Wednesday, 23 October 2013

London Cocktail Week

My London Cocktail Week recap

On the week of October 7 -13th, 2013, London was transformed into a week of celebration for cocktail culture in London. Basically, many drink brands took part and arranged a host of seminars, pop-up bars, tasting sessions and master-classes all built around cocktails. If that wasn't enough, most cocktail bars around London offered a special cocktail through the week for £4 once you bought a Cocktail Week wristband at £10 each to ensure you'd have all the cocktails you ever wanted. Below is a recap of the events I attended.
London Cocktail Week 2013!

Kicked off London Cocktail Week in style. First stop was "Rum fun with Angostura". Presented by "The Cocktail Lovers" at The Ivy, an iconic venue in Covent Garden. Ms S & Mr G, The Cocktail Lovers, guided us through the history and production of Angostura rum and bitters before moving on to how to make some classic rum cocktails using simple kitchen tools and ingredients. Canapés were also supplied by The Ivy to match each cocktail. What a way to start off London Cocktail Week!
Ms S & Mr G from "The Cocktail Lovers"
Daiquiri Angostura style

Up next was the DIY Kitchen with Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky, a pop up at Seven Dials. The Monkey Shoulders team created a cocktail workshop teaching us how to make some classic whisky cocktails - DIY style. I got my hands dirty creating an Old Fashioned but what a useful skill to have!
Monkey Shoulder DIY Kitchen
Old Fashion!

We then hit another pop up bar nearby, the Belvedere Martini Bar, which served vodka Martini in different styles using Belvedere vodka. Each Martini was served with selections of different canapés to showcase the different tasting profile and how it works with certain types of food.
Belvedere Martini Bar

The next day we attended "Johnnie Walker & The Chocolate Factory" at one of the hottest cocktail bars, upstairs in Callooh Callay. Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky transformed the bar into a Willy Wonka wonderland with edible menus, candy just about everywhere you looked and topped off with candy and chocolate inspired whisky cocktails. We were served some alcohol infused candy floss before a tutored tasting of whisky and chocolate, with a candy based cocktail at the end. Even though we had a little sugar rush at the end, it was a truly special and spectacular experience.
alcohol infused candy floss:p
Colin Dunne in Johnnie Walker outfit :D
Whisky and chocolate pairing

After a well deserved day of rest we opted for a more sophisticated event: "The Buffalo Trail", with The Buffalo Trace Whiskey, to learn what makes Buffalo Trace's whiskeys so special with guided tasting master-class and some beautifully mixed whiskey cocktails at the pop up at The Buffalo Bourbon Empire bar.
Buffalo Trace masterclass
All the whiskey I ever wanted:p

Over the weekend we took a trip around Seven Dials to check out all the pop up tastings on the street, in stores and bars. I got the chance to try a very interesting English vodka from Chase Vodka at its pop up van, a family run business with some of the smoothest vodka I've ever tasted. I also tried a rhubarb flavoured vodka which was fresh and easy to drink neat without being overly sweet at the same time. While on the street I also got the chance to try a Disaronno sour at its Disaronno sour station and some premium lemonade from Fever Tree mixed with vodka.
James from Chase vodka
Disaronno sour station
Fever Tree

Up next was a host of in store tastings which included, my first try of St Germain elderflower liqueur. Beautiful packaging, very refreshing and it worked wonders with Prosecco. This was followed by two gins: an English gin call Broker's and a Scottish gin call Caorunn. Broker's is a very classic London dry style gin which works well with all the classic gin cocktails, while Caorunn has a very unique taste. Caoruun hosted a very in-depth cocktail making session, explaining how different botanicals of the gin affect the taste of the cocktail. We finished off the day with a Beluga vodka cocktail at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon to round off an eventful week.
St Germain elderflower liqueur
Broker's gin
Caorunn gin
Beluga vodka cocktail

I really enjoyed London Cocktail Week, it was a very fun experience at very good value and it was a great opportunity to engage with brands and learn more about cocktails. It offered a great chance to discover some new and interesting brands. In terms of scale it was a lot bigger and better than 2012  and I am sure 2014 will be even better, I can't wait!

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  1. Wow this whole event looks awesome, especially the whiskey and chocolate pairing session... so incredibly green-eyed at the moment :)

    1. That week was mental!! So many fun things going around and at good value too, I wished I had more time to attend more events:)