The London Gin Club at The Star at Night-Soho
The Star at Night, 22 Great Chapel Street, London, W1F 8FR
The Crossrail development has bitten a huge chunk out of Soho with the upper end of Dean St being completely flattened. Fortunately untouched although right on the edge of the action is Julia Forte’s The Star at Night, a boho little bar that doubles as the HQ of The London Gin Club. How those four little words make my heart sing… and when Julia invited me to the launch of their Gin Jaunts menu, two flights of four gin and tonics, I knew where my duty lay. The bar room is a period piece with red tile flooring and old rather than distressed wooden fittings. Antique tinplate adverts line the walls and there is a basement to cope with larger crowds or events.
The bar staff have the look of disaffected revolutionaries who have traded in their Uzis for a life serving the nobler cause of mixing the perfect drink. Sophisticated Sohoites should give thanks that they have chosen to ply their trade at The Star at Night rather than servicing the stupid rich in London’s hotel bars as the quality of both the ingredients and blending is very high.
The G&Ts all featured the award-winning Fever-Tree Tonic; Fever-Tree are the new kids on the block in the world of mixers and their products stand out from the sugary fakeries that most bars serve allowing the spirit flavours to come through. Unusually the drinks were all served in balloon glasses, rather than the usual highball, which Julia insists are the best for allowing the gin to come to life and certainly made the physical act of drinking easier…possibly too easy…
Gin is essentially the same spirit as vodka that has been redistilled sometimes several times over with added botanical essences the most well known of which is juniper, but the Gin Jaunts menu offers the happy imbiber the opportunity to try out more subtle and interesting combinations.
Amongst my favourites of the …eight that I drank were the Sacred featuring Sacred Gin created by distiller Ian Hart in his Highgate home which features 12 different botanicals including juniper, cardamon, nutmeg and frankincense given a citrus twist with a garnish of grapefruit and rosemary.
The Hendrick’s is a more widely available gin with infusions and garnishes of rose petal and cucumber.
For those of you with a sweeter tooth the Bloom is just the ticket. It’s a London Dry Gin with botanicals of chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle with a strawberry garnish. I can also recommend the delicious Rangpur flavoured with the rare Rangpur mandarin lime and the boutique Scottish Caorunn which somehow transports you to those boggy peat filled moors of the distant imagination-or maybe that was just the gin talking.
All in all a great time was had by all and The Hedonist can heartily recommend The Star at Night/ The London Gin Society for pre-dinner drinks or a night out in its own right. It’s great to go to a place where the concept hasn’t been imposed by external consultants and that has an sense of integrity in its pursuit of excellence.
The London Gin Club
The Star at Night
22 Great Chapel St
London W1F 8FR
0207 494 2488
The Hedonist drank as a guest of The London Gin Club
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