London is the center of the gin revolution and as such has incubated a whole heap of new distilleries in recent years. Having visited a lot of these gin distilleries myself, from Sipsmith’s to East London Liquor, City of London Distillery and Doghouse, it’s time to write this post: London Gin Distilleries you need to visit.
*Full disclosure: some of my visits to the distilleries were as part of press events or direct invitations from the distilleries, these are clearly marked, the rest I visited as a paying member of the public*
London Gin Distilleries you need to visit
This list is all the distilleries in London that I’ve visited, so it will grow as I manage to visit more. I’ve also tried to include all distilleries that make their own gin in this list. However some distilleries you can visit don’t necessarily make their gin onsite; and only a handful make their own neutral grain (or base) spirit. With the current COVID-19 crisis don’t forget to check that they are open and book ahead where possible!
I’ve organised this post into the different areas of London:
- Gin distilleries in West London
- City of London gin distillery (there’s only really one in the City of London!)
- Gin distilleries in North London
- Gin distilleries in South London
- Gin distilleries in East London
West London distilleries:
Sipsmiths – Chiswick, West London [invited for a second visit]
Sipsmiths is credited with being the first traditional copper distillery in London since 1820. They successfully lobbied the government to get a distilling license to for smaller quantities and to clarify the old laws (the Gin Act of 1751). Sipsmith do tours outside of working hours at their distillery in Chiswick. These include the history of gin, the history of Sipsmith, an introduction to their stills and the best bit – sampling of their products.
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⭐️ I C O N I C ⭐️ . Ad – gifted experience. Today’s #ginadaymay is #iconic so I’ve chosen @sipsmith – as the company that got the first license to distill in London since 1820 (close to 200 years) you could credit them for kickstarting today’s craft gin distilling boom – I’d say that’s pretty iconic! . ❓which gin brand is iconic to you❓ . #whatskatiedoingblog #distillery #sipsmith #sipsmithgin #ginspiration #❤️gin #ginlush #gintasting #gintime #ginstagram #ginforthewin #ginformation #ginoclock #gintastic #whynotgin #imbibegram #imbibe #drinkstagram #drinkup #booze #feedfeed
Read more on my distillery tour of Sipmith here:
Find Sipsmith on Cranbrook Road, Chiswick:
Portobello Road Gin – The Ginstitute, West London
Whilst you can visit Portbello Road Gin’s home – The Distillery – to taste their gins, you can also visit the Ginstitute underneath to learn more about gin and make your own. I did this with a group of friends as a birthday treat a few years ago. They take you through the history of gin and cocktails (tasting required) and then you get to play with the different botanicals. Once you’ve sniffed and tasted them you then decide which botanicals you want in your gin. The botanicals are distilled as single botanical distillates that are then blended together to get your final recipe. So no hands on distillation in this experience.
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What’s Katie Drinking?! Her own gin! ? Yes that’s right I made a gin! OK so I didn’t distill it but I had a fab time @distilleryldn Ginstitute blending my own bespoke gin and I’m glad to report that it’s a lot more successful than my first attempt at a kaffir lime gin! ? . ❓If you could make your own drink what would you make ❓ . #gin #ginstitute #thedistillery #makeyourowngin #ginandtonic #ginfornegroni #portobelloroad #nottinghill #gintonic #westlondon #londonbylondoners #mysecretlondon #whatskatiedrinking
As well as the drinks during the experience you will take away a full bottle of your own bespoke gin and a bottle of Portobello Road gin.
Find the Ginstitute in the basement of Portobello Road Gin:
City of London distilleries:
City of London Distillery, City of London [invited for a second visit]
This is the only distillery actually within the confines of the City of London. City of London Distillery (also known as COLD) was one of the first distilleries I visited when we still had meetings of the Gin club with a Reading Problem (our book club swiftly turned into a gin club). I’ve since been back and seen how they’ve adapted to tours, tastings and even ‘make your own gin’ experiences. The range has expanded considerably in the last few years, with lots of innovative, but authentic new gins. The best bit is their cocktail bar, making great variations on classic cocktails using their products.
Read about visiting COLD here:
I’m due a return visit to check out their revamped bar soon, so watch this space for an update.
Find City of London on Bride Lane:
North London distilleries:
Sacred, Highgate, North London [invite]
Sacred gin was created 10 years ago in Ian and Hillary’s kitchen in Highgate, North London. Sacred is made using vacuum distillation, which means a lower temperature distillation, so it’s safer to have in your house! Ian distills the organic botanicals after macerating them in the base spirit (English wheat spirit) for 4-6 weeks to fully extract the aromas and flavours. He then blends these together to make Sacred gins. They have a wide range of gin flavours, featuring different key botanicals, which a fascinating to taste to see how these combine in other gins. Sacred also make award winning Vermouth, their Rosehip Cup and Whisky.
Read more about tasting the Sacred Gin range here:
Since Sacred started they’ve moved a couple of times, first to The Star pub in Highgate and recently to their new premises at 50 Highgate High Street:
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Ta-da! We love our fresh new look courtesy of the super talented @theluminorsignco who were incredibly patient with us, fantastic to work with, and did a wonderful job of painting and guilding our brand new shop signage. On a scale of 10 to 10, how much do you love it? We’re thrilled with it! There’s still work taking place at Sacred HQ and soon we’ll have the stills bubbling away, as well as hosting tasting evenings and cocktail masterclasses. Sign up to our newsletter on our website (link in bio) to be kept up to date, and in the meantime come and visit us at 50 Highgate High Street and admire our beautiful new sign and taste our beautiful products ?
Currently the Sacred Shop is open and they are doing tastings (subject to COVID restrictions).
Get an idea of what to expect at the new Sacred shop here:
Find Sacred on Highgate High Street:
Half Hitch – Camden, North London
Tucked away in Camden Market is Half Hitch micro-distillery. As a local Camden girl, I first tried Half Hitch at a gin tasting at the Oliver Conquest gin pub in 2014.
Mark Holdsworth had started making Half Hitch in the vaults under Camden Lock Market. However he now has premises at ground level in the market itself, and that’s where I did a gin tour of Camden. We learnt all about the glorious gin history of Camden as well as trying the gin and learning more about the general history of gin.
The tour was a special event put on for London Cocktail Week, however the micro-distillery is open most days to visit and taste the gin in Camden Lock Market.
Find Half Hitch in the market West Yard (near the canal and food stalls):
South London distilleries:
Hayman’s – Balham, South London [invited]
Hayman’s is one of the gin distilling dynasties. They still make gin using the same family recipes from 150 years ago. Using the best botanicals, their two day gin making process includes a whole day of infusing the botanicals in the base spirit to allow the full natural flavours to come through, before distilling. Whilst they have the background of history and tradition, they are also constantly innovating. This has led to Hayman’s Gently Rested gin, Hayman’s Hopped Gin and Hayman’s Small Gin. The later is a genius idea to pack flavour into a smaller amount of liquid – so less alcohol & calories, but same flavour (it’s really tricky to tell apart from their London Dry gin!)
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#ginadaymay day 2 is #ginandtonic . I wanted to highlight these highball glasses from @haymansgin [#gifted] which have been designed not only to be beautiful, but also the perfect serve for their gin and tonic. With ice they create space for just the right amount of tonic on top of the gin. . I also wanted to highlight @haymansgin small gin – created to provide a full flavour gin and tonic with a third of the amount of alcohol, it’s a twist on the perfect gin and tonic and to be frank a lifesaver these boozy lockdown days ? . #whatskatiedoing #fiveoclockgin #ginoclock #ginadaymay2020 #haymanssmallgin #haymansgin #ginandtonic #gintonic #❤️gin #gintime #gintasting #perfectserve #ginspiration #lowalcoholserve
Distillery tours and tastings are £25 and include a Hayman’s London Dry gin and tonic, tutored tasting of the London Dry, Old Tom and Sloe gins, an in depth tour of the distillery & last 75 minutes.
Find Hayman’s on Weir Road, a 10 minute walk from Balham tube:
Doghouse Distillery – Battersea, South London [invite to public event]
I visited Doghouse Distillery with Sandra (aka The Juniper Chick) in Summer 2018, when they held their inaugural Dog Dayz open day. Sandra and I enjoyed exploring the distillery and tasting the gin, as well as their top cocktails. The big thing (literally!) for Doghouse is that they make their own neutral grain spirit, i.e. the base of their vodka and gin. You can see this immediately when you visit, as the distillery is very tall in order to accommodate the large rectifying column, needed to distill the base spirit to the required 96% ABV. They then make their other spirits from this base.
In addition to the distilled products they make a great Sloe and Damson Gins. These are made by macerating the sloes/damsons in their Renegade Gin and are delicious!
They are not currently running any of their popular Dog Dayz Mini Fests due to COVID, but I’m sure this will change in the future.
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We know you are probably seeing this photo and hoping it is an announcement that we will be having one of our DogDayz MiniFest’s… ?? BUT very sadly we have made the call to hold off until next year ? There are a lot of extra rules and regulations we would need to follow thanks to Covid-19 ☹️ and we are just too flat out making new spirits, hiring new team members and working out how to survive what is already and will be one of the hardest markets in the coming year(s). ? We also don’t think that having table service and social distancing will do DogDayz justice.. So – we will hold off until next Spring and hope that things are a whole lot different! ? And in the meantime we are going to offer some awesome virtual events and tours and tastings for smaller groups… ?? so watch this space for news on all of that very soon! ❤️
I’d highly recommend you go along and visit the distillery – sign up on their mailing list to be the first to get details on how to visit the distillery.
Doghouse is a short walk from Queenstown Road station & near Battersea Park.
Beefeater Distillery – Oval, South London [Invite]
The Beefeater Distillery at Montford Place is considered the ‘Home of Gin’ and they have a fabulous set up for visitors. The distillery tour includes a fab interactive* presentation on the history of gin, the history of Beefeater and also some background on the progress of cocktails over the ages.
*some of the interactive things are out of commission under current COVID rules. We also had to wear masks during the tour – excepting the tasting which was socially distanced – and group numbers are limited.
The Beefeater distillery tour and tasting is £16 and takes 1.5 hours.
Find Beefeater Gin Distillery a short walk from Vauxhall or Oval tube stations:
Graveney Gin – Tooting, South London
A confession, I’ve not actually made it to Graveney Gin’s nano distillery in Tooting yet…. However I’ve heard lots about it from distiller Victoria, a fellow ex-banker. She makes Graveney gin with organic ingredients in a 30 litre pot still. Victoria named her gin after the area she was living in when she created it in her kitchen. See the full picture of Graveney Gin’s story:
As well as making very small batches, Graveney have a nano (aka very small) bar in Tooting Market that you can visit to try the gins and have a cocktail or two. Graveney gin is also altruistic – 10% of profits are donated to charity Gearing up for Gorillas. So you are really doing good when drinking Graveney gin!
They are open from Thursday to Sunday 2-6pm with late nights Thursday-Saturday. Their newly launched gin tasting experiences are every Thursday. The tasting covers Graveney gin and their newer variations, Grove Fever and Figges Marsh. You’ll get a detailed background of the three gins and their very different profiles, history of their names, and botanicals that make up these Organic gins; three pairing tonics and garnishes; and you walk away with a 100ml bottle of Graveney Gin to take home or keep in your handbag for those mother ruin occasions…. The experience will be an hour-long with 30 mins to sit back and enjoy the rest of the session.
Find Graveney Gin in Tooting Market just off the High Street:
East London distilleries:
58 Gin – Haggerston, East London [invited]
58 gin moved into their new, much larger premises in the Summer of 2019. This means that they now have the space for a bar and a whole area to make your own gin, which is what I did.
The three hour class includes Fifty Eight gin tasting, 4 drinks, nibbles and the history of gin. Your guide also helps you with creating your own gin on their mini stills. You even get to name, label and wax your own bottle! A lot of fun and a great experience.
Find 58 Gin literally under the London Overground station at Haggerston:
East London Liquor Company – Hackney, East London
I visited East London Liquor Company or ELLC (what is it with these abbreviations?!) a couple of times. The first was on the Gin Journey, where we had a tour and some tastings.
ELLC make a great all-rounder gin, their London Dry. This is priced to be your day to day gin, but has great juniper led flavour and is super versatile. For £21.50 a bottle it’s a bargain! You may also like their more premium range, batch 1 and batch 2. The herbaceous notes in batch 2 make this my favourite of the two premium gins, but I still can’t get over the value of the London Dry!
The second visit I made to ELLC was for a an event with Zomato and FeverTree, which also meant I had to get creative!
Since then ELLC have been creating themselves, with loads of new products being launched – including their whisky, rum, vodka and even Ready to Drink cans:
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#gifted ❓have you been enjoying the sun in the park this week❓ . I know we now have rain – which should be watering the gardens and cooling everything down – but the hot weather was nice while it lasted! . And the perfect portable drink for the park is a gin in a tin – or ready to drink can – like these new ones from @eastlondonliquorcompany. . I was gifted this grapefruit gin and tonic one with my tasting kit for Wednesday’s @sippingrooms event with @eastlondonliquorcompany – and it was never going to last til next week ? . A great refreshing gin in a tin – plus if you aren’t a gin person then you can’t also check out their rum, vodka and low abv versions too. . You can still book to attend the event on Wednesday for free, or order a bottle of their London Dry gin to taste along – with a 10% discount and they’ll throw in a couple of cans – sweet! Go to @sippingrooms for the ticket link . #whatskatiedoingblog #funinthesun #parklife #gininatin #readytodrink #readytodrinkcocktails #eastlondonliquorcompany #eastlondonliquorcompanygin #eastlondonliquorco #onlinegintasting #virtualgintour #ginandtonic #ginspiration #londondrygin #summertime #picnicdrinks #ginandtonicpremix #ginandtonictime #ginandtonicinacan
ELLC are running a couple of different tour options to visit the distillery and taste their products:
- Distillery Tasting Experience (30 min) £15 – allows you to taste their 3 gins, vodka and rum
- Spirit of Gin Tour and Tasting (1.5 hours) £35 – this experience includes a tour of the distillery, a gin & tonic and tasting of six gins of varying styles, including the three ELLC gins.
- Whisky Lover’s Tour and Tasting (1.5 hours) £45 – This experience includes a tour of the brewery & distillery with an old-fashioned cocktail and a tasting of five whiskies from around the world.
Find East London Liquor Company near Victoria Park in Hackney:
Victory Gin – Exhale Tap Room Black Horse Road, (North) East London
Victory has moved around a bit. Starting off as micro-distillery in a bar, they have now moved to a brewery in Blackhorse Lane (near to Walthamstow). The distillery is behind a window at Exhale Tap Rooms, and whilst you can taste the products at the bar, you’d need to call ahead to arrange a visit to actually go into the distillery. This is because not only are they a small distillery, they are also a small team. Victory is run by husband and wife team Max and Máire Chater.
As well as their gin they make Victory Bitters, some special edition vermouth, vodka and also a selection of pre-mixed cocktails. This all stems from Max and Máire backgrounds in hospitality. They are also very passionate about sustainability – championing the refill pouch & back in the day they used to make all deliveries via bike!
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No filter needed! For the 7th and final day of #sevendaysofspritz I’ve gone with a lower abv serve using @victorylondonuk bitters – made in North East London ❤️ Victory bitters has less sugar than Campari and is delightfully complex. It uses organic biodynamic wine, a wheat spirit base and botanicals and fruits including gentian root, orange peel, apricot, rosemary, sage and fig ? Served with @fevertreemixers Blood Orange soda, this is a refreshing and balanced mix – not too sweet and not too bitter but a perfect appetite stimulant, great for pre-dinner drinks ? I hope you’ve enjoyed #sevendaysofspritz – don’t forget to browse the hashtag for more spritz inspiration – I’ll be publishing a blog on it very shortly – so check out the link in my bio in a hour! ❤️ #whatskatiedoingblog #victorylondon #victorybitters #victoryspritz #londonspritz #spritztime #spritz #spritzer #spritzlife #englishspritz #aperitivo #aperitif #bloodorangespritz #bloodorangesoda #fevertreesoda #lowabvspritz #lowabvcocktails #imbibe #imbibegram #fevertreemixers #homebartender #cocktailsforyou #simplespritz #twoingredientspritz
Even if you can’t visit the distillery proper, it’s good to pop in at the Tap Rooms to try the products, alongside the Exhale beers of course.
Find Victory a 10 minute walk from Blackhorse Road Tube station:
Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace – Walthamstow, East London
Based in an Industrial Estate the other side of Walthamstow from Victory, Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace is next door to God’s Own Junkyard and opposite Pillar’s Brewery. So there is lots going on in the area, making this a great day out (there are even food stands).
Mother’s Ruin started off with making infused gins and fruit liqueurs, but they invested in a new still (only a little one!) the other year and now distill their own gins too.
As well as the upstairs distillery, the downstairs store room they also have space for a bar which mixes up a selection of seasonal cocktails.
Mother’s Ruin is only open on the weekends, Friday night through to Sunday. Due to COVID all service at the Gin Palace is now seated, so best to book ahead (although you are welcome to walk in and see if there is a table free).
Find Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace at the Ravenswood Industrial Estate – only a short walk from Walthamstow Central Tube station of Wood Street Overground station:
Are there any London gin distilleries that I’ve missed? If so then let me know in the comments below!
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