Forget your local boozer’s back garden – there’s a superior place to be seen supping your G&T this summer, welcome to the magical world of the gin garden.
Being a self-confessed gin-buff, I jumped at chance to visit The Tanqueray Garden at The Sipping Room in West India Quay. This new venture is collaboration between award-winning gin Tanqueray No.TEN and Drake & Morgan.
On the cusp of the Canary Wharf, West India Quay has a coastal (think city-on-sea!) vibe thanks to the riverside location and is home to a vibrant hub of restaurants and bars including The Sipping Room, a cool bar and restaurant in a former warehouse that maintains an intimate feel.
The Tanqueray Gin Garden is no average oasis – the gin brands summer venture offers a lesson in landscaping; there’s a neat lawn and flora and foliage decorating each spare inch of surface. Even the entrance is impressive – walk through a fragrant archway, complete with grapefruits, lemons and limes, paying homage to the fresh citrus fruits used to distill Tanqueray No.TEN, and discover the riverside oasis, complete with your own pick-your-own living herb wall. Were it not for the surrounding futuristic cityscape of Canary Wharf, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped foot inside an English country garden. It’s the perfect oasis of calm for the stressed-out city worker.
What’s a garden without a fountain? Tanqueray Garden’s dedicated Rosé Negroni Fountain is the water feature of dreams. With serves poured straight from the fountain, guests can enjoy a summery twist on the classic cocktail blend (Tanqueray Sevilla, Belsazar rosé, Campari). Edible flowers float atop the rosé pink waters, making for one hell of an Instagram-worthy tipple. Despite a queue of customers the Rosé Negroni remained free flowing all night – unsurprisingly the mechanics behind the fountain remain a closely guarded Tanqueray secret.
If G&T isn’t your drink, you’ll be pleased to learn it isn’t the only drink on offer – Tanqueray have curated an entire bespoke cocktail menu based around the spirit. Aperitifs have been designed to capture the essence of summer – signature serves include the Sevilla Spritz (Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla, pink grapefruit sherbet, prosecco); and the Flora Smash (Tanqueray No. TEN, lemon juice, raspberries, cucumber, elderflower syrup, ginger ale). Customise your cocktail further by helping yourself to a sprig of mint, thyme or rosemary from the Garden’s herb wall.
Taking part in a cocktail making master class offered a newfound appreciation for the art of the aperitif. The Tanqueray team took us through the steps to create the ‘Honeydew’, a fragrant melon and mint creation combining Tanqueray no. TEN, lemon, honeydew melon, mint and grapefruit sherbet. A mixology masterpiece, the Honeydew refreshes without being sickly sweet and has fragrant notes of cooling mint.
If you fancy trying your hand at cocktail making, Tanqueray will be running a garden masterclass on Thursday 26th July, 6.30-8.00pm and Tuesday 28th August, 6.30-8.00pm. Tickets are £30 per person and include a welcome drink and a quick introduction to and history of Gin (& tonic), learning how to make flash infusions from our living herb wall, creating your perfect G&T with your infused gin and chosen garnish and a goody bag.
After a tipple or two, you’ll probably be feeling peckish. Soak up your cocktail consumption inside The Sipping Room, with the all-new spring/summer menu created by antipodean chef, restaurateur and food writer, Peter Gordon. Seasonal summer salads showcase Peter’s flair for fusing interesting global ingredients and flavours, include baby beetroot with broad beans, goat’s curd and hazelnuts; kohlrabi with watermelon, tofu, mangetout and candied walnuts; and roast cauliflower with seeds, olives, broad beans, peas and olive tapenade.
If (like me) you prefer to carb-load after sinking a few G&T’s, The Sipping Room menu offers an array of new vegetarian and vegan options such as a flat mushroom burger with smoked vegan mozzarella, tomato and beetroot hummus sitting alongside an array of small plates, sharing boards, burgers and grills.
Feeling GINspired? The Tanqueray Gin Garden is open now and runs until the end of August, it’s just the tonic we’ve been looking for.