In the highly competitive world of craft gins, it’s no longer enough that a new boutique distillery can impress with increasingly baffling botanicals and the legacy of its name. Though, saying that, there’s a lot to be said for Berkeley Square gin on both those counts.
Its botanicals – simply, lavender, sage, kaffir lime and basil – are infused through a bouquet garni during its distillation rather than introduced layer-on-layer in a traditional still. It’s designed to preserve the herbs’ essential oils giving a smoothness to the characteristic bitterness of a London dry.
But botanicals and distillation aside, you’d be hard pressed to think that a gin called Berkeley Square were anything other than ultra-premium. And for that very reason, the new battleground of boutique gins – that of events and pop-ups – means that with its new residency at Morton’s it can leave most competition in its wake. There are few places you would want to go for a martini than a private members’ club in the heart of Mayfair.
Throughout September, they’ve taken over the club’s ground floor with ‘Gintessential’ (see what they did there?), transforming the space into a sleek botanical Mayfair haven, overlooking the square, oozing elegance and style as effortlessly as the cocktails they’re serving.
Morton’s own mixologist, Constantino Armocida, has concocted a menu that adds an innovative spin on all the gin-based classics, from the martini to the negroni, and each named with a nod to its new neighbourhood. There’s The Nightingale, Benji the Bentley Boy, the Jeeves, and the dashing Le Mans Negroni – an inspired take given a twist with Aperol and Amaro Averna.
Feeling rakish for a Friday, I couldn’t refuse the Harry Flashman, a pimped version of the martinez (itself a precursor to the martini), with the Berkeley gin given a complimentary spin with Punt e Mes vermouth, Maraschino and rhubarb bitters. Settling back in a taught black leather armchair, staring out across the square at the Bentley showroom across the way, thoughts turned to what colour I might elect for my new Continental GT. Perchance to dream, eh?
As venues go for a post-office libation, for that pinnacle of elegance and sophistication, there are few alternatives to compete with a martini in Berkeley Square. One might even say that Gintessential is the…now, what’s the word…? It’ll come to me.
GINTESSENTIAL will be open to club members and the general public from the 5th September – 28th September, Monday to Friday from 5.30pm onwards at Morton’s, 28 Berkeley Square. Guests are encouraged to make table reservations by contacting Morton’s on 020 7499 0363.