Tasting notes

Pickering’s Gin Review

The lovely chaps at Pickering’s Gin recently offered to send me a special treat. Having never tried their stuff before, I was delighted, and soon enough arrived a very cute package featuring their original bottling, as well as Pickering’s Original 1947 release.

The hand-crafted, hand-bottled and hand-waxed miniatures beautifully reflect their larger originals. I tried the original (red top) first; a delightfully smooth gin with a refreshing aroma which gives way to a warming spiciness. Good nose, good flavour. Not too punchy, but with plenty of bite.

IMG_8313 (1)

Then came the Original 1947 Gin. It’s made to an exact recipe which was first written down in Bombay in 1947. It has the same clean aroma of the red top, but – boy oh boy – it’s something else. Stronger (in flavour, not ABV – both are 42%), spicier and sweeter than it’s brother, this is one for people who like intense gins with flavours of cardamom, coriander, clove and cinnamon. Despite its smooth sweetness, it manages to avoid that lingering saccharin flavour which can be so common in sweeter gins, and instead is very refreshing.

Made at the Summerhall Distillery (the first gin-only distillery to open in Edinburgh in over 150 years), the gin’s botanicals are simmered in a bain marie (as opposed to vapour infused) to coax out the flavours. Heck, if you’re in Edinburgh, you can go and see the magic happening for yourself.

On the very same day I first tried this, I went to Mr Fogg’s, a fabulous gin bar in Covent Garden, and sought out Pickering’s Gin again that very same night. More-ish it definitely is.

Bar reviews Events Ginvent

Distillery tours in London

The gin renaissance is big business; not only are there new styles of the spirit popping up regularly and ruining mothers, but there’s money to be made in seeing how it’s done, too.

One of the many lovely things about being lucky enough to live in London is the ease of access to the capital’s very own Dry Gin (don’t worry, fellow Northerners and countryside dwellers, there’ll be a round-up of the best distillery tours outside of London coming soon).

Here are the best places in London to see gin being made (and in some cases, to make your own).


  1. The London Distillery Company

Based in Battersea, The London Distillery Company is home to Dodd’s Gin. A green, eco-friendly company which has designed a unique cooling water system to recover heat from its copper stills for use elsewhere. Tours are by appointment only and cost £15 per person.

2. Sipsmith Distillery Tours

Sipsmith opens its doors to the public every Tuesday and Wednesday from 6:30 – 8:15pm (but private tours are available). This Chiswick-based tour costs £15 per person and includes a gin and tonic on arrival and a tutored tasting on the Sipsmith spirits.


3. City of London Distillery

The COLD tours take place every weekday at midday and last 45 minutes. The tour, which costs £10 per person, includes ‘meeting’ the stills, observing the bottling, labelling and sealing process, and a miniature of City of London Dry Gin to take away. Evening tours, which take place Monday – Wednesday and Saturday evenings from 6pm, also include a gin tasting. Evening sessions cost £25 per person and last 60 minutes.


4. Beefeater London Distillery

Housed in an Edwardian building with a 1950s extension, the Beefeater Distillery features original Victorian pot stills. Tours are self-guided, running Monday – Saturday from 10am (last entry at 5pm), and culminate in a gin and tonic. Entry is £12 per person.