This is something I’m often asked. Where are my favourite shops for buying spirits and liqueurs? Well actually this is an easy one to answer. I’m going to offer you 3, which at the time of writing are my favourites by a fair margin. Admittedly, it’s a shame they’re all in London, because I’m not! But there you go. I can’t do anything about that. Apart from which it gives me something to look forward to when I visit the big city. It is an experience something like going into a sweetshop when I was 6 or 7 with my pocket money in hand!
The 3 are in no particular order. What they have in common is very knowledgeable staff and a fantastic range of products. I will buy products in these stores that aren’t available elsewhere.
Gerrys is at 74 Old Compton Street in Soho, very close to the corner with Wardour Street. It looks like it’s website has had a radical makeover lately – not before time, as it used to be poor. But Gerrys is well worth a visit. Even the shop window is absolutely crammed with bottles and hints at what it’s like inside. It is a ‘cool’ shop, a bit ramshackle – kind of a retail version of shabby chic. Yes really. Up until a few years ago, you used to be able to browse all the shelves right to the back of the store. Many times, I’ve been inspired and bought products I didn’t even know I wanted, because I didn’t know they existed. Such as Chase Gooseberry vodka. However now it’s cordoned off, only accessible to the staff. Which is a shame, perhaps they had problems with theft. So you sort of, have to know what you want. However it is still a gem.
The second one to recommend is Amathus. And as luck would have it, it’s on Wardour Street, so is literally , around the corner from Gerrys. 300 yards tops. It is a very different set-up. It is modern, well lit, and compared with Gerrys orderly. The products are all on display, lining shelves up to the high ceiling. So staff have to use the ladder! An awesome selection of products and friendly, knowledgeable staff.
The Whisky Exchange is my third offering. It’s recently had to move home due to the closure of Vinopolis. I’m a bit confused because the store I’ve been into a couple of times recently is on the edge of Borough Market. It’s relatively newly opened. And yet the internet only refers to an outlet at Covent Garden. Anyway, if you’re interested in finding it, I’m sure you’ll work it out. Don’t be put off by the name either. Whisky may be it’s specialism, and yet it is still large enough to be brilliant at everything else too. It has a great online presence too. I’ve bought from the site many times, and seldom has it been whisky. Ironically.
There are many other great stores in both cities and towns, worthy of grade’B’s but these 3 are for me the top of the class when it comes to spirits and liqueurs retailers. That said, if you have any great recommendations, I’d be interested in hearing about them.