Offered a gin experience and my initial reaction was no thank you I am more of a wine buff, however I would have been so wrong to miss out on this opportunity.
Arriving at The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel, we were greeted by the warm friendly team whose job it is to make sure this is an experience you won’t forget and perhaps make a few converts on the way.
Your experience starts with an introduction to your waiter for the day, in our case it was Edgar, the resident mixologist. He explains how this will work: you will choose one of four tasting menus each include three gins based on your preference, his knowledge and expertise help you make the right choice. Who would have known there were so many to choose from and not a Gordon’s in sight. In addition to the gin there is a perfectly matched tonic, and again so many different flavours between them.
Choice made, your glass board arrives with 3 x 30ml bottles of Gin surrounded by various herbs and spices used in the distillation process. My first choice, from the Premium Tasting menu (£25), was No.3 London Gin named after 3 St James’s Place where this is made, matched with a Fentiman’s tonic to make for a lovely dry citrus burst of flavour in your mouth. Then followed my personal favourite Martin Miller’s gin and Fever Tree tonic with strawberries and crushed pepper making it a summer delight. Finally, I tried Monkey 47 aptly named as there are 47 different fruits, herbs and spices used in the distillation accompanied by my favourite tonic called 1724 which also has its own story. As you work your way through your chosen gins each one is accompanied with little treats to add to the wow factor – edible flowers, juniper berries and pepper (who would have thought?).
Just when you think your experience could not get better the waiter arrives with plates of tasty treats to enjoy. My favourite was the lovely asparagus on a spoon accompanied by salmon. My husband would have loved the baby cheese on toast – shame he was at home missing out on the whole fabulous experience.
Throughout our tasting session John, the resident pianist, played some old favourites on the piano adding to the atmosphere.
I arrived at the Chesterfield a ‘gin virgin’ and left as a convert and am already looking forward to my next visit. You never know I may even take my husband.
By Lynda Litster
The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel, 35 Charles Street, London W1J 5EB 02074912622 www.chesterfieldmayfair.com