Saturday marks the sixth annual World Gin Day, and it looks set to be the biggest one yet with bars, gin brands and enthusiasts from as far afield as Edinburgh, Melbourne and Washington DC getting involved. Quite rightly, the city with the most going on is London, known the world over as the spiritual home of gin.
Here are some ways you can get involved in all the gin-fuelled fun London has to offer on and around World Gin Day:
Go to the official party
There’s a risk that the City of London could momentarily look a bit like Gin Lane on Saturday night, as gin-loving revellers gather for the first official World Gin Day party. Organised by Gin Monkey and held at the City Of London Distillery Bar, gin cocktails will be flowing from 7-11pm with live jazz playing throughout and canapés sensibly doing the rounds, too. Tickets are £25 and you’ll get three G&Ts or other gin cocktails included in the price, as well as the chance to win in a charity raffle. The good cause in question is Malaria No More, and given it’s because of malaria (and the antimalarial properties of quinine which is in tonic water) that we have the G&T, it couldn’t be more appropriate. Book tickets here
Visit a gin museum
The Beefeater distillery in Kennington is the oldest distillery to remain in the capital, and they’ve now opened a dedicated visitor centre that allows you to discover the history of gin via a pretty impressive interactive exhibition. There's also the opportunity to see the distillery itself. Read our full write-up of the experience here.
Make your own gin
The upper levels of The Portobello Star pub isn’t just home to Portobello Road Gin, it also houses The Ginstitute. A session here starts with a talk on the history of gin (with a G&T, naturally), followed by the opportunity to create your own gin in the lab above. Using the array of botanicals provided, and with a little expert guidance, you'll put together your unique recipe and have a bottle of it made just for you. If you're a fan of your creation, you can even re-order it at any time. Tickets cost £100 and include a bottle of Portobello Road gin, a bottle of your own gin, a G&T and a martini. Sessions run daily from Tuesday to Saturday and you can get tickets here.
Drink at a gin pop-up
Today sees the launch of a summertime gin & tonic bar in Hoxton Square, which will run until 26 July. Laid on by tonic water brand Fever-Tree, the bar will serve over 160 different gins from all over the world and offer ‘G&Tree flights’ where drinkers can opt for tasting portions of four different gins, each accompanied by the tonic for a rather reasonable £12. There are also plans for supperclubs and masterclasses down the line. More info and tickets here.
Go on on a gin tour
Launching on Saturday to coincide with World Gin Day is a brand new tour from boozy events company Shake, Rattle & Stir. The London Gin Experience is a day-long event that starts with a tour and G&T at London’s oldest still-active gin distillery (Beefeater in Kennington) before heading to one of the city’s best-known new wave distilleries (Sipsmith in Chiswick) for another tour and a cocktail masterclass. Tickets cost £20 and include a guide as well as a car between venues. After a preview tour on Saturday, the events will run every Saturday throughout the summer starting from 12 July. Tickets can be bought here.
Take a stroll down Gin Lane
You’ll have to wait until next week for this one. Next Wednesday, The Royal College of Physicians will be hosting a guided half-day tour through London as part of their This Bewitching Poison series of alcohol-related events. Stroll down the site of the Gin Lane painting, near modern day Centrepoint, and the surrounding areas as you hear about the Gin Craze which swept London in the early 18th century and its devastating effects on the capital. Tickets are £25 for a three to four hour tour along with refreshments, but sadly not of the alcoholic kind. More details and tickets here.
Just drink copious amounts of gin
The Portobello Star is offering two Tom Collins's for the bargainous price of a tenner all day on Saturday to celebrate World Gin Day, while The London Gin Club is laying on a special international tasting menu featuring Japanese, American, Dutch and British gins. After that, just take your pick from our selection of London’s best bars for drinking gin and get stuck in.