Gin O’Clock? Just head to The Dorchester Hotel, London > There’s a new gin in town…
It’s no secret that possibly two of my favourite things are gin & luxury hotels. A couple of years ago my friends clubbed together and sent me off to The Ginstitute on Portobello Road to distally my own gin (read about that here) and quite frankly, I left feeling quite the expert. Yes I have a favourite brand, (other than my own 9 botanical blend thank you very much) but last week I was willing to be educated on a recently launched blend by The Dorchester Hotel, ‘Old Tom’ gin.
Yes I’m incredibly fortunate to travel often and experience some of the most glorious hotels, and without question I’ll always check out the hotel bar. For me this is the litmus test of a hotel review. How am I made to feel, if I am travelling solo, would I be comfortable at the bar (I always favour a bar stool over any table anyway), or should I take a table and people watch? What are the team like? Do I feel at ease in the environment. What is the demographic? My head fizzes with excitement when I enter any hotel bar.
The Bar at The Dorchester though, is an institution. Not least because leading the team is Guiliano Morandin, (who has been with the hotel for 30 years FYI) he greets you like a long lost friend. I could have stayed for hours. Whether you need to re-charge your batteries after a long day, or you fancy dressing up and hitting the town, The Dorchester is your place, well my place.
Recently reviving the historical recipe for ‘Old Tom’, Guiliano and his team have worked in collaboration with The City of London Distillery to create a new take on the original 18th Century recipe. This is the second time Guiliano has re-introduced Old Tom Gin to the UK drinks market, the first time being in 2006 after a 30 year absence.
Why Old Tom you ask? Many tales recount how the blend got it’s name because of the unusual and secret dispensing methods used by London gin houses in the 18th Century, all of which involved the imagery of a tom cat.
For me though, the beauty is in the design. Each bottle is sealed with thick black wax and a hand signed label with its bespoke batch number authenticating it as an original of the distillery. The gin is produced in 220 litre batches, ensuring the quality of flavour is maintained. You can purchase the gin in 700ml/500ml or 25ml bottles and of course in your cocktail of choice at the bar.
The distillery, located at 22-24 Bride Lane just off Fleet Street is the only working distillery on the City of London. Founder Jonathan Clark installed a micro gin distillery in his cocktail bar, setting it behind a floor to ceiling plate glass for all to see. The site opened on the 20th December 2012 at 18.58, in recognition of the first gin cocktail purported to have first been made in 1858.
How does it taste?! Well, using 8 botanicals (I used 9, so like to think we’re already friends) including juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, cassia bark, cardamom, fresh lemon and orange peel the result is spectacular. Tangy and crisp, perfect with just tonic and a wedge of lime (and a side of olives if you please).
To celebrate the new arrival Guiliano has created a handful of signature cocktails. Old Tom Cobbler, Ramos Fizz and below, the iconic Martinez which inspired Guiliano to revive the production of this gin. Delicious. Yes I tried one, had to.
A 700ml bottle of The Dorchester Old Tom Gin is £65 and is available to purchase at the hotel or by visiting shop.dorchestercollection.com. The signature cocktails start at £16.
The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA
With thanks to Peretti Communications and The Dorchester Collection