Our love affair for gin and tonics goes back, way back. To the 16th century, in fact, when gin was originally believed to aid circulation. And in the 1700s, quinine (with which tonic water was infused more heavily than today) was used to prevent and treat tropical diseases. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that British officers in India started experimenting with the flavours, mixing gin and quinine with water, lime and sugar to make it more pleasant – and we’ve never looked back since. Here’s our pick of the best places in town for a gin and tonic
The Trading House
With over 11 different gins on offer, this eccentric bar based in the old Bank of New Zealand, in Moorgate, has a Great Gatsby meets Jumanji atmosphere.
This one is for ultimate gin ans tonic buffs. Head to the bar at Sipsmith’s distillery in Chiswick to try creations like their lemon-drizzle gin and take part in a tour. Educational.
Zetter Townhouse Marylebone
The recently opened Zetter Townhouse Marylebone hotel bar doesn’t just provide an opulent setting, but offers gin masterclasses as well.
This underground drinking den in Soho serves herb-infused gins – and when you feel peckish, you can pair your drink with a signature deep-fried bao bun.
They’re proud of their status as the UK’s first ‘alcoholic juice bar’ – you can get gin and juice combinations as well as gin and tonics at this Spitalfields venue.
James Bond author Ian Fleming’s Mayfair watering hole of choice. Try the ‘shaken, not stirred’ line when ordering a G&T made with gin from Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, No. 3 St James’s Street.
Grab a G&T made with Bulldog Gin and packed with 12 flavoursome botanicals in this raucous underground Blitz bar in Soho.
The Portobello Star
The first place to serve London-dry-gin brand Portobello Road – you can either drink it plain or blend your own recipe above the pub, in the Ginstitute.
Smith & Wollensky
The illustrious New York restaurant has opened a bar on the lower ground floor of their London branch just off the Strand. Try their Gin’ity cocktail, made with the holy trinity of gin, cucumber and elderflower.
Oskar’s at Dabbous
The basement bar at Ollie Dabbous’ Fitzrovia restaurant serves one of the best G&Ts in town with homemade bergamot and jasmine tonic, and ice cubes the size of shoeboxes.
The Den at St Martins Lane
Try their G&Ts made with Hendrick’s gin and Fevertree tonic, and garnished with ribbons of cucumber – maybe alongside your afternoon tea?
Hilton London Bankside
The Distillery bar of this South London hotel stocks over 50 handpicked gins – take your time to sample them all for, you know, impartiality.
Mark’s Bar at Hix
Because there’s nothing more classic than sipping a G&T on a leather chesterfield in Soho. Here they use Elephant Gin (a percentage goes to elephant foundations in Africa), so you’re basically being philanthropic when drinking.
Six Storeys on Soho
Opening in December, this Soho townhouse bar and restaurant will have a gin menu with combinations like venison and truffle and rosemary and lavender.
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour
Situated above a Victorian tavern in Covent Garden, this gin parlour features over 88 different types of the spirit. Time to get studious.
Travel to the other side of the world by heading to Fitzrovia – sample the Australian gin collection and tonic made with natural Thai lemongrass and New Zealand artesian spring water.
The Covent Garden members’ club, complete with books and periodicals, also has a mixologist on hand to give your G&T a unique twist.