Gin! Gin! a Drop of Gin!
The dram of Satan! the liquor of Sin!
Distill'd from the fell
Alembics of Hell.
There's been quite a lot of gin around the Cake Shop recently. A recent tea special featured gin-soaked apricots and elderflower cream; gin with chargrilled lemon and honey was served at our first Happy Hour, and with elderflower syrup at our second. There's even been a field trip to Junipalooza at the Gin Foundry in Shoreditch, where we got to meet some of the lovely people behind the recent resurgence of small London distilleries (and sample a fair few G&Ts).
So we were understandably excited to get our hands on a proof copy of Olivia Williams's Gin Glorious Gin: How Mother's Ruin Became the Spirit of London. It's both a social history of how gin has shaped our city – and vice versa – and a treasury of information on everything from the proper balance of botanicals to modern gin hotspots. We enjoyed it so much that we're making it Cake Shop Book of the Month.
Williams is particularly interesting on gin and gender: 'as ever', she notes, 'women were singled out as being particularly badly behaved when given free rein to consume gin'. She goes on to recount the cautionary tales of several impressive female tipplers, including Eliza Cook – 'a woman of violent passions, given to swearing, thieving, drinking of gin and cat-skinning'; Sarah Stokes – 'the hyena of East London'; and Mary Anne Pearce, who, following a particularly heavy night, 'expired from a general decay of nature, brought on by her addiction to gin'.
We invite you to come drink with the gin-loving women of the London Review Cake Shop. We're not quite the hyenas of Bloomsbury – and we're in no way endorsing thieving or cat-skinning – but we can sympathise with Mary Anne Pearce's 'ruling passion': namely, 'the love of gin'. We've recently been smitten by Little Bird, a small batch gin with fresh citrus-y notes distilled in Peckham. We'll be serving it at our next Happy Hour with grapefruit, honey and cucumber. Really, what's not to love?
The Cake Shop will be holding Happy Hour on Tuesday 26 August, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m. Book your free ticket here.