- Published: 06 February 2014 06 February 2014
Gin and tonic, "supersonic", call it what you will, but this blend of fine clear alcohol and tonic water has been the age old bedfellow of the British psyche for as long as our fading memories will allow us to recall.
In Zurich recently, we drifted from different bar to restaurant to bar and back again, visiting the likes of the famous Cabaret Voltaire, the Old Fashioned Bar, the excellently adorned in flags Spanish Bodega, yet the bar of the town has to go to the Kronenhalle on Rämistrasse.
Kronenhalle is an understated speakeasy with liveried bartenders and artworks on the wall that include Miro, Picasso, Braque et al. The atmosphere is chic and relaxed with tabletops lamps made by Diego Giacometti (brother to the world famous sculptor, Alberto).
We sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Sipsmith G&T's to prepare the stomach for the night ahead. As it happened the bartender had a look of knowing and asked whether we'd like to try particular styles of gin. "Why not?" we replied and he started to pour…
The first I tasted was the Austrian Blue Gin, full of kick and juniper, it really set its own pace and was refreshing to a tee. My friend Ben looked over somewhat smugly holding his glass of Old Raj G&T. I tasted it and, wow, torpedo juice! At 55% alcohol strength, it is enough to awaken the ghosts of yesteryear. My grandmother was born in India, a child of the Raj to parents who were themselves second generation Anglo-Indian. The bright colours of the country stayed with her for the duration of her life and, I imagine, if she had one sniff of this fine elixir vitae, it would arouse a tapestry of dreams that every traveller to the East still desires to encounter.
With a change of tac, I followed suit with a glass of Deaths Door, an American number that promises no afterlife… yet there we were, grinning and sipping. It was quite delicious with extraordinary tastes of fennel that washed over the mouth leaving us smacking our lips for more!
The next gin served was Tanqueray Malacca and this is where the bartenders knowledge comes into play. He seized the tonic and put it out of our playful reach, insisting, calmly, that we must taste it neat. Wowx2, this is a great drop that really tickles the senses and can be supped continuously with ease and abandon, with nothing but the senses that are following suit.
We then tasted the Tanqueray Rangpur which has limes added during maceration giving it a fun tanginess that, accordingly to our all knowing bartender, is perfect for making gimlets.
Lastly as we were preparing to dive into the cool evening and meet our friends at the Cabaret Voltaire, he produces a "roady", this little snifter of K-Brock apple based gin. It was a little off the beaten gin track but great fun to wash around the mouth and get that hint of apple on the breath. The perfect end to a tour of gins that would put the spring back in Aunty's step, any day of the week!
Restaurant Bar Kronenhalle Zürich
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich
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