Spirit of the Week: East London Liquor Company Barbican London Dry Gin

Inspired by the building’s brutalist architecture, East London Liquor Company has launched Barbican London Dry Gin, a new collaboration featuring a Barbican-designed label and new bottle. Exclusively available from the Barbican Shop (at the Barbican Centre) and the Barbican’s Martini Bar, East London Liquor Company’s repackaged flagship, award-winning London Dry Gin is available now (RRP £35, 70cl).

On this new collaboration, Tom Hills, Head Distiller at East London Liquor Company, said: “I can remember my first visit to the Barbican and being in awe of the structure and brutalism around me. More recently, the Barbican’s progressive arts programming has been a steadfast source of inspiration and a reminder of the merits of wholehearted commitment to interdisciplinary innovation. I want Barbican Gin to convey that same boldness with fresh citrus and the spice of the cubeb berries and cardamom. I can think of no better way to enjoy everything that the Barbican has to offer than with a gin cocktail in hand.”

Founded by Alex Wolpert, East London Liquor Company acquired a former glue factory in Bow Wharf, on the corner of Victoria Park, in 2013 and commenced distilling in 2014, producing and importing a range of quality spirits including three gins (plus a barrel-aged gin), vodka, rum and whisky. On launching, the company was the first distillery to operate from East London since whisky was last produced at the Lea Valley Distillery over 100 years ago. A few years on, the site now boasts a distillery cocktail bar, an Italian-inspired restaurant and bottle shop showcasing some of the best spirits from around the world. A minimum of 12,000 bottles of spirit are produced per-month, exported to 22 markets.

Distilled on site, East London Liquor Company’s flagship gin is distilled using the finest 100 per cent British wheat spirit infused with fresh lemon and grapefruit peel, angelica root, coriander, juniper berries, cubeb berries and cardamom. Produced in the distillery’s custom-designed and hand-built Arnold Holstein copper stills, using a one shot method, the flagship gin is intended to have a relatively traditional profile.

Crystal clear in the glass, Barbican London Dry Gin opens with aromas of soft lemon and prominent, oily juniper; eventually joined by some lemon and grapefruit rind, slightly sweet angelica, bold cardamom and a whiff of green olives. When sipped neat what’s first noticeable is the gin’s creamy mouthfeel and exceptional smoothness. Cardamom’s presence is far less pronounced than the bouquet suggests, yet coriander prevails alongside further earthy juniper, pink grapefruit and black pepper with a feint whisper of pine which continues on the refreshing, juniper-forward finish with pleasing oily texture. An exceptional benchmark example of its respective style.  

To celebrate the launch of East London Liquor Company’s Barbican London Dry Gin and the highlight the flavour, the team at the Barbican’s Martini Bar has created a Signature Barbican Gin cocktail pairing the Barbican London Dry Gin with elderflower liqueur, apple and lemon juice, and fresh ginger to release the bold, fresh flavours of the gin. The cocktail will be available at the Martini Bar on the first floor of the Barbican Centre throughout spring and summer.

Jo Davis, Head of Retail at the Barbican, said: “London has always been associated with gin, and with a gin renaissance happening over the last few years it was only right that we should introduce it to the shelves at the Barbican Shop! We were excited to learn about East London Liquor Company who, located almost on our doorstep in Mile End, has brought gin distilling back to London’s East End after more than a century. And we’re even happier to have been able to partner with ELLC to create a unique product featuring their signature London Dry Gin, the sales of which all go towards supporting the Barbican.”

East London Liquor Company Barbican London Dry Gin is available from the Barbican Shop at the Barbican Centre, £35, 70cl. Further information on East London Liquor Company can be found here.

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