Gin71 landed on the Glasgow cocktail scene early in 2014, jollying up Cup Tea Lounge's much revered booze offering with a hearty smattering of juniper. Since its launch, it's fair to say that pretty much the entire of Glasgow's drinking population has waxed lyrical about the alcoholic assets of this devious little watering hole; I was left thirsty and frustrated. After months of anticipation, the time had come to begin my intoxicating foray into Glasgow's most extensive juniper offering.
Entering this impressive space from the gentle incline of Renfield Street, we find ourselves immersed in a room that occupies an aesthetic somewhere between a Victorian public lavatory and palatial living quarters of the late 1970's. The interior juxtaposes patterned terracotta tiling with intricate wooden detailing, sprucing up the brown hues with natural scatterings of green. The focal centrepiece takes the form of a sky-high gin wall, standing mighty behind the bar and showcasing the menagerie of juniper based treats that lie within this nook of a city-centre cocktail bar.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
Glasgow is no stranger to blustery days, and on a typically windy Wednesday evening, Gin71 offered comfort in its bounty. We lost ourselves somewhere between the allure of a plush leather sofa, the soft lighting that emits small candle flames and the gentle chatter of our surrounding guests. We sat down and took the opportunity to peruse the clientele that scattered the venue: well dressed and well spoken, our peers straddled a number of formally established age brackets, fostering a pleasantly diverse yet undeniably refined crowd.
The vibe was nicely complemented by the warm and hospitable conversation of our waiting staff: always on hand to offer guidance, and more than happy to share their personal preference where necessary, the staff at Gin71 are an absolute asset to this city-centre cocktail lounge.
The Food & Drink:
We set our evening to motion with a triple helping the good stuff. The Gin Flight provides a hands on alternative to the traditional cocktail offering, allowing punters to 'schjooj' their own homemade syrups with soda water and blend three varieties of gin with tonic infused ice cubes. I opted for the Homegrown Flight, which showcased the flavours and subtleties of a selection of gins that had been distilled in Bonnie Scotland: my boozy adventure was fuelled by helpings of Pickering's Gin (whereby notes of cardomom and clove were bolstered by a citrus garnish), Carounn (a wildly aromatic blend) and The Botanist, the first and only Islay-produced gin to feature thirty one botanicals.
As the evening progressed, we grew peckish. My guest and I made the sensible decision to delve into their bowl food menu, choosing to share servings of macaroni cheese and Indonesian vegetable curry; both hearty and comforting choices, our meal made the wild weather beating down on the streets of Glasgow seem worlds away.
Wild, indulgent and unashamedly decadent, Gin71 impressed on all fronts. Juniper-jollied libations have seen something of a revival in recent years, and it is apparent in the success of this naughty little opening that Mother's Ruin has hit the Glasgow bar scene all guns blazing - and there is no doubt that Gin71 has left Mother more than a little ruined.