“When a man who is drinking neat gin starts talking about his mother he is past all argument.” — C.S. Forester, The African Queen
A gin revival is surging through the heart of London. Micro-distilleries and gin bars have popped up across the capital, and captured the imagination of bar tenders and distillers alike. Gin has come a long way from ruining mothers; today it is a drink enjoyed by everyone and across generations, and is one of the most exciting places in the food and drinks world for its innovative and exploratory flavour combinations.
Historically, gin made men impotent and women sterile, though standards have probably gone up. And anyway, thankfully, Londoners are no longer imbibing the 18th century average of 14 gallons a year!
The SOAS Gin & Co. Society hopes to explore this revival through a heady blend of politics, history, culture and palette training. The focus will be on small-scale, local and family distilleries and merchants, to support the burgeoning industry and draw attention to one of London’s most important culinary contributions. We’ll do this by coordinating discounted distillery tours and tastings in a number of locations around London. As part of this, we will invite distillers to recount their first forays into gin, including their motivations, insights and perspectives on local artisanal gin production in the world market.
Member of Gin & Co. Society, by the end of the year, will be able to distinguish between different types of gin: citrusy, sweet, floral and spicy, and how to pair them with the various aromatic, neutral, and floral colours of tonic. Advanced gin drinkers will be able to speak confidently about the use of citrus fruit, cucumber and liquorice garnishes; and about the broad differences between English, American, and Continental varieties.
Alongside a membership fee of £5, members will fund the majority each tour and tasting, with small subsidies from Union funding. In addition, we will negotiate discounts from each distillery.