s Most Imaginative Bartender UK – Dan Berger

Bar reviews, Cocktails, Events

Massive congratulations to this year’s UK winner of Bombay Sapphire‘s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition; Heddon Street Kitchen‘s Dan Berger.

I was lucky enough to be invited along on the day by Dan, one of the ten finalists in the UK, who got through to the top five with his take on a G&T; Portal to Exploration.


On the eve of the world final, I caught up with Dan at Heddon Street Kitchen to talk cocktails and the competition. 

The small but carefully crafted cocktail list features 18 drinks – 10 of which are new, following the first menu change a few months after opening. Dan’s WMIBUK winning cocktail, Age of Discovery, also features. It’s a deliciously rich drink designed to enhance all the flavours of Bombay Sapphire. Featuring Darjeeling tea syrup, lemon, marjoram, Indian Dhania infused chestnut honey, and olive Oil, this drink is small, powerful and fragrant, which lasts on the tongue. 

 Age of Discovery features on Heddon Street Kitchen’s current cocktail menu, which recently changed for the first time since opening. N.B. They’ll give you a full one – I drank most of mine in eagerness before taking a picture. 

So what makes him a strong prospect for World’s Most Imaginative Bartender?  “I’ve always been good with flavours, but I really found a new creativity when I started working in bars”, says Dan. Clearly it runs in the family; his mum is a “great cook” and his sister a former chef. 

A huge part of this challenge (and ultimately, what every cocktail should be) is to create something innovative, something that showcases the spirit and ultimately looks good and tastes great. It’s clear that Dan has the eye, nose and, erm, taste to create pretty special (and now award-winning!) cocktails. 

Now get down to Heddon Street Kitchen and try one for yourself.