Thursday, March 10, 2016

"Of All the Gin Joints ..."

The City of London Distillery bar and 
lounge. Note the light fixtures above 
The bar made from old copper kettles.
Today I distilled my first bottle of gin. The City of London Distillery offers a class in the history and practice of distilling gin. Once you have the basics down, you get to choose your own botanicals -- juniper, of course, but also lots of other aromatic, delicious seeds, flowers, spices, roots, citrus peels and such -- and then you distill your own bottle of gin.

My gin recipe.
The City of London Distillery was the first to operate in the City in two hundred years. They distill five varieties of gin and also offer several experiences including classes and tastings. 

I entered the distillery by going down a couple flights of stairs from street level into their bar and lounge area. Michael greeted me with a gin & tonic. I had the good fortune to be the only pupil in my class so I got all of Michael's attention. He was very patient answering my myriad questions. He gave me some guidelines for selecting my botanicals, and gave me time to sniff and select and weigh and measure.  

The small pot stills are named
for the seven dwarves. 
Then it was on to the still room. It took about half an hour for the still to reach the right temperature and distill about 450 ml of gin that had twice the alcohol by volume we needed. Michael diluted the gin with the proper amount of filtered water, then we sealed the bottle with cork and wax, and I affixed my custom label to the bottle. Finally Michael packed my very own bottle of gin into a padded carrier for its journey to the US. 

If you're interested in history, in gin, or just want a unique London experience I highly recommend a visit to The City of London Distillery.

The distillery, as I mentioned, is in the City. This is a square mile in the center of London that's the primary financial district. St. Paul's Cathedral is in the City, and so is the Central Criminal Court, affectionately called the Old Bailey. In this photo you can barely see the dome of the Old Bailey. Atop the dome is a golden statue of Justice. She's to the right of the crane. In one hand she's holding the scales to weigh evidence and in the other she's holding the sword of punishment. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the City and will return to it again during my trip.

Steps today: 8,350.

Vocabulary Word of the Day: Look Right. Because vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the street, it's important that you look to your right before you cross the street. At many complex intersections there are "Look Right" and "Look Left" reminders painted on the pavement to alert pedestrians to the direction from which vehicular traffic is coming. 

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