How Merchant House Is Stirring Up the Square Mile

Three hundred years ago in the City of London, people were mostly drunk. By some accounts as many as one in three houses had a still, producing some pretty nasty gin to satiate the average Londoner’s 14 gallon – yes, you read right. Yes, that includes women and children – a year habit. Nowadays one…
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Sake and Spice at Moti Mahal, Covent Garden

Ruby Murray, the Northern Irish popular singer who gave her name to rhyming slang’s favourite cuisine, was herself a big drinker. But probably not this classy. ‘A journey along the Grand Trunk Road is a bewildering mix of the past and present, tripping back and forth between the mundane and the momentous,’ writes Tim Smith…
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All Mouth And Some Trousers: The Glenlivet 50 Year Old

Ten quid. What’ll it buy you? A starter in an OK restaurant. A decent martini. One day’s congestion charge in London. A 72-inch inflatable shark. Back in 1824, it would buy you a license from London to distil Scotch whisky, so a Mr George Smith decided to skip his average starter, forgo any inflatables and become…
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Less Blah, More Balblair: Why keeping it vintage gives this little distillery its edge

Having inhaled the estery fumes of practically every still house for each category of spirit several times over, I was surprised to realise that I had never once passed the threshold of a Scottish distillery, despite their relative proximity to myself in person as well a having somewhat of a soft spot for the spirit in question. As a…
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Licence Tequila

Note that the pun “Shoot Tequila” was not chosen as the headline for this article on tequila. And for good reason. Please trust your bar person. These chaps and lasses spend most of their waking hours around alcohol, so unless you have the (thankfully, increasingly slim) misfortune to be served by an obtuse ‘tender, they’ll…
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Singapore Slings

What is it about bars being incapable of serving their signature cocktail (or the one they were key in popularising) to an acceptable standard? Mojitos at Hemingway haunt, La Bodeguita? Old measly mint and mean rum portions. Daiquiris at Florodita ‘Cradle of the Daiquiri’, in Havana? Blended slush. Old Fashioned’s at the Pendennis Club in…
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Tsars In Their Eyes

Just off the breathtaking Piazza Popolo is the elegant yet contemporary Hotel de Russie. Ask any Roman in the know. This is the place they go to for the all important aperitivo hour and to mingle with Hollywood A-listers. I was slightly disappointed to not be able to get a room on a Saturday, only…
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