Wednesday 15 September 2010

A Nostalgic Wander Down Gin Lane

'Gin Lane' by William Hogarth
I was at a tasting of Bloom gin a few weeks ago at London's Graphic Bar, home of the Juniper Club. If you're nice to the staff they will produce a bottle from behind the bar and offer it to you with a chorus of sniggers. It is a gin brand called Hogarth. I seem to remember it doesn't taste as foul as you're expecting after the, erm, bouquet—which is headily redolent of window cleaning fluid. But the strangest thing about this brand is that anyone thought it was a good idea to name a gin after printmaker William Hogarth, who famously condemned gin drinking with his depiction of 'Gin Lane', a place where society was collapsing from the evils of the drink. (His solution was for us all to drink wholesome beer instead.) On the front label it simply says, "Over two centuries ago Hogarth set standards of excellence which have withstood the test of time. This superlative London Gin is of a quality worthy of his name." Surely someone is taking the piss here?

Anyway, I assumed that the product in question was an ill-conceived curio that fell flat on its face when launched. So I was surprised, and perversely delighted, when, on a stag weekend in Cardiff I went up to a bar and was confronted by a whopping bottle of the stuff squatting over an optic. I didn't order it.

A proud bottle of Hogarth gin on sale in a Cardiff pub (which I shan't name)


  1. I see the bar also serves the great Komissar Vodka, none of that Smirnoff nonsense for them.
    I have a litre and a half bottle of Anoch Brae whiskey in the cellar at home but I have no idea where it came from. I'd forgotten about it until I saw this picture.
    Maybe we should get a bottle and review Hogarth gin?

  2. Available here for a mere £11.60.

  3. This is beginning to sound like a game of Chicken...

  4. I know I'm so delayed here, but why is it impossible to find Hogarth? I NEED IT, at any cost and have been scaling the land! Help

  5. I saw Hogarth Gin in Iceland a few years ago, when I was buying milk for work. I couldn't believe it. Someone in the rotgut industry has a sly sense of humour.