How to spot a gin drinker

The clue’s in the beard oil


If you’ve been to East London, Brighton, or even the trendier parts of Leeds and Manchester, you’ve seen them.

You’ve never known what to call them. You’ll interchangeably hear them called hipsters, lumbersexuals, or try-hard dickheads. The second is probably the most accurate, in that they’ll wear checked shirts and cultivate an impressive display of facial hair – that’s the lumber part, but there’s nothing sexual about wearing a flatcap and massaging beard oil into your face.

Gin drinker

In reality, there isn’t an umbrella term to apply to these specimens – the only thing which truly links them is their invariable veneration of gin. Perhaps it’s because of its rich London history, perhaps it’s the vegan-friendly connotations of a drink made from muddled botanicals, or perhaps it’s just that gin has become the spirit du jour for trendy mixologists. No matter what it is, gin goes with hipsters as well as it does tonic.

You’ll find the gin drinker in East London, feeding the animals in their downtime at Spitalfields City Farm – after all, their annual “Goat Race” is sponsored by Hendricks. On a night out, they’ll be sipping their favourite artisan blends at 214 Bermondsey or the London Gin Club in Soho. If they fancy a change, they’ll probably opt for a craft pint and a game of ping pong at the Book Club, an obscure bourbon at Rolling Stock, or a flat white from Shoreditch Grind.

They come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain constants which will help you spot them. Their clothing, and their poetry, will be distressed. The girls will wear their hair long and unwashed or cut into an adventurous pixie cut, while the guys will keep it close-cropped or tied in a man bun. Either way, they’ll be liberal with their use of pomade. You might think they only wear vintage, but you’d be wrong: they buy most of their stuff from Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters, although their jewellery all comes straight off Etsy.

If you can’t spot them from what they’re wearing, it should be obvious from what they’re (loudly) saying. They’ll tell you that they’ve given up meat because they watched Cowspiracy on Netflix, even though you know for a fact they had pulled pork phở for lunch last week. They’ll tell you they only really listen to their old Chet Baker vinyls, and if they go out they stick to jazz clubs or obscure funk bars. In reality, they were the first to download Tidal the day The Life of Pablo came out.

For a living they’ll tell you they work “in media” in a roundabout way which oozes world-changing promise, but really they’ve either sold their soul to a faceless tech firm or they’re slumming it in a co-working space at a jumpers for dogs/artisan ketchup startup, which they have to subsidise by working behind the bar at a Wild West-themed pop-up in Whitechapel. If they really had the balls, they’d be running a cereal café like their heroes, the Keery brothers.

To be fair, they’d settle for a cat café. Any kind of café really, as long as it’s niche enough to guarantee its closure once the trend dies.