Over the last year, we have set about trying to get to know gin better. The spirit received only fleeting coverage in the WSET Level 2 Wines & Spirits course one of us did so we decided to treat ourselves to supplement our understanding by booking onto a “gin tour”.
Shake, Rattle & Stir is the brainchild of Leon Dalloway, acclaimed “Willy Wonka of Gin”, and offers visits to some of London’s best bars all the while teaching you about gin or rum, dependent on whether you sign up to the Gin Journey or the Rum Ramble.
So, early one Wednesday evening in February, we eagerly made our way to Merchant House where Leon gave us a very warm welcome and showed us to our seats. Once the rest of the group had arrived (there was just over a dozen of us in total) and after some wise words on responsible drinking (“keep hydrated”, “eating is not cheating” etc) we started our fabulous Gin Journey through London…
We had heard good things about the tour through social media and TripAdvisor and we were not disappointed in the slightest. Leon’s industry experience and genuine passion brought to life the story of gin, including its history and manufacture, without it becoming in any way dry (excuse the pun). We also had the great and unexpected pleasure to meet Alex Kammerling, the man behind our latest favourite aperitif Kamm&Sons, while at Merchant House! But the excitement didn’t stop there…
Over the course of the evening we visited five different bars, one of which is housed in a distillery. Transport between destinations was included and at each stop we were given a new gin to sample, both neat (or at least with a splash of water to bring out the botanicals) and in a cocktail. See below for the full list of bars and drinks. Although not included in the price, food was made available to buy at the second bar. The tour ended at around 11pm at the wonderful, Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, where a few of our fellow tourists who’d heard about the Gin Journey back home in Germany, stayed on to polish off the rest of the punch bowl.
In terms of value for money, this is probably one of the best tours we’ve ever been on. We can’t recommend it highly enough. Not only was it a fantastically fun night out – a real treat to be ferried from one bar to the next, getting served drinks on arrival – but it also satisfied the inner geek by providing some real insight into the world of gin.
Bar 2: Perkin Reveller, Tower Bridge
Gin: Beefeater 24 Gin
Cocktail: Rhubarb Collins
Beefeater 24, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb liqueur, apple juice, lemon and garnished with dehydrated apple and cinnamon powder
Bar 4: The Worship St Whistling Shop, Shoreditch
Gin: Sipsmith London Dry Gin
Cocktail: Breakfast at Galsworthy’s
Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Cocchi Americano, house made marmalade on toast distillate garnished with dehydrated orange and a smoking cinnamon stick
Shake, Rattle and Stir also offers a full-day gin experience, including tour of a London distillery, at weekends. We’re told that a vodka experience is also in the pipeline; follow Shake, Rattle and Stir on twitter to keep up-to-date with developments.go back