Last updated: 06:00 PM ET, Thu October 29 2015

Discovering Gin At Hilton London Bankside's Delightful Distillery

Destination & Tourism | Gabe Zaldivar | October 29, 2015

Discovering Gin At Hilton London Bankside's Delightful Distillery

Photo via Hilton London Bankside

Of all the gin joints in all of London I was fortunate enough to walk into this one.

You see, I’m not what you would call a big gin drinker, opting for a bourbon or beer ahead of the botanical libation that I have apparently been neglecting for far too long.

On a recent press trip to visit the Hilton London Bankside, I had the pleasure of receiving a gin tasting at the classy gin joint known as The Distillery just off the hotel’s lobby.

It’s equally a home away from hotel for those staying at this Hilton and a watering hole for locals who would like a drink in a sophisticated locale.

Now "classy" and "sophisticated" are hardly throwaway terms, because the bar is that. However, it’s something far more important. It’s warm and inviting.

Its bartender Ricardo stands as a personification of the establishment: charming, engaging and dedicated.

And it’s this bartender who showed me that gin could indeed be a fantastic precursor to a wonderful night.

And there is hardly a better place to get an immersive lesson, either with a hat tip from the man behind the bar or by combing through an extensive menu of cocktails and 50 different gins.

Largely I kept to the basics for my stay, enjoying both a Gin Fizz and a Negroni.

Photos by Gabe Zaldivar

The former is a refreshing splash of whimsy made up of lemon juice, sugar syrup and sparkling soda.

I could easily have a few of these to start a dinner as easily as I could after a workout at the gym. I will let you know if that theory holds true if I ever make it out to a gym.

The Negroni, made of Campari, vermouth and gin, was a more nuanced encounter with this spirit with which I was previously unacquainted.

And let me just say that I am now a gin drinker, which I am sure will make my parents so very proud. Or, more than likely, the announcement will come as neither a shock nor a revelation.  

Like most things, I merely need a nudge from a person well versed in the food or liquor at hand.

With The Distillery, you get that and then some. With a stunning décor and top-shelf liquors, it’s hard not to fall into the intoxicating allure of myriad gin drinks, even if you had been missing out on them for decades.  

As the bar’s website states, “Located on the site of Stevenson & Howell’s Standard Works, a renowned essence factory in 1800s, The Distillery pays homage to its heritage, serving a range of signature cocktails incorporating homemade aromatics, infusions and bitters.”

Its location near the city’s financial center also affords the bar an opportunity to fill a wall with the brilliance of pennies from all manner of era, including the woman’s suffrage movement.

It’s a strange thing indeed. You walk into this new bar that adjoins an equally recent hotel and you get a sense of history and legacy emanating from the stools, tabletops and cocktails; drinks, by the way, that have received a great deal of care and imagination.

Yes, I guess I am a gin drinker now, eager to try some recipes now that I am back in the comfort of my home.  

It’s not a surprise now that I think of it. I knew just by walking into the joint that something good was on the menu.

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