Jake Burger – massive legend, master gin blender and Portobello Star’s ‘Libator’, is now also a gin historian. He has turned the rooms above BarChick’s fave hangout the Portobello Star into a tribute to his favourite tipple with a tiny gin palace/museum and a gin blending lab AKA The Still Room, which he has geniously named the ‘Ginstitute’! It’s a journey through the history of gin, where you get to create your own blend and drink the results, BarChick’s kinda museum.
The adventure begins all warm, cosy and candlelit, sippin’ on G&Ts perched on red velvet stools at sewing machine tables, as you listen to Jake’s tales about gin’s colourful history as a medicinal tonic, an anti-inflammatory ‘firewater’ during the Black Death, as well as a modern day cocktail ingredient. The walls are dripping with ancient bottles of gin, vintage advertising and gin artefacts. Listen to Jake wax lyrical about the classic gin cocktails and be sure you check out his Harry Craddock signed copy of the Savoy Cocktail book….kind of a big deal.
After you’ve had your fill of gin history you’re whisked upstairs to The Still Room, where you’ll be handed beakers and shown vials of colourless liquids, and you sniff and taste countless botanicals and ingredients to create the ultimate bottle of gin, your own! It is then labelled and signed by Mr Burger himself for you to take home and impress your friends with. BarChick went for a Christmas number, all cinnamon and nutmeggy! Be sure to stay for cocktails afterwards, and if you ask nicely J-Dog might even let you have a go on his brand new gin, ‘Portobello Road Gin’!
The Ginstitute is available by appointment only, and it’s 100 quid a head, takes about two hours (give or take a few cocktails), your very own gin, and Jake throws in a bottle of his as well. It’s the perfect night out for the gin lover in your life. The Ginstitute is also a perfect place for a party, with hot barmen, cocktails like that, and gin on tap – what are you waiting for! Oh and if you love your gin that much, Jake will keep a copy of your recipe on file, and will recreate as many bottles as you like for £35 each.. Gordon’s who?