The Gin Corner, Hotel Adriano, Rome
When you live abroad, it’s common to have pet oddities that you miss. One of mine is a bit weird. Can you miss gin? It’s hard to argue that it’s absent in Italy. After all, it’s not like you can’t find gin in Rome – far from it. There’s a bottle collecting dust in most bars, from that ubiquitous down-at-heel neighbourhood cafè, to the latest cocktail haunt of the city’s cool crowd, where rows and rows of spirits glitter like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
But finding gin which is served correctly, where the full gamut of gin cocktails are not only well-known, but studied? Where the glass is chilled, of the right form, and even the ice is the right shape? Where gin is imported from all over the world, and especially, from all over Italy, with a focus on artisan brands? Ah, that’s tricky. There’s only one place I know in Rome which even attempts that conceptual mountain in an adequate way – and this is a city where hipsters are ten a penny and your average barman now prides himself on a decent cocktail portfolio. But hell, no. If you want to drink gin well, and you want to experiment with over 200 different kinds of gin (probably not on the same night) – The Gin Corner is the place for you.
The Gin Corner review
The brainchild of the brilliant Barbara Ricci, The Gin Corner opened on the ground-floor of an extremely well put-together three star in the heart of Rome just a couple of years ago. Hotel Adriano looks a bit intimidating from the outside, and if you’re not accustomed to drinking in hotel bars, you might be put off. Don’t be – this is a boutique hotel characterised by friendly charm, and the front desk won’t even ask your credentials if you’re heading to the bar. Walk straight in, veering down to the right, where The Gin Corner is set up with a smart, brightly lit bar, and two sunken saloons with soft chairs and low tables.
If you’re a curious traveller, and you want to drink locally produced products (good for you!) there’s usually a bowl of gin bottles standing on the left hand side of the bar with some of Italy’s finest artisan gins, hailing from perhaps surprising locations, including Sardinia and Milan.
The best thing about The Gin Corner is that you don’t need to be an expert – just ask the barmen what they recommend. They’ll happily prepare gin cocktails that encapsulate the story of gin with their esoteric names – a Gimlet, a Tom Collins, a Martinez or Negroni – but of course, if you’re trying to taste gin and get to the bottom of its botanicals and sharp edges, it’s hard to beat a Gin and Tonic, a shot over rocks, or a Martini.
The Gin Corner also hosts tasting evenings and cocktail events – I went to a gin tasting just last year there and it was fabulous! Look out too for book launches and even artisan food markets. Like the Facebook page to see what’s coming up and – when you’re in Rome – don’t miss this essential address. Cheers!
The Gin Corner at Hotel Adriano, Via di Pallacorda, 2. Tel +39 06 6880 2452
© Rome blogger Isobel Lee