Aside from Pimm's, what drink could be more Brit than a gin and tonic? While spending a few weeks working in London, I got wind of gin being dispensed from a bike. With a little investigation, I discovered The Travelling Gin Company (TGC).
Ed Godden and Joe Lewis describe their venture as "a pop-up drinks project." The idea came about as a lark: On a cycling trip to Amsterdam, Lewis and his college friends suited up in what Lewis calls "old English gents' attire." Lewis, who was pedaling an old butcher's delivery bicycle, attached a spirit optic to the front of the bike frame and stacked the front basket with—what else?—that most English of tipples, gin. When they stopped for the evenings at various sites, he offered G & T's to his mates from his bicycle bar, and the business accelerated from there.
And accelerated it has. The Travelling Gin Company has been spotted at fashionable venues throughout the city and beyond: it has dispensed drinks at festivals, markets, parties, and weddings all over London, and at the happening Michelberger Hotel in Berlin. Read on for a recipe for their G & T alternative, The Foghorn.
Above: A butcher's bike with basket and a fruit crate on the back for carrying supplies. An enamel utility pail serves as an ice bucket.
Above: Gin shots dispensed from a bottle attached to the handlebars. Ed tells us, "We try to mix up our service and use of products as much as possible to keep the concept fresh and interesting; we don't just use Gordon's and Schweppes for our mixers" (the original G & T combo). Their tipple of choice? "Sipsmith is really great, a very popular choice. We've really been getting into the Bathtub Gin from Master Of Malt, which we served at the London Festival of Architecture—it's made in limited edition batches so we try and get well stocked up." The VL92 is also on their radar.
Above L: Tonic on ice in a metal bucket. Above R: Slices of lemon and lime are kept in jars.
Above: According to Ed and Joe, "The tonic water is as important as the gin in our view. A 50:50 mix can often be just right when using the right ingredients. Fentimans make an excellent tonic water."
Above: The Travelling Gin Company has lately been concocting drinks in honor of the World Cup. They also make a great Foghorn, a gingery alternative to a G & T: "It's a very simple cocktail, but we can't recommend it enough."
The TGC Foghorn
Strong 40 ml shot of gin
10 ml fresh lime juice
Top with ginger ale (ginger beer works nicely, too)
Throw in a lime wedge to finish
More summer refreshment? Have a look at our 10 Easy Pieces: Summer Drinks Dispensers.
N.B.: This is the first in a series: every day this week we'll be spotlighting an inspired food or drinks business on wheels.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 23, 2012.