A cheeky little number …
I came across The King of Soho London Dry while surfing the Internet one evening; distracting myself from yet another of the dire lockdown movies we’d downloaded with misplaced hope earlier in the week.
Loving the bold and colourful bottle, I purchased it there and then because I also liked the name and handsome, theatrical looking gentleman on the label; plus the fact that this gin is made in one of my favourite parts of London.
Created by business partners Alex Robson and Howard Raymond, the idea was “sparked by an epiphany late one night over a classic gin cocktail, the pair set about creating a high quality and beautifully designed spirit.” The resulting distillation is “a celebration of the life and legacy of the original ‘King of Soho,’ Howard’s father, Paul Raymond.”
Raymond was famous for his risqué lifestyle, and for a while dominated the London entertainment scene by staging sex shows, selling soft porn mags and buying up swathes of Soho property: at the same time transforming one of London’s seediest districts into the trendy hangout of the rich and famous. Indeed, when he died in 2008, his Soho Estates earned his granddaughters nearly £19 million.
“Creativity, hedonism and non-conformity”
But there is the history of London and beyond and, as with many of the gins we’ve reviewed, the names are often born of an interesting and quite colourful past. But, history should be respected for what it is – it can’t be erased, cancelled or changed, although many try to do so. As Paul Raymond said, “there’ll always be sex. Always, always, always.” Without him, Soho would surely not be the vibrant place it is today.
Back to The King of Soho Gin – the 42% ABV spirit is five times distilled, hence its delicious subtlety – apart from the peppery nip at the end, which is what gives this London Dry its contemporary twist. Grapefruit, juniper, sweet orange and cassia are at the fore of the dozen botanicals. We enjoyed ours as suggested, with Indian tonic and a wedge of pink grapefruit – at under £30 a bottle, pour me another, please!
The King of Soho is available from most supermarkets.