Gin Fizz Cocktail Bar is one of the latest additions to Bilbao’s cocktail scene. Opened about three months ago within a 5 min walk from the Guggenheim museum in an area filled with restaurants and bars, the establishment distinguishes itself with its dedication to gin (we’ll get back to that).
My friends and I were visiting Bilbao and the surrounding region last month. After a lovely dinner at Las Cepas, a wine, pintxos and shared plates restaurant, we headed to Gin Fizz for a nightcap.
The bar is entirely painted in blue from its front porch to its back room. The sitting is cozy with leather club sofas and airmchairs, low seats and antique glass tables. While the front room is usually my first choice to have a seat, I really liked the side veranda where my friends and I sat. It provides an intimate room for small groups with a still very good view of the bar.
Instead of handing us the cocktail menu, the bartender asked us which spirit we would like our drinks based on. In turn, we asked him about the house specialties. With a name like Gin Fizz Cocktail Bar, they were obviously gin based and most of them fizzes. The bartender was very friendly and, noticing we were French speakers, made the effort of talking to us in French. He explained the bar infuses its own gins and brought us several bottles so we could decide which one we liked best. We ended up ordering a different gin each so as to try them all.
We had a Peach Gin Fizz, made with peach infused gin and white tea; a Cherry & Almond Gin Fizz, which had a long cherry finish; a Strawberry Gin Fizz, made of gin infused with dehydrated strawberry and topped with chocolate bitters; and a Christmassy Flip made with Christmas tea infused gin. All the drinks were nicely executed with each gin particular flavour coming out subtly. My favourites were the Peach Gin Fizz and the Flip.
Even though the bartender had given us good recommendations, I was still curious about the bar menu and asked for it. The drink offer was pretty impressive with around 100 cocktails on offer! Some were classified by base spirit (rum, vodka, gin and whiskey – aka the usual suspects – and the more unusual cachaça, absinthe), some were classic cocktails, some were creations made specifically for competitions, such as Diageo World Class. There were even a few drinks invented by bartenders working in other bars in Bilbao! Way to show the community spirit!
I couldn’t help but notice the bar name on the menu wasn’t Gin Fizz but Bernardo’s. When I asked the bartender, he explained Gin Fizz was opened only three months ago by the team previously working at Bernardo’s, a bar which is now closed. They haven’t finalized Gin Fizz menu yet but it will soon come out. Now I understood why the bartender didn’t hand us the menu when we sat. Well, if the old menu is any indication of the team’s creativity, there will be promising drinks on Gin Fizz’s forthcoming menu!