Gin o’clock ~ COLD Bar, Blackfriars

The first time I tried a gin and tonic I hated it. To my younger self it seemed bitter, sharp and dry, and I thought why would anyone drink this with Southern Comfort and Coke on offer? Then something happened, I went past my mid twenties and despite my insanely sweet tooth I started to get a taste for evening G&Ts. It’s never too difficult to get your hands on a good gin in London as it’s well-known for producing fine drinks in independent distilleries, but I’ll admit (like many other drinks I enjoy) I’ve never asked much about it.

So when YPlan invited me down to an event at the City of London Distillery for a Gin Masterclass I was keen to get involved and find out more. Last week my friend Ashley and I made our way to Blackfriars and went straight to the bar for a much needed drink to unwind from a day in the office.


Although there are 100s of gins to choose from here, we started with a G&T made with COLD’s very own gin – City of London Dry Gin.


It slipped down very nicely whilst we caught up on our weeks and enjoyed the relaxed surroundings. Gin artefacts decorate soft green walls and there are plenty of sofas and stools to grab so you can rest your feet. There’s also plenty of space to stand if you prefer to enjoy your evening drinks that way.


Once we’d finished our G&Ts we joined the masterclass, its aim was to educate us with the history of gin and I think it was pretty successful! Did you know that gin is a juniper flavoured spirit which orginated in Holland? And that the term “Dutch courage” comes from the courage that British soldiers felt this spirit (known as Genever) gave them on the battlefield during the Eighty Years War? Handy facts for the next pub quiz!

We were educated by four different gin experts, each telling us a different story throughout the spirit’s history whilst we sipped on a sample. We were taken through its origins, its development in London, to some successful marketing which has helped make it a staple drink in bars and homes across Britain.


I’m sure you’ll recognise this brand! But did you know that Hendricks was only launched in 1999?! That old fashioned bottle definitely had me fooled for something with a much longer history.

The last part of the masterclass talked about all of the different flavours being developed by independent distilleries, aptly positioned in front of their own glistening distillery.


Of course after all that talk of gin we felt that we should head back to the bar and try something a little different. I ordered Warner Edwards Elderflower Gin and Ashley ordered Gin Mare,


Possibly the nicest (and prettiest) gin and tonic I’ve ever had.

If you’re struggling to choose from the wide range available Alfie is there to help.


He claims not to like gin but he sure knows a lot about it, and is pretty good at mixing up a drink you’re guaranteed to enjoy.

You’ll discover that all of the barmen are experts on gin here and it was great fun propped up at the bar watching them mix drinks and cocktails.


Of course it wouldn’t have been a thorough review if we hadn’t have tried a cocktail from the menu…


A fun, yet educational evening of gin! They are certainly passionate about the spirit at COLD so if you like to sip on a good G&T these days then I highly recommend you get down there for a drink. You can find it on Bridle Lane which is near Blackfriars and City Thameslink.

Do you enjoy a good gin o’clock? Do you have a favourite gin?

YPlan kindly offered complementary tickets to the event which included one G&T each.  As ever all opinions are my own. (Don’t forget to drink responsibly.)

You can find my review of the YPlan app and what you can discover on it here.


  1. October 29, 2013 / 9:49 pm

    I’ve tried to like G&T’s but I just can’t get past that quinine flavour!

    • Ashley
      October 29, 2013 / 11:13 pm

      Ahh, try the Gin Mare with cardamom tonic @ COLD. You’ll forget all about quinine.

  2. November 3, 2013 / 9:40 pm

    Gin has been my favourite spirit for years. Have you been to the Ginstitute at Portobello Star in Notting Hill where you can mix your own?!! Best. Place. Ever.

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      November 5, 2013 / 10:18 am

      Oh I haven’t been to Ginstitute but it sounds like fun! Thanks for sharing, will have to check it out! 🙂