All rise the gin palace

With the Gin category deep into a new era that easily rivals the Roaring Twenties – these modern glory years have not just brought hundreds of new gins to our shores, new tonics to bubble away in our glasses but also - a rise in specialist Gin bars.

With Gin & Tonic flights, custom made gins and frequent tasting events, these Gin bars bustle with juniper related activities for guests to enjoy and discover. Moreover, many have staff whose relentless passion for Gin mean that they are able to give fantastic recommendations for what to try next. These gin joints are nothing short of being modern incarnations of the magnificent Gin Palaces of Dickensian times. Minus the debauchery perhaps… Either way, Boz would be proud.

Here are 5 specialist gin bars you should visit that will serve up the ultimate G&T.

Merchant House – Bank

Home of hundreds of Gins, Merchant House achieves a unique blend of high-end cocktails and attentive service with well-informed staff that know each gin they serve inside and out. Their house Gimlet made using bergamot syrup and served with Plymouth Navy Gin is particularly tasty… just be warned, once you’ve walked into this underground gin cavern, you may just be there for the rest of the night.

London Gin Club (Star at night)– Soho

Established in 2012, the London Gin Club has been slowly but surely introduced thousands of guests to the delights of a perfectly served G&T. Friendly and relaxed – the bar was one of the first to really adopt the Spanish Style Copa glass to serve their drinks in. Since, they have continued implementing smart additions that will turn you into a regular before you even know it. Try one of their ‘Ginfusions’ where the team muddle, mix and combine fresh herbs to create something between a G&T and a cocktail; delicious!

The Oliver Conquest – Aldgate East

This is a Gin joint through and through. Cleverly organised tasting flights, well-thought-out gin, tonic and garnish pairings, a quasi-religious love for the Negroni and a dedicated Aperitivo bar upstairs serving nibbles to accompany a never-ending selection of gins. What’s not to love? They even have their own custom made OC Gin using a bespoke tea blend, cardamom and Seville orange peel. Look out for their monthly events too, as they usually have distillers hosting masterclasses that are informal, fun and great value.

The Old Bell Inn – Greater Manchester

With the Guinness World Record plaque for stocking the most varieties of gin taking pride of place on the shelf, this bar is worth the pilgrimage if only just to see what over 600 gins looks like in one place. Some advice as to what to try? Go as a group and pick different gin & tonic flights made up of gins whose names you’ve never even heard of – Ugandan Warangi Gin anyone? Make it a double.

Heads & Tales - Edinburgh

Edinburgh has numerous well-stocked gin bars but none quite deliver the all round juniper-laced goodness as well as Head & Tales. Home to Edinburgh Gin, two copper stills are in full view, usually flowing with a new experimental spirits that’ll have you captivated and confused in equal measure. With how to make your own gin masterclasses on offer and a range of tasty concoctions served at the bar, this is a Gin Palace that will have you wondering if you should get into the game and start your own distillery.

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