I was so swept up in gin and English gorgeousness that I didn’t have as much time to blog whilst overseas as I’d originally thought. Sorry to leave you hanging. The upside? More time to post than had I been squeezing it in between outings.

So, on to Day 2 of the English Gins trip.

We started our morning bright and early on the docks just under the London Eye, which is even more enormous than I’d imagined.

The plan: Take a speed boat to the marina at the Limehouse Basin, then hop on a Water Chariot (doesn’t it sound lovely?) and cruise up the canal to see the Olympic stadium up close. I believe this was the morning on which the ever-hilarious Alie & Georgia began likening our excursions with those of the contestants on “America’s Next Top Model” (“Tyra mail!“), which is brilliant. There were so many puns worked into this particular excursion (“Eye have a wheel adventure for you!”)…perhaps you had to be there.

Anyway.

So we rode our water chariot up the river to Forman’s Smokehouse, the oldest in England (no biggie). It also happens to be DIRECTLY across the river from the stadium, which is nuts. I don’t know which was more amazing: the fact that we were within earshot of the Olympic stadium, or the fact that we consumed an entire luncheon based around two of my favorite things on earth: expertly and deliciously smoked salmon, and gin cocktails. Oh, and this all took place at 12noon. Needless to say, it was a long afternoon thereafter.

We began our evening at The Savoy Hotel’s American Bar (!!!), which honestly made my heart race. Prior to my journey to England, I’d been chalking it up as one of the highlights, and it did not disappoint. I ordered a White Lady, as planned.

Thereafter, we headed to dinner at Hix Belgravia, preceded by a punch lesson in the gorgeous lounge taught by Mr. Nick Strangeway, who had us all participate in pouring together the Diamond Jubilee Punch. In the end, it was a truly regal ruby hue, comprised of all of the Royal Family’s favorite spirits (including my personal favorite, The King’s Ginger).

For dinner, I ate a bona fide Dover sole. The entire meal was very simple, and very rich. Our dessert was a kind of a mousse made from Amedei chocolate, which dining companion Larry the Travel Writer informed me is the most coveted chocolate made in Italy. I love Larry. This is his website. Check him out.

Several glasses of wine later, we were off to Novikov for more gin. There is never enough gin on this trip, in case you haven’t picked up on that by now. By the sound of it, I was expecting a Russian theme from Novikov. Not so. Novikov the proprietor is Russian, but his restaurants are Asian and Italian. But the bar is neither. I don’t know; it was late, and we were there to drink gin, which is English. All I know is that this was one of the aesthetic details that greeted us on the way to our plush bohemian-like couch seats.

Looks edible (or drinkable), doesn’t it? Better not. Those white circles are floating tealights.

This evening quickly became dangerous, as we had a few “starter” gin and tonics (made with Beefeater, of course) while waiting for our Vesper martini drip-fountain (!) to get set up. I can’t recall how many of the latter (or the former) I consumed; all I know is that I had the most fascinating conversation ever with a lovely woman who some know as Joy the Baker. Joy, if you’re reading this, thank you for an engaging and enthralling chat over a whole lot of gin. You are a star.

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