If gin is your lifeblood, save this Notting Hill bar in your Citymapper favourites. On the first floor of The Distillery – home of Portobello Road Gin – GinTonica sits alongside The Ginstitute’s museum and blending room, cocktail bar The Resting Room and London’s first gin hotel. So much gin.
No surprise, then, that the gin menu is excitingly extensive, with spirits from Alicante, Brooklyn, Hamburg, Perth, Camden and more, all served in a traditional copa de balon. Some come nearly neat but with fancy garnishes. The classic Portobello Road Gin 171, nicely pimped up with juniper berries and pink grapefruit, was a fresh and fruity nod to a G&T, while the Gin Mare, this time topped with black pepper, basil and a twist of mango, was subtly sensational.
Those made with mixers are even more adventurous. The bar’s Gin & Tonic Plus drinks tread a line between your typical tipple and more flamboyant cocktails. Here, the house gin was served with Pamplemousse liqueur, hop bitters, grapefruit marmalade and Nordic Mist blue tonic water: a cerulean-coloured potion you’ll have to exercise serious willpower not to share on social media.
Stepping into Gintonica is like stepping inside 2017’s Pinterest account. It’s bright and bold, all botanical prints, copper accents, Scandi simplicity and terrariums. The space is intimate and the curved bar, home to a mountain of gin bottles, is the centrepiece.
Spirits are the star here but the food was solid. Boquerones – fresh, plump anchovies on crunchy sourdough – were peppy and zesty, while Ensalada Verdes Estupendos (translation: super greens salad) was creamy, crunchy and surprisingly full of flavour.
Non-gin drinkers are catered for with juniper-free beverages, beers, ciders and a decent wine list. But really, if you haven’t made a serious commitment to gin, you’d be better off picking a boozer that isn’t quite so enamoured with the lovely stuff.