Mr Fogg’s G&T Serves
Nestled snugly in the heart of London’s Theatreland lies a boozer quite like no other. On the street, it’s 2016; the same four coffee shops occupy every corner and everyone is doing the zombie shuffle, navigating the busy streets whilst staring, transfixed, at their phones. Italian, Jamaican and Indian food smells rush out to greet the nose and the honk of cars and rumble of trains fill every second.
Forego the front door of Mr Fogg’s Tavern on the corner of St Martin’s lane and creep round the building towards the side door. Be ready, the doorbell is a time machine. As soon as those chimes ring out, Victorian England begins to rush in. A moustachioed man in a suit and a bowler hat bellows from the window. “Hello, how are you?”
You climb the crooked stairs and are birthed into a small room just crammed with gin. It’s an impressive selection – one that is curated with both love and curiosity. It’s not the largest collection in London, but it’s certainly one of the most discerning, with gins selected not just for taste but for their uniqueness.
From this room you enter the parlour – it’s a cluttered, chaotic space, filled with chaise longues, ornate tables and the sort of paintings that fill up charity shops all across the country. There is a devilish amount of detail here, but just before sensory overload takes hold, the gin menu is slid across the table. It’s a big, beautiful thing.
We thought it our Gin Foundry duty to test the staff, so rather than rifle through the pages, we made requests based on our mood at the time, be that sweet and spicy, floral, herbal or citrussy. The drinks we got were mostly perfect fits, so we thought we’d get in touch with Mr Fogg’s bartender Jacek to ask him what their logic is behind finding the right garnish.
Spring Méditerranée with Fever Tree Mediterannean Tonic Water
Paired with: rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, dehydrated lemon and juniper berries.
Jacek: This is a particularly herbal gin, so fresh herbs like rosemary, lemon thyme and sage make it a very refreshing and fragrant G&T.
Darnley’s View Spiced Gin with Dr Pollidori’s Dry Tonic Water
Paired with: dehydrated lime, ginger, cardamom pods, cinnamon and juniper berries.
Jacek: This is a spicy, yet quite sweet gin. Dr Polidori’s Dry Tonic is a perfect match as it balances the sweetness in the gin, while cardamom, ginger and cinnamon underline the spicy notes.
Bobby’s Schiedam Dried Gin with 6 o’Clock Indian Tonic Water
Paired with: dehydrated lemon, lemongrass, cardamom pods and juniper berries.
Jacek: I like to use 6 ‘Clock, it’s dry but very clean and lets the gin speak. Bobby’s is more spicy than citrusy, but with lemon, lemongrass and cardamom as a garnish it turns into a very citrusy and refreshing G&T.
Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin with 1905 Fentimans Herbal Tonic
Paired with: dehydrated orange, rose petals and ginger.
Jacek: This is great gin for people who like it sweet and fruity. 1905 Fentiman’s Tonic is surprisingly spicy, but makes a perfect match. I chose ginger to spice it up and rose petals to give more fragrance to the whole composition.
The latter drink is a good example of what high end bars are doing with gin at the moment – they take a spirit and twist it to their advantage, using garnishes to create grand transformations, such as sweet into spicy.
Dual garnishes are starting to crop up in more and more bars, but we’re quite taken by Mr Fogg’s brash quadruple attempts. Sure, it’s a little over the top on occasions and sometimes the underlying gin is a moot point, but this is a bar built upon a real love of gin that channels that Victorian sense of adventure by playing around with spirits and sourcing gins that range from the weird to the wonderful.
The bar has much improved since it’s initial launch, with increasingly clued up bar staff who understand a great deal about the gins they’re serving – information they are implementing in their serve suggestions and pairings. If you’re in Soho, it’s definitely worth swinging by for a pitstop!
We’d love to hear your preferred garnish suggestions too, so get Tweeting @ginfoundry to let us know your favourite combinations.
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