Every Monday at 6.30pm a different producer of gin discreetly takes over the sophisticated Charlotte’s W4 Bar area. Gin School is there to educate people in the art of making their gin, to talk of heritage and to let people sample their product.
The week we visited Gin School was being run by Lewis from Haymans Gin.
As we arrived a Charlotte’s W4, which is near Chiswick High Road and metres from Turnham Green Tube, we were greeted warmly at the door. Although we arrived at 6.35pm the place was already full and buzzing but we were swiftly found a space at the bar and a seat and everything was done to make us feel welcome. This was not special treatment, they were not aware that I was doing a blog, the service is impeccable and very friendly.
Charlotte’s W4 is a friendly, ambient restaurant. Their are seats around the bar area or small booths with a larger restaurant area behind. Although it was a Monday, both were full. The food has a French theme and the drinks range from fine wines to cocktails.
Gin School had already started as we arrived and Lewis was already doing the rounds in the bar area, talking to everyone passionately about Haymans Gin. I thought it would be a louder, more ‘in your face’ affair but the execution of gin school fitted in well with the atmosphere and surrounding of Charlotte’s W4. Very discreet and civilised with the Lewis going around talking to smaller groups, a much more personal touch.
We tried Haymans Old Tom Gin and the Gin Liquer.
Haymans is a Uk company and was known as Beefeater Gin until 1987, it is still run by the Hayman family which makes them the longest family gin distilling company in England.
Old Tom Gin is a style of sweet gin, that put the Tom into Tom Collins and is used in other cocktails. Gin originally became sweetened as it used to be the drink of the poor and contained nasty ingredients such as Sulphuric Acid so sugar was used to disguise the taste.
Haymans Gin Liquer is harder to get hold of, and is the worlds first gin liquor. It was just delicious and tasted thick and fruity. It should be served with oranges or grapefruit.
After the tasting, bare in mind you are drinking neat gin so you will feel suitably merry, you will then be given a gin and tonic or a martini using the gin.
Although gin school is free you will feel that you need to buy at least one drink, especially as you are sitting at the bar, but you will want to try one of the delicious cocktails mixed in front of you by the dapper and efficient bar staff. So for £20, including a tip, we spent 2 hours having a cocktail each, 2 large gin samples, a talk about gin, and a gin and tonic.
At gin school there were a few couples but also larger groups of ladies having a girly evening. It is a very sophisticated affair and a very enjoyable. It seemed some people regularly come and take advantage of this brilliant night.
Charlotte‘s W4 – 6 Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1QP
Gin School – Every Monday, 6.30pm. Get there early to get a seat!