The world’s 10 greatest gin jointsBy Amy Hopkins
Whether a degenerate Victorian-style drinking den or a glorious emporium, these are the world’s 10 greatest gin joints.
Gin bars have adopted many different guises over the years, from the gin palaces of the Victorian era, to the speakeasy bars of Prohibition, and sophisticated modern cocktail venues.
The spirit once regarded as something which lead to “mother’s ruin” is widely celebrated by bars during this second gin craze of the 21st Century.
Our list of the world’s top gin bars includes a small English pub boasting the world’s largest gin selection and the hotel bar which inspired Ian Fleming to make the Martini the choice drink of James Bond.
And so, of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, this is our selection of the 10 greatest. If you think we’ve missed an essential choice, let us know by leaving a comment below.
Portobello Star, London
Notting Hill bar the Portobello Star is one of the most popular gin joints in London, and even produces its own house gin brand.
With a bar packed full of the spirit which lead to “mother’s ruin”, the Portobello Star offers visitors the chance to taste its own branded gin created by Jake Burger and Ged Feltham in the bar’s tiny pot still, called “Coppernicus”. Burger also helps gin enthusiasts make their own bespoke bottle of gin through the bar’s “Ginstitute”.
The bar claims that, like gin palaces of the Victorian era, it is frequented by “royals, scallywags, urchins, beggars, scarlet ladies, drunkards, intellectuals, and popular musicians of the day”.
Origin, Hong Kong
Origin is Hong Kong’s first bar dedicated entirely to gin, launched by the team behind themed bars such as Tastings Wine Bar, Angel’s Share, specialising in whisky, Quinary, serving cocktails created through molecular mixology.
With a selection of classic and 11 signature cocktails, using the same gadgets and technology as its sister bar Quinary.
Mixes here include the French 75, Classic Earl Grey Martini and Basil Smash.
Bathtub Gin, New York
This authentic speakeasy-style bar pays homage to gin as the predominant alcoholic consumed in the US during Prohibition. There’s even a bathtub in the middle of the room.
While the bar may be called Bathtub – named after the unsavoury alcohol which was flavoured with botanicals in people’s bathtubs – it serves only the finest selections.
In keeping with the bar’s illicit speakeasy image, Bathtub Gin can only be accessed via an organic coffee shop which is used to cover its operation.
Old Bell Inn, Saddleworth
Although something of an unlikely contender, the Old Bell Inn, in the sleepy UK town of Saddleworth, won the Guinness World Record for having the world’s largest gin variety earlier this year.
Philip Whiteman, pub owner, has been building the collection for more than 10 years, in order to turn the pub into a ‘fully-fledged gin emporium”.
With 404 different gins, the bar snatch the record from The Feathers Hotel in Oxfordshire, which was awarded the title in 2012 for its collection of 161 different gins.
Dukes Hotel, London
Of Ian Fleming’s “shaken, not stirred” Martini fame, Dukes Hotel in the backstreets of Mayfair is an obvious choice for gin fiends.
Said to be the place where Fleming first discovered the Martini, the hotel bar sophisticated London urbanites and visiting businessmen with its subtle sophistication and incredible selection of gin-based classic cocktails.
While a bold claim if ever there was, they back themselves to make the best Martini in the world.
Gin Palace, Melbourne
With a name like Gin Palace, it’s not hard to guess what this Melbourne bar’s spirits forte is.
With mismatched sofas and comfortable decor, Gin Palace celebrates the degenerate drinking dens of the Victorian era, offering visitors the choice of 18 gins and over a dozen varieties of Martini.
Bobby Gin, Barcelona
As Spain’s thirst for the gin and tonic rages, so its cocktail culture evolves, lead by the likes of Bobby Gin in Barcelona.
While a slogan placed on the bar’s wall reads “The perfect gin and tonic does not exist”, this establish certainly gives a good attempt. In a relaxed atmosphere, guests can sip on traditional Spanish gin and tonics or an array of expertly crafted cocktails.
Worship Street Whistling Shop, London
Based in Shoreditch, Worship Street Whistling Shop, set up by Fluid Movement, the company behind Purl, is said to combining the “charm of Victorian squalor with the elegance of grand Gin Palaces”.
The bar takes cocktail recipes of old, many of which have gin as the main ingredient, and gives them a modern edge in its in-house cocktail lab, using rotary evaporators, sous vide, vacuum technology and a large array of enzymes, acids, proteins and hydrocolloids.
The Worship Street Whistling Shop even created its own brand of Victorian Cream Gin in collaboration with Master of Malt, which is a staple ingredient in its namesake bar’s signature cocktail the Black Cat’s Martini.
The name of this bar means that its favoured spirit is no secret. The Bramble is one of the most famous gin-containing cocktails created in the modern era and is a combination of London dry gin, lemon, sugar syrup and crème de mûre liqueur.
Bramble bar’s delectable gin-based mixes include: La Roux, Foxtrot Fizz, the Archduke, Stepford Sister and Angela’s Antidote.
Bramble is also one of the world’s more inconspicuous bars, situated underneath an unassuming dry cleaners.
This bar certainly lives up to its name, based in London’s advertising hub, the Golden Square in Soho. It claims to be “surrounded by our two favourite things, a world-class gin collection and the latest in ground-breaking urban art”.
With 235 different gin’s from across the globe, Graphic offers paint tin punches, historic cocktails and disco drinks.
So strong is the bar’s love of gin, it even hosts a Juniper Club for fellow gin enthusiasts where tutorials are lead by some of the best brands in the business.