Nestled into London's iconic Covent Garden is the storefront for the family-run gin distillery Bullard's Gin. The brightly coloured branding is easily recognisable, and the rainbow of glass bottles along the wall inside the store is eye catching even from the sensory-overloaded street.
Bullard's was founded in Norwich, UK, in 1837 and has a rich family history, which the tasting room staff will passionately share. After changing hands in the 60s, the current owner, Russell Evans, teamed up with John Bullard, the great, great grandson of the founder Richard Bullard, in 2015 to return it to a family business making artisanal gin that embraces its traditional roots.
Admittedly, gin is not usually my spirit of choice so I was surprised by how much I genuinely enjoyed the unique range Bullard offers. During our visit to the Covent Garden Gin Shop & Tasting Room, we sampled five flavours, including their classic London Dry Gin, which was awarded World's Best London Dry Gin in 2017.
We started sweet and first tasted the Pineapple, Ginger & Lime Gin. Bright yellow with a fresh pineapple smell and ginger-forward taste, this gin would be perfect for sipping to cap off a meal instead of dessert.
Second, we tasted the Coastal Gin. This gin has the unique ingredients of sea asparagus and star aster botanicals, giving a distinctive salty flavour to the drink. The rich sea-blue colour of the bottle and the salty flavours of its contents allow you to be transported straight to the coastline through sight and taste.
In celebration of the Costal Gin, from now through December, the Bullard's Covent Garden Gin Shop & Tasting Room is also showcasing the artwork of Claudia De Grandi in an exhibition Moon, Waves & Horizons. Claudia draws inspiration from the blue and grey waters of the English Channel near her Hastings Studio and her observations of the Pacific Ocean. The blue palette of colours she uses in her artwork and coastal scenes depicted on large canvases throughout the tasting room are sure to draw you in and are perfect for observing sipping a cocktail made with Bullard's classic Coastal Gin.
The "Old Tom" Gin is named after the style of gin which is attributed to its historical storage in oak barrels. The Bullard's Old Tom Gin has a slight oak colour from cassia bark and has a light smoky taste. The main botanicals are juniper, honey, mango and pink pepper which offer a bit of sweetness. When mixed with ginger ale, it creates a cocktail which tastes similar to a traditional Dark & Stormy.
In a vibrant pink bottle, the Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin smells like a sweet strawberry field, the characteristics of which are also present in the taste. This gin has a unique spiced black pepper finish when sipped. We tried this over ice with a cucumber and watermelon Double Dutch mixer, which was perfectly fruity and refreshing without being overly sweet. The Bullard's team recommends this gin with prosecco but it is so good, you could go straight to champagne for a special, fizz-worthy occasion.
Beyond the flavours, Bullard's is also doing something uniquely distinct with their packaging, offering customers a "Bottle for Life" option. The concept is that when you buy a bottle of Bullard's Gin, you need never get rid of it. Once your bottle is empty, customers can enjoy purchasing refillable pouches which fit through the letter box so never miss a delivery. Included postage allows you to easily return the pouches which are refilled and sent around the country, filling bottles one sustainable pour at a time.
Overall, we had a delightful experience at the Bullard's Gin Covent Garden Gin Shop & Tasting Room. The staff are knowledgable and friendly and the spirits are so good, if you don't currently have an appreciation for gin, a stop into the Bullard's distillery might just make you a convert.
Bullard's Gin is available online at: https://bullardsspirits.co.uk/product-category/gins/ RRP £40
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Chatting Food Contributor Alyssa LeAnne's motto is, "The fastest way to the heart is through the stomach" and she has fallen in love with cities and people after tasting their food.
After over seven years in lifestyle PR, she landed in her true passion for food and beverage as a Food Stylist where she makes food and drinks look gorgeous for the camera and informative to consumers. She loves a restaurant tasting menu and is always up for creating one on her own by sharing with whoever she is dining out with. While at home, she is an avid dinner party host, experimental recipe developer and enjoys everything extra spicy!