GIN TALK WITH HOTEL CAFE ROYAL’S DERREN KING

Derren King, Bar Manager of the Green Bar at London’s Hotel Café Royal demystifies gin jargon and answers some of your commonly asked questions…


What’s ABV – and does more of it mean better gin?
ABV stands for “Alcohol by Volume”, it’s the percentage of alcohol within the spirit. As to whether more is more; it really depends on the guest’s individual palate and preference. For a consistent subtle texture – a regular ABV (of 40%) is great, but for a more intense flavour and aroma a higher ABV is usually preferred.
I’ve seen Navy Strength gin appearing in bars and on menus, what is it and how is it
best served?
Gin with 57% ABV or above is considered Navy Strength Gin, I have yet to come across a guest who has requested it neat, dilute to taste with premium tonic for the best flavour.
I was served my usual G&T in an enormous glass goblet, why is this and where can I find one?
I came across my first gin goblet in Madrid six years ago and quickly learned it was the traditional way to serve a Gin and Tonic. It’s a great way to experience your gin of choice in all its glory. The stem helps to keep liquid cooler for longer and enables you to pick up the glass without raising the temperature with your hand around the glass. The wide rim also allows a fuller sensory experience, as you sip – your nose will pick up all the botanical notes.
I usually drink vodka cocktails, what’s all the fuss about gin & which gin cocktails should I try?
Do you like sweet or savoury cocktails? A sweet alternative: The Clover Club. A savoury alternative: The Last Word.
I’m a novice cocktail maker, any recommended reading?
The Little Book of Cocktails by Rufus Cavendish.

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