- Food & Drink
At the start of the year F and I made a pact to go to the cinema once a month on the grounds that this was the kind of new year’s resolution we could keep up. And we mostly have. We trot along to Shortwave Cinema in Bermondsey and watch Hollywood’s finest act themselves into an awards frenzy. Come next year’s Oscars, I expect to recognise a few of the fellas on the red carpet instead of repeatedly asking: “Who’s that? Who’s that? Who’s that?” like a senile, socially insecure parrot.
A little while ago F voted for The Look of Love, the biopic of Paul Raymond – smut peddler, property purchaser and once the richest man in Britain – as our monthly movie. I was surprised as I hadn’t realised F was particularly interested in the life and times of the man who bought us Razzle, but the point of cinema club is to see things we wouldn’t otherwise see.
F and I met in the bar before the film for our customary
bottle glass of wine. “I’m looking forward to this,” said F. “I haven’t seen a good rom com in ages.”
Me: ‘Rom com?”
F: “Yes, The Look of Love. It’s a rom com, isn’t it?”
Me: “It’s not a rom com, F. It’s about the guy who set up Raymond’s Revue Bar. And published porn. It’s about him.”
F: “Oh God. There’s going to be a lot of boobs, isn’t there?”
Reader, there was a lot of boobs.
I mention this because, a few weeks a later, I was sent an invitation to the launch of The King of Soho, a gin created by Howard Raymond in tribute to his father Paul. A quirk of the universe had introduced me to Paul Raymond just before inviting me to try the gin made in his image.
I couldn’t go to the launch, so I didn’t get to enjoy The King of Soho in the middle of a Soho debauch, which was a shame. But the PR kindly sent me a sample to try. I threw a red cloth over my living room lamp, arranged my feather boa seductively and gave it a go.
Day or night gin? Unsurprisingly, The King of Soho is an evening gin. It’s 42% abv, which makes it a gin of late nights, flickering tungsten, foxes chewing through bin bags and high heels click-clacking along empty streets.
What does it smell of? I’d like to say it smells of champagne spilt on crushed velvet seats, sticky bank notes and lube. But it doesn’t. It smells like an iceberg cruising through a pine forest.
What does it taste of? It’s lemony fresh. Lemony fresh! A gin called The King of Soho and it tastes like a well maintained bathroom – one with fluffy hand towels, a choice of soaps and a basket of potpourri. It has spicy, woody notes of cinnamon and coriander that give it a touch of leather bound books and rich mohogany. This suaveness is balanced by a citrusy zing that I bet would make it great in a Tom Collins.
Buy it? The King of Soho is available from The Spirit Cellar for £34.95, making this one of the swisher gins on the market. Sophisticated and smooth, The King of Soho is probably best at home in the cocktail cabinet. It would make a very nice negroni. But in a G&T it disappears and it isn’t really a gin for me. I prefer my gins to be a bit more Malboro Man and a bit less London Dandy. But for debonair cocktail shakers, it would be a pretty ornament for your bar shelf.