Anyone who knows me, even vaguely, will know that I’m a pretty big fan of gin. To put it politely. So, when Fords Gin asked me if I wanted to learn about the history of gin through cocktails,* I was never going to say no! It helps when they invite me to some very plush surroundings to do it in, too.
The Luggage Room is a small but perfectly formed cocktail bar hidden away in the corner of Grosvenor Square in Mayfair. It’s absolutely beautiful and somewhere I could happily while away a few hours. I’ll be honest, having to knock on the door to gain access made me feel kind of special. It’s the little things, eh?
We were welcomed with a glass of Limmer’s Punch. From a recipe dating back to pre-1798. Punch was the predecessor to a cocktail and always contained five elements; sweet, sour, bitter, water and strong. (Remeber those essentials next time you’re putting a punch of your own together and you can’t go wrong!) It was lemony, it was sweet and it was delicious. I could have drunk this all night!
It was followed up with what used to just be called cocktail. I guess when you’re the first you don’t need a fancy name. Fords have since given it the rather punny moniker of The Ori-gin-al Cocktail. This was Pitt The Younger’s drink of choice at his local pub on Downing Street back in 1798.
A Martini is a drink I’ve only just fairly recently got in to. It’s very much an acquired taste and as it can be served so many ways it takes a bit of trial and error to find your favourite. We were offered a selection of garnishes to go with our Dry Martini. I chose a classic olive and some grapefruit peel. It was a nice combination that I’d have never considered before.
From the late 1800s and the Martini, we leapt to the 1920s and a cocktail I’d never heard of before, Bee’s Knees. The flavours of jasmine and honey are pretty strong in this one. It’s likely that that’s because they’d have been used to disguise the taste of the poor quality bathtub gin that was available during Prohibition.
A Singapore Sling is something nearly everyone has tried at some point. It’s one of those classic cocktails that’s never made the same way twice. It’s not a cocktail I’d ever choose from a menu until now. The Gin Sling we tried here was incredible though.
We ended in the 1980s with one of my absolute favourite cocktails, a Bramble. This was created in London and intended to be a quintessentially British. Gin, lemon and blackberry flavours. What’s not to love? This frothy masterpiece is The Luggage Room’s own take on a Bramble and was so drinkable. I could have easily sunk another two or three sat there.
I’d never actually tried Fords Gin prior to this and I really enjoyed it. It is light, fresh and perfectly mixable into any drink. I think that’s pretty unusual when it comes to gin. I definitely have my favourites that I prefer with different mixers due to their overriding flavour profiles. So, this really is a refreshing change.
*I was invited by to The Luggage Room and treated to cocktails by Fords Gin and Love Pop Ups London but all words and thoughts are my own.