It will come as no surprise to regular readers of Diary of a Vintage Girl that I am partial to a splash of gin every now and then. So when an invitation come through to attend the launch of a brand-new gin brand, from one of the world's oldest wine merchants (who, it must be said, know their stuff), I hardly had to devote a moment's thought to my answer. So when last Wednesday arrived, I put on one of my nice frocks and toddled off to Berry Bros. & Rudd to sample their No. 3 London Dry Gin.
You may remember the last BBR launch event I attended, for The King's Ginger liqueur, way back in November. It was such a wonderful evening that I had high hopes for the gin tasting, plus I had the added bonus of being able to try more than two cocktails, since I didn't have to drive anywhere. Hurrah!
I arrived at BBR and was immediately ushered down into the vaulted caverns underneath. Down there were three bartenders, famed the length and breadth of the country for their skills in mixology. I did endeavour to sample everything on offer, but sadly fell slightly short! The gin itself was lovely. Although I frequently post about another brand of gin here, it must be said that actually, I just enjoy that particular spirit. I am not going to pretend that I can write a serious critique of No. 3 Gin, but I know what I like! It has a slightly citrus flavour, with the spices just creeping in as an aftertaste. The cocktails on offer really made the most of the gin's unique botanicals, and were all made with wonderfully fresh herbs and fruit, including super-expensive Sicilian lemons. And they were blooming strong!
I must confess, I have still never tried a martini! My favourite cocktail was the French 75s by Alessandro Palazzi from Dukes, which is a marvellous place to visit (although I haven't been there since Christmas 2008). A close runner up was Miles Davis's Aviated Smash. Mr Davies works at the famous Hix Bar in Soho, and his creation featured cherry infused No. 3 and lemon verbena, among other ingredients. Delicious. The canapes were also sublime. But what of the clientele?
I had the pleasure of the company of such fine chaps as Atters and his lovely friend Francesca, Mr Neil Ridley (whose blog Cask Strength is worth a read if you're a fan of whisky), Mr Marcin Miller from Quercus, who kindly invited me along; and of two other sterling coves - Darren The Whisky Guy and Ben the Master of Malt. As you can see, everyone else there knew far more about booze than I! So instead of holding forth (badly) about the flavour of the gin itself, let me instead show you something I can do well - pose! Here are some final photos of me with the (rather stylish) No. 3 Gin bottle and a brand-spanking-new Aston Martin!
The bottle itself was beautifully designed, with a key etched into the front. It's a replica of the original key to No. 3 St James's Stree, also known as Berry Bros. & Rudd! The car was almost straight off the production line, and belonged to the head of HWM, an Aston Martin dealership which is close to where I live (and housed in an amazing Art Deco building). I wore my 1940s Swirl dress for the occasion, paired with my much-loved green Rocket Originals Connies.
Sadly, the evening ended with me leaving empty handed, since all the crazy people who eschewed further free cocktails and canapes snaffled all the goodie bags. I am now awaiting a shipment of No. 3 London Dry Gin to place in my own Art Deco cocktail cabinet, to sample, and just make absolutely sure that I really do like it... ;) Honestly chaps and chapettes, if you enjoy gin, then do give it a try.
I'll be back with one review of one more booze-filled launch - this time the Jacques Townhouse in Fitzrovia. This one is far more girly, too, so expect some pretty photos to look at.
Until next time, adieu!