Gin Joint of the Month: Powder Keg Diplomacy, London

powder keg diplomacy london gin joint bar

If you’ve ever found yourself battling through the crowds at Clapham Junction, Europe's busiest station, you’ll know that the whole experience can leave you feeling in need of a drink.

Fortunately, there exists respite not too far away in the form of Powder Keg Diplomacy (PKD), a Victorian-era venue a few hundred metres up the road in St. John’s Hill.

While its name may suggest explosive battles, PKD is in fact an oasis of genteel diplomacy, providing entertainment in the form of music and magicians, scrumptious fare and sourcing the best drinks it can find. The bar has a determined focus on craft producers, aiming to provide a platform to showcase the best of home-grown distillers, brewers and vintners.

When it comes to gin, the team at PKD really know their stuff and can offer a great variety. They currently have 36 different gins available – with the promise that this will continue to grow! 

powder keg diplomacy london gin joint bar

The bar also has a close relationship with a few craft distillers, such as East London Liquor Company (one of PKD’s former bartenders now works there), Silent Pool and our very own former Gin of the Month, Burleigh’s.

Guests can enjoy a cocktail as well as a meal, as PKD doubles as a restaurant, serving only fresh ingredients meaning that the menu may vary from day to day. As a ‘Victorian’ establishment, PKD features mainly British fare such as pheasant with horseradish mash and venison with stout sauce. Just as the day-to-day specials vary, the official menu changes seasonally for food that accommodates the weather.

powder keg diplomacy london gin joint bar

The cocktail menu takes a similar, seasonal approach, with a range of twists on classics that are often designed to pair well with the food on offer. Cocktails are often mixed with homemade syrups such as grenadine, drinks such as ginger beer, and liqueurs made with bases such as almonds.

To celebrate being open for four years, PKD is about to embark on a mini refurb, working around the clock for four days to create lots of new exciting additions.

So if you find yourself waiting at Clapham Junction in a crowd of people stewing over late trains, the tension building, get out before that powder keg explodes and head up the road to a more diplomatic spot for a drink.

PKD Signature Gin Cocktail

Henry Martini Rifle 

powder keg diplomacy london gin joint bar signature cocktail henry martini rifle

The Henry Martini Rifle was used by HM Forces in the colonial era - the period that inspires the bar's decor. This signature cocktail, inspired by a classic Martini, is composed of ingredients that represent the four corners of The Old Empire.

Whitley Neill Gin

'Gunpowder' Green Tea Vermouth

Maple Syrup

Dandelion & Burdock Bitters