Before we start, I have a confession, well, more like a declaration of sorts:
My name is Kate and I am a Gin Snob.
My conversion took place but only two years ago after getting bored of my usual vodka lemonade, and having had a bartender boyfriend who scoffed at my give-me-whatever’s-cheapest approach. I thought I hated the classy, elegant grown-up drink we call the G&T and would describe its taste as akin to paint stripper. Little did I know that house gin plus draft tonic does not a (good) G&T make. Now the glorious gin and tonic is now my go to drink, my signature of sorts.
Like so many others, I spent many a drunken time in The Victoria during the beginning of my university career (just don’t ask me how long ago it was) and after getting silly on their cheap spirits and mixers, trying to ignore the sticky floors, greasy tables and terrible karaoke my now totally grown-up, mature, honours-student self craved something different, something better. Add this to growing gin snobbery and I was almost at a loss as where to deem my new watering hole. Number 40 was my first foray into fancypants drinking in St Andrews and for a while I was smitten. I mean, they do make a mean cocktail but, seriously, I’m not going to wait 45 minutes for it, or pay through the nose. Then The Whey Pat took my attention for a time, their stocking of a few interesting gins and their homely energy drawing me in. However it was this past weekend that at last my gin-snobby-student-on-a-budget self had finally found a little haven, hidden in plain sight, right in the centre of town. The newly refurbished, completely overhauled Vic boasts no less than 17 different types of gin; from the usual suspects Plymouth and Hendricks to the “posher-than-posh” award-winning Bulldog and relatively-new-to-the-UK Tanqueray Rangpur. I can safely say it has now become my juniper nirvana, my distilled utopia, my spiritual (geddit?) second home.
Now, I hear you cry, you talk of gin but let us not forget the humble tonic! As any good gin drinker worth their lime knows, adding crappy tonic to your beautiful gin is something close to blasphemy and this is where the Vic earns extra special brownie points for using Fever Tree Tonic as standard in their G&Ts. Normally you’ll find me rootling through dusty bottles in Luvian’s Bottle Shop to find this particular mixer – it’s the Robin to my gin’s Batman. Made without preservatives, additives or artificial flavourings it has specially designed smaller bubbles to create a smoother taste.
Ok, now I’m beginning to sound like a walking, talking tonic advert – back to business…The new Vic is not only unrecognisable in its furnishings but also it its attitude to alcohol. Gone are the run-of-the-mill everybody-makes-them cocktails and in their place are rustic jam jar contained creations that even the bartending boyfriend would have been proud of (well, almost). And don’t forget the price of said cocktails – with prices starting from £4.50 they mostly undercut the Westport when it comes to bang for your buck.
If you only take one thing from this article, be it not a hatred for my incessantly descriptive writing style or my juniper-based pretension, but the fact that if you love gin you need to get yourself down to The Vic tonight, hell, even as soon as you read this article, to sample the gin based delights for yourself. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Image Credit – East3rd Photgraphy