The thirst for gin is showing no signs of slowing down, thanks to the craft gin movement and all the innovative blends. Bars on every corner can’t seem to mix G&Ts fast enough to keep up with the unquenchable demand.
“There is sophistication to gin as a beverage,” says Lemuel Abatayo, mixologist at Conrad Centennial Singapore. “Depending on how it is prepared and its provenance, each gin displays a subtle, underlying flavor that uniquely reflects these elements.”
Here, four destinations elevate the gin revival to new heights.
The cocktail scene on this island nation has skyrocketed to global renown. Leading the trend at Conrad Centennial Singapore means unleashing new programs for a clientele that has more spirits know-how than ever before.
For gin enthusiasts, the property’s team of mixologists uses fresh botanicals to create unforgettable infusions. For example, the Expression Gin, a signature blend for the hotel, is spiked with red peppercorn, lavender and coriander before mixing in calamansi, lemongrass and cinnamon for a slightly spicy but tropical buzz.
There’s also a fabulous Gin and Tonic masterclass, where the bartender will custom-build the G&T of your dreams from an inventory of 24 gins, nine different tonic waters, 14 bitters and 30 other garnishes.
When striking out to discover the country’s gin offerings, Abatayo recommends digging into the vast stock at Atlas and Native. The former is an opulent Art Deco grand lobby and bar that’s home to the world’s largest gin collection, totaling over 1,300 different bottles. Alternately, Native cocktail bar focuses on foraged ingredients and local spirits.
And when it comes to which producers to check out, Brass Lion Distillery—known for its beloved Butterfly Pea gin—gets the Abatayo seal of approval. “This distillery embodies fun,” he gushes. “They even have a laboratory where you can craft your own bottle of gin.”
Try your hand at a G&T masterclass at Conrad Centennial Singapore.
AFTERNOON GIN AND TEA
No city in the world has had a more powerful love affair with the juniper-based spirit than the English capital, which has often been credited as the originator of the beverage. In fact, the Gin Craze of the 18th century nearly devastated London.
Today, this relationship has matured, especially during afternoon tea at Conrad London St. James, where a partnership with the City of London Distillery is giving the time-honored tradition a tipsy twist. Inside the stylish Emmeline’s Lounge, expect your piping-hot tea and satisfying scones to come with myriad surprises.
For instance, bite into finger sandwiches layered with slender slices of cucumber pickled in sloe gin or pieces of salmon cured with the distillery’s zesty London Dry. Chase it all with tasters of gin-based cocktails like London Square Mile, which boasts City of London’s bold, slightly peppery Square Mile gin infused with Kabusecha tea.
Of course, the number of distilleries born in or around London can keep gin gurus very busy. Head to the bucolic town of Laverstoke, located two hours into the countryside, where the Bombay Sapphire Distillery awaits. The highlight? Two architectural glasshouses housing all the botanicals that are infused into their gins.
While strolling through lively SoHo, Raffaele Ruocco, director of food and beverage at Conrad London St. James, would point gin aficionados to London Gin Club, home to over 350 different gins. Says Ruocco, “It is a place for those dedicated gin drinkers to enjoy something exceptional in a very relaxed setting.”
Your G&T (Gin & Tea) awaits at Conrad London St. James.
Stateside, gin doesn’t have the fanbase enjoyed by the likes of bourbon, but in New York City, gin has a dynamic following with centuries-old roots.
“During the Prohibition era, gin was popular at many local speakeasies, as it is actually very easy to produce,” says Max Harris, Conrad New York Downtown’s director of food and beverage. “The spirit has gained more popularity recently, but it never went out of fashion here.”
At New York Distilling Company, one of the finest craft distillery operations in town, sign up for bespoke gin classes, such as “How to Drink Like Dorothy Parker,” which includes a tour, a martini-making course with distillery co-founder Allen Katz, and a bottle of the award-winning Dorothy Parker gin (named after the famous writer and martini lover) to take home.
Harris also recommends grabbing a cocktail at Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy-style bar that re-creates the clandestine “Prohibition-style experience with gin at the center.” Back at the hotel’s ATRIO Wine Bar & Restaurant, sidle up to the bar for a taste of Pretty in Pink, a lively, colorful tipple that shakes up Hendrick’s Gin with St. Germain, lemon, lychee and hibiscus.
Sip and savor your own New York-style gin cocktail at Conrad New York Downtown.
As the birthplace of the boozy gin highball, the Rickey in the 19th century, Washington, D.C., enjoys a long history with gin.
“The Rickey is an intense drink for intense people,” says Nick Hellberg, beverage director at Conrad Washington, DC. He adds that thanks to the district’s long-standing reputation as a steakhouse town, classic gin cocktails are still some of its most popular pours. After all, what mover-and-shaker or hard-working lobbyist can resist a martini lunch?
At the property’s two dining venues, Estuary and Summit, 22 different gins are available, including a rich Old Tom from local favorite New Columbia Distillers, as well as the limited edition bottling of Nolet’s Reserve Gin, one of the planet’s priciest.
At Estuary, keep up with the classic cocktail vibe and order the Centurion Negroni, a Tanqueray-based, rhubarb-forward take on the original that Hellberg says can be a particularly fragrant and cheerful holiday-season sip.
To explore more of Washington’s gin scene, head to Ivy City and tour the facilities of New Columbia Distillers, makers of the famous Green Hat Gin, a citrusy, spicy Navy-strength variety. The on-site bar prepares a particularly sharp martini that partners Green Hat with vermouths from Capitoline, the only D.C.-based vermouth. Try your gin martini with the Capitoline Dry for a more approachable, saffron-tinged cocktail that might remind you of the classic James Bond–inspired Vesper. Cheers!
Got a yen for gin? Then cozy up to the stylish bars at Conrad Washington, DC.