You'll get to see pictures of the design soon and the bar will also offer food, but as usual I'm just here to talk about the drinks.
Whitechapel will have a house gin distilled at Distillery No 209 in San Francisco, and a house tonic made by Small Hand Foods. The Gin and Tonic will be on tap.
There are 115 gin cocktails on the menu, plus 6 gin tasting flights.
Cate invited me in for a sneak preview of the drinks. The menu is divided into:
- Original Cocktails
- Honor Among Thieves (cocktails created by industry friends)
- Lost and Forgotten (rare vintage cocktails)
- Popular Classics
- The Martini Family
- Gins and Tonics
- Punches and Bowls
- Kopstootje (shot and beer combos)
- Gin and Seltzer Highballs
- Gin Flights
Unlike Smuggler's Cove, which does offer a few non-rum tiki drinks, Whitechapel has an all-gin drink menu. (There are other spirits available, just not on the menu.)
We "just" covered the Original Cocktails section of the menu - 17 of the 19 drinks on it. Most of the drinks were developed by Alex Smith, formerly of many local bars including Novela, Honor Bar, and Smuggler's Cove long ago.
THE QUEEN MOTHER
Bombay sapphire gin, dubonnet rouge, king’s ginger liqueur, lemon-celery bitters
This one tasted like a Martinez or Dubonnet Cocktail as you might expect, but made more lively and refreshing with the ginger.
Bols genever, combier kummel, pineapple gum, sparkling wine, angostura bitters, lime
Deliciously interesting, dominated by the caraway/cumin of the kummel and the malty genever.
Rusty blade gin, ancho reyes, noilly prat ambre vermouth, mezcal, orange bitters
Rich, sharp, and spicy.
Ford’s gin, maraschino, orange curaçao, campari, ginger, mint, lemon
Served with a pipette of Campari that can be squeezed into the drink or added on top like a Sno-Cone. Tropical and minty.
Tanqueray dry gin, diep 9 oude genever, flemish sour ale, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, clove
I didn't get to try this one as they didn't have the sour ale in stock.
THE LAMPLIGHTER'S STORY
Plymouth gin infused w/ hibiscus, grapefruit marmalade, serrano chili, bitter orange soda, lemon
This drink brings out the savory side of spicy. The bitter orange soda is Chinato from Italy. The ganish is an orange peel poking through a slice of green pepper.
No. 3 gin, bols genever, salted licorice liqueur, toasted orgeat, egg white, lemon
One of Alex Smith's custom tricks is to split the gin base between mostly London dry style and a half an ounce of genever to give it the tiniest malty note. This drink isn't too overwhelmed by the salted licorice liqueur (made in-house), and that flavor is nice with the combined creaminess of orgeat and egg white.
BOHEMIAN GROVE ACCORD
No. 209 cabernet barrel gin, bols genever, becherovka, oloroso sherry, orange curaçao
In this drink the cinnamon shines from the Becherovka- a fall gin drink? Nearly clear in color, it's a surprise all around. You’d expect it to have a whisky base.
Citadelle gin, orange marmalade, absinthe, sparkling wine, lemon
This looks like it's going to be a Mimosa given the orange color and champagne flute, and it's not too far off from that, but it's pleasantly sharp from both the citrus and the bubbles with the kick from gin.
SPITALFIELDS ICED TEA
Tanqueray 10 gin, oloroso sherry, earl grey honey, curiosity cola, lemon
If you think of it as a Long Island Iced Tea it makes sense because of the cola but no sense at all because of the earl grey. And if you think of it as an iced tea drink it makes no sense because of the cola. Weird, but surprisingly good.
THE VON DUTCH COCKTAIL
Bols damrak gin, bols barrel-aged genever, cinnamon shrub, unfiltered apple juice, black pepper bitters, lemon
This is not the pumpkin spice cocktail you're expecting from the list of ingredients. The shrub adds a vinegar sharpness and the apple seemed to lend more a soft creamy texture than too much cider flavor.
Beefeater 24 gin, benedictine, italian vermouth, jasmine green tea, soda, lime
This drink tastes like all of its ingredients.
Hendrick’s gin, liqueur de violettes, dolin blanc vermouth, rose water, peychaud’s bitters, acid phosphate
Were you looking for the floral lady drink? You found it. It's a touch sweeter and less bright/sharp than most on this part of the menu.
Sipsmith gin, green chartreuse, pineapple gum, mint, club soda, lime
The comparisons to the Chartreuse Swizzle are obvious, but this is a lot less juicy than that modern classic, lighter, and fizzy/zesty. I forget to take an individual picture of this one but it's the one with mint in the front.
Oxley gin, lavender-infused damson plum liqueur, tonic bitters
Dark purple in color. Rich, deep, and delicious in flavor. Boozy. One of my favorites.
Leopold’s gin, galliano, orange, patchouli tincture, club soda, lime
Why yes, it is like a gin Harvey Wallbanger with patchouli in it.
THE POPULAR DELUSION
Spirit works gin, dillon’s cherry gin, passion fruit, creole bitters, lemon
Sacred gin, amer bigallet, italian vermouth, hellfire bitters, smoked islay peat
A big, bitter drink for lovers of bitter amari. I'm surprised it's not served on a big rock rather than up.
THE MODERN PROMETHEUS
Royal dock navy strength gin, diep 9 oude genever, sloe gin, falernum, absinthe, grapefruit, cinnamon bitters, lime
They didn't have one of the ingredients so I didn't get to try this one either. Sounds good though, right?
So that's it. You're going to be hearing a lot about this bar. Years in the making, insane design, bright, drinkable drinks, and some innovations as well. You should probably just go see it.