Another sunny Monday in London and another upbeat and happy post about my weekend activities. This time I’m giving you the low-down on my tour of the Beefeater gin distillery in Kennington.
Now I’ve always been a gin-girl and I’m quite proud of the fact that I was guzzling gin long before it came back into vogue. So when the Husband decided to book tickets for an impromptu Saturday date I was very excited. Now I must caveat this with the fact that Beefeater has never been a favourite brand of mine however, I went with an open mind and when it comes to free samples I can definitely be less fussy!
The tour starts with a museum section that you wander around at your leisure. It starts with a history of how gin was invented in London. Some of the original recipes are on show including ones that have turpentine and sulphuric acid as ingredients. Definitely not one to try at home. The museum goes on to show you all about the evolution of gin distillers from bath-tub gin brewers creating liquor for speakeasies right to the gentlemen distillers of the 1800s who created some of the gins we are still drinking today.
One of these gentlemen distillers was James Burrough, he was a pharmacist who put his knowledge of herbs and their medicinal benefits to good use by blending botanicals to create the original Beefeater gin. This recipe is still the one used in the regular Beefeater gin you drink today.
Once we had walked through the museum and learnt about the history of gin, we were joined by one of Beefeater’s professional tour guides. She was really friendly and took us upstairs to see the distillery itself. We learnt about which botanicals go into each of the Beefeater varieties to give them all their own individual flavours and characteristics. We got to touch and smell juniper which really does smell exactly like gin. I was starting to get thirsty!
Next we headed upstairs to see the gin stills, these are the copper pots that the gin is mixed in and then distilled from. I was amazed about the amount of gin that comes from one relatively small room. It is a really efficient operation.
Finally after learning all about the distillation process we headed to the Beefeater bar. We finished the tour with a gin and tonic which is included in the entry price. After nearly 90 minutes of all things gin, tasting the real thing was delightful and I’m not sure whether it was because I’d been craving gin for the entire tour or, if it was because we were at Beefeater HQ but the gin tasted truly delicious.
We headed for the shop and picked up a bottle of Beefeater 24, their premium gin with 3 extra botanicals in the recipe. Next stop was The Pilgrim Pub across the road. Our tour guide recommended it to us and we grabbed some 241 gin and tonic vouchers from the shop before we headed over. The vouchers last all day so you only need one each to ensure you get 241 drinks until closing time.
What a great little pub it is. As you would expect, they can make a mean gin and tonic too. The sun was shining and the beer garden was a perfect place to sit and enjoy some more gin and a bite to eat. It was a great place to end the day and I thoroughly recommend it!