Capital Delights - A tour of London's gin distilleries

From humble and unorthodox beginnings to a refined and sophisticated award winner, the team at 58 Gin aim to create the best in hand crafted, premium artisan gin.

Founder and master distiller of 58 Gin Mark Marmont discusses current trends in the industry.

How has London's appetite for gin changed over the past decade?

I feel that Londoners have become better educated and now want to drink quality gin and cocktails. They are more prepared to seek out places to go and enjoy the quality of the gins.

What are the current trends you are seeing in the gin industry?

It seems the current trends are leaning towards flavoured style gins. I think everyone noticed over the summer it was all about the pink gins; you couldn’t go to any pub or bar in London without seeing one! We’ve actually produced our own style of pink gin, which is flavoured with apple and hibiscus.

58 Gin Headshot
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What inspired the branding of 58 Gin?

58 is actually my house number! The angel wings are because I live in Angel and I like to think of the colour as reminiscent of the shimmer you get off a gin and tonic in the sunshine.

What is it that makes 58 Gin different?

58 Gin is a classic London Dry style, but what makes it different is that it is perfectly balanced between the citrus and savoury. The nine botanicals - juniper, coriander seed, orris root, angelica, cubeb pepper, Sicilian lemon, pink grapefruit, bergamot and bourbon vanilla - are carefully selected from around the world. Our distilling process makes the gin super smooth and great for cocktails.

What are your favourite gin-based cocktails?

Martini is my absolute favourite! However these days there are so many fantastic new cocktails out there as our industry is consistently pushing the boundaries.

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How did you get into gin distilling in the first place?

It all started as a bit of fun; I just wanted to make a gin that I liked. It turned out that a lot of other people liked it too!

Do you make any other spirits?

At the moment we just produce a few varieties of gin, including sloe, Navy strength and chocolate negroni, but that’s not to say we won’t venture into other spirits in the future.

Where do you go to enjoy a good beverage when you’re not working?

My two favourite places are Dukes in Mayfair, whose cocktails are said to have inspired James Bond’s signature Martini, and The Merchant House in the City, which has over 350 gins and 350 rums.

Hackney Downs Studios, E8 2BT, 58gin.com

PORTOBELLO ROAD GIN W11

Using nine botanicals, including coriander seed, liquorice root and nutmeg, well-known Portobello Road Gin is best enjoyed with a twist of grapefruit. Since opening its doors in 2011, Portobello Road’s Ginstitute has welcomed over 20,000 gin lovers from around the world, many of whom take the opportunity to create their own individual gin recipe, which staff keep on file should they decide to return and replenish their personal stock.

186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA, portobelloroadgin.com

BEEFEATER DISTILLERY SE11

One of London’s best-known exports, Beefeater’s distillery is located in Kennington, where its London Dry Gin remains hand-crafted to a recipe that is unchanged since the 1800s. Exclusive VIP tour experiences are available to book.

20 Montford Place, SE11 5DE, beefeaterdistillery.com

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Image above: Beefeater Distillery

CITY OF LONDON DISTILLERY EC4

Located in the heart of the City, this distillery has won awards for its Dry, Old Tom, Square Mile and Sloe gins. As well as the distillery, there is a retro, speak-easy style bar on site, serving delicious gin cocktails alongside charcuterie boards.

22 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DF, cityoflondondistillery.com

EAST LONDON LIQUOR COMPANY E3

Producing vodka, rum and whisky as well as gin, the East London Liquor Company works to produce spirits that are accessible in terms of both flavour and price. Located in an old glue factory, the distillery produces three popular gins, London Dry, Premium Batch No.1 and Premium Batch No.2, and hosts tours every Friday and Saturday.

221 Grove Road, E3 5SN, eastlondonliquorcompany.com

East London Gin Company Image above: East London Liquor Company
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JENSEN’S GIN SE1

Christian Jensen creates a finely balanced gin in small batches, using traditional botanicals. The gins are available in prime London venues such as Balthazar, The Savoy, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, The Connaught Hotel, Fera at Claridge's and The Mandarin Oriental.

55 Stanworth Street, SE1 3NY, bermondseygin.com

HALF HITCH GIN NW1

Combining black tea, hay, bergamot, wood and black pepper, Camden’s Half Hitch has an unusual taste; quintessentially British yet somewhat exotic. Best enjoyed in a Half Hitch Twisted Martini (poured over ice with an orange peel).

Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF, halfhitch.london

SIPSMITH W4

The first copper pot distillery in London for nearly 200 years, Sipsmith began in a tiny workshop in Hammersmith in 2009. Now based in larger premises in nearby Chiswick, each bottle of Sipsmith is hand-crafted in small batches. The copper stills are named Prudence, Patience and Constance, reflecting the qualities required to make a great gin, and you can meet these “sisters” by attending one of Sipsmith’s frequent distillery tours.

83 Cranbrook Road, W4 2LJ, sipsmith.com

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Image above: Sipsmith

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