East London Liquor Company London Gin Review

So East London Liquor Dry Gin is apparently made somewhere near Victoria Park, which is not so far from where Amy used to frolic and kick her heels until I gentrified her with my ludicrous Putney ways. Yes, Amy used to be cool until I appeared in her life, like a branch of Jojo Maman Bébé opening its doors in a street of trendy record shops and fashion boutiques.

Anyhow. The East London Liquor Company makes a range of gins, another of which I have lingering in my gin cupboard awaiting review. This, their ‘standard’ London Dry Gin, is the lower priced option, weighing in at about 20 quid.

Twenty quid well spent? Let’s see, shall we?

East London Liquor Co. Gin & Tonic

So this works quite nicely. I’d put East London Liquor Company’s London Dry Gin in the spicy category, with the dominant flavour to my taste buds being cardamom — though there’s pepper, allspice and aniseed hanging around in the background like recalcitrant teenagers at their parents’ dinner party. We have a decent dose of juniper, plus lemon to keep it balanced. Pretty nice, assuming you like cardamom. By dint of fate or circumstance, I’ve found myself tasting a bunch of cardamommy gins lately (Hidden Curiosities and Norwich Gin are two more) and I will stick my scrawny old neck out and say that — in my humble — cardamom is a flavour that can become a little wearisome to excess. It’s very dominant, and as a result, I’d keep this family of gins as an occasional rather than staple boozy pleasure.

Of course if you’re the kind of macho champion who munches through a pot of cardamom pods for breakfast, you’ll disagree. Come at me, you freak.

Verdict: Gulp it!
G&T Grade: B

ELLC London Gin Martini

First, Duke’s Hotel style. Again, it’s spice-led. Cardamom first, then the piney juniper backed by pepper. There’s a general sense of sweetness and roundness, even though the initial kick is fairly strong and there’s a bit of booze burn. I like this gin with a twist rather than an olive, as I think you want to raise the citrus profile a little to balance the spice.

In classic martini it is still damn strong and assertive. Better, I think, with the meltwater influence which softens it a little. The flavours blend more, and it certainly still has punch. That said, the Dukes-style martini is more zingy and tingly, sends that boozy jolt up yer nose. So I suppose it’s a question of what you want.

Verdict: Gulp it!
Martini Grade: B

ELLC London Dry Gin Negroni

I think the cardamom gubbins works particularly well in a negroni, giving it a pleasant additional warmth and blending rather well with the vermouth (I’m using 50/50 Dolin and Punt é Mes). I’m not normally an advocate of including premium gins in the negroni, as I think you struggle to get much of the spirit’s complexity when it’s rubbing up against such burly bedfellows as Campari and Vermouth, so a cheaper gin such as this is a nice option.

Verdict: Gulp it!
Negroni Grade: B+

In Summary…

East London Liquor Gin bottle label

So that salvo of ratings suggests a gin that’s very good but not quite great — falling short of the coveted ‘Neck it!’ award in any category. But, again, bear in mind this gin’s lower-than-many price, on which basis I think it’s pretty damn commendable. Question is, I suppose, what the East London natives would make of it, rather than some one-time SW15 posho like myself. I would ask Amy her view, but she’s too busy on the Jojo Maman Bébé website…

(Oh god, what have I done?)

You can buy East London Liquor Company’s London Dry Gin at Master of Malt, where it’s normally £21.95 but currently reduced to £19.95.