London Mezcal Week 2017!

A Celebration of Mezcal, Mexican Culture, Art & Food
11th – 17th September 2017
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Okay, so you *KNOW* this is gonna the best week for agavephiles, and a great excuse to get your friends who’re still scared of mezcal into the game.

Taking place from Monday 11th to Sunday 17th September across London, the first official London Mezcal Week will be a series of events in London that celebrate Mezcal, Mexican culture, art and food, ending with a two-day tasting festival and Mexico Independence Day celebration.

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Organised by two of London’s most exciting Mezcal enthusiasts, Thea Cumming and Melanie Symonds, the founders of Dangerous Don and Quiquiriqui Mezcals respectively, the series of events will be produced by Lucie Massey, who organises the sell-out pop-up series Slap Ya Papa. Together, the trio hope to provide a platform for all kinds of people to explore the culture of traditional Mezcal production, as well as taking a closer look at Mexican art, film and food.

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Throughout the week, a series of social events in venues across the city will champion the diverse creativity of Mexico as well as the magical story of the agave plant, from which Mezcal is made. From art exhibitions and panel discussions, to the creation of a Mexican mural, mezcal masterclasses and food pairings, each event will uncover
the fascinating world of Mezcal and its place in Mexican culture.

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The series of events are as follows:
Monday – A Mezcal Pairing Dinner with Edson Diaz-Fuentes, at his restaurant Santo Remedio

Tuesday – Mezcal sampler with Mezcal Master Jon Anders at Santo restaurant

Wednesday – Panel Discussion “The Future of Mezcal” and Blind Tasting at The Bloomsbury Club Bar
Wednesday – Coffee, Chocolate & Mezcal tasting at Wahaca, Charlotte Street

Thursday – Bartender’s Brunch at Café Pacifico
Thursday– El Grito! At Pop Brixton

Friday – Independence day party at Club Makossa

Saturday – Tasting Festival at Unit 5 Gallery & Yard
Sunday -Tasting Festival at Unit 5 Gallery & Yard

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The headline Mezcal festival, held over 2 days in Hackney, will feature the UK’s biggest ever Mezcal tasting, where ticket holders can taste over 50 mezcals from 30 brands and talk to many of the faces behind the brands.

Independent brands are given precedence at this festival, which will be focusing on traditionally made mezcals and the families behind them. A proportion of ticket sales will go towards charities working within the agave community. For those looking to make a day of it, there will also be an array of Mexican street food, a mezcal bar
serving cocktails, beers and more, and a programme of art, DJS and live music over the weekend event. Some of London’s best Mexican restaurants will be involved including Bad Sports, Santo Remedio and Temper.

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So what are you waiting for? Book those tickets and remember to leave the salt and lime at the door. This is a sipping zone.

https://www.londonmezcalweek.com

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Number 90 Bar & Kitchen’s Bank Holiday Weekender

Heads up to the next Bank Holiday Weekend party on your list!

One of Hackney’s most popular canal-side venues, Number 90 Bar & Kitchen, is throwing an incredible four day long  bank holiday summer festival, taking place from 25th-28th August, complete with live art exhibitions & music, record  stalls, extraordinary performances, delicious food and drink offers, and much more.

Kicking off on Friday 25th August, the first day of festivities begins with a friends, family and press launch, featuring a  great range of entertainment to get the party started. Along with an art exhibition, which will include live painting, Rough Trade will be providing the ultimate Friday night soundtrack until early hours of the morning, giving a perfect taster of what’s to come in the following days.

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On the Saturday partygoers can firstly refuel with Number 90’s brand new weekend bottomless Prosecco brunch, which offers a selection of breakfast favourites from Eggs Benedict with Bacon, to Smashed Avocado on Sourdough with Chilli, alongside two hours of refreshing Prosecco refills. Once rejuvenated, music lovers can rejoice for hours of
entertainment; DJ Mohson Stars will provide the afternoon soundtrack, whilst the ‘House Clearance House Party’ will deliver a fun-filled disco house vibe whereby guests can take home the DJ’s vinyl collection as they play it.

Koncept Music will be situated outside with their eclectic record stall for guests to browse through, whilst the glitter station will be on hand to add the perfect Ibiza inspired sparkle for the evening of festivities. Number 90 favourites, Half Baked, will be bringing hot talent Raresh for a late night ticketed event from 11pm to 6am, providing an upbeat soundtrack of house and techno until the early hours.

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On the Sunday, guests are invited to relax on the sun-drenched terrace and replenish with one of Number 90’s mouthwatering roast dinners, offering everything from slow roasted aged Derbyshire topside beef for meat lovers, to homemade beetroot, mushroom and spinach wellington for veggies. Sunday is also National Burger Day and it won’t go a miss at Number 90, with an exclusive burger to be served on the day, alongside an array of additional options including fresh and flavoursome vegan salads.

Sunday evening festivities will kick off with live music from the likes of The Knox and Callum Chynoweth, with Phonica Records taking the late night reins until the early hours of the morning, and free entry until 4am. True to any great party, there will be a giant treat-filled piñata competition for guests to compete in, and even unicorn disguised
entertainers playing interactive games with revellers. Throughout the weekend cocktail lovers can indulge in a range of refreshing concoctions, which have all been given a Number 90 twist, such as the ‘Garden Spritz’, which comprises a summery mix of strawberry, cucumber, Boxer gin, soda and Prosecco.

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With the celebrations winding down on the Monday, Number 90 will be offering 2 for 1 on Bloody Marys for all those in need of a ‘hair of the dog’ refreshment, and Jamie King and Folkies will provide relaxing background music for a lazy day of recuperation.

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Number 90 Bar & Kitchen prides itself on being a key figure in the Hackney Wick community, throwing some of the best parties in East London and continuously working alongside its neighbours to implement the all-inclusive ethos that it’s celebrated for. This summer festival will invite brand affiliates, friends and locals to come together and enjoy this four daylong summertime weekender, in a venue that is renowned for its fun-loving nature.

 

Number 90 Bar & Kitchen’s Bank Holiday Weekender
Friday 25th August – Monday 28th August
Friday: 7pm-1am, Saturday: midday-6am, Sunday: midday-4am, Monday: midday – 11.30pm

90 Main Yard, Wallis Road
HACKNEY WICK
E9 5LN London

http://number90bar.co.uk/bookings/

London Espresso Martini Fest 2017!

“Celebrating London’s late-night coffee culture with one of the world’s most iconic cocktails

Gods of boozy coffee, Mr Black, are launching London’s first festival expressly dedicated to the espresso martini. Mr Black’s Espresso Martini Festival will run from 10-12 August celebrating the capital’s most famous cocktail export and including some of the most prestigious cocktail bars.

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Working hand in hand with DrinkUp.London, the company behind the award-winning London Cocktail Week, the three-day festival will see 50 top cocktail bars across the city pouring £5 variations on this celebrity of the drinks world. Alongside the eponymous serve, each bar will also be rustling up a unique coffee-based cocktail that makes use of Mr Black coffee liqueur – ensuring that visitors will be spoilt for choice wherever they choose to go.

The apocryphal story of the espresso martini is almost as famous as the drink itself. Legendary barman Dick Bradsell invented the drink whilst working at Brasserie Soho in the 1980s, responding to a request from a patron for a drink to “wake me up and then fuck me up”. Dick Bradsell sadly passed away in February 2016, but his influence on the London drinks scene will endure for decades to come.

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Made from Australian grain spirit and beans from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Brazil, Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur has become indispensable to the bartender’s back bar.

The Hoodooist himself is often averse to coffee liqueurs for the tendency toward a rank sweetness and acidity, but Mr. Black is one of those rare liqueurs that hits the mark just right – making it perfect for an Espresso Martini.

The nose is an immediate of coffee and vanilla – raw and powerful. The palate rich with coffee and caramel, but balanced by dark cacao. A finish to coffee and hints of demerara linger.

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Expect to see some of London’s best bar’s participating:
Demon, Wise and Partners will be serving up a Black Gold, starring Mr Black Coffee liqueur, El Dorado 12 yr old rum, fresh espresso coffee, house spiced syrup and garnished with dehydrated orange and chocolate chips – No doubt served short and strong, as is their signature style.

Whereas the gorgeous 46 & Mercy will have The Bradsell Manifesto, Mr Black Coffee liqueur, Olmeca Tequila, Jägermeister Manifest, mezcal and fresh espresso coffee.

On the other hand, whisky den, Bull In A China Shop will be serving a double whammy of the Eastpresso – Mr Black Coffee liqueur, fresh espresso coffee, Nikka from the barrel Japanese whisky, matcha tea syrup and yuzu bitters; and Chilpresso – Mr Black Coffee liqueur, fresh espresso coffee, El Dorado 8 yr old rum, chilli liqueur, agave syrup and wood essence bitters.

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“Coffee is one of those things that runs deep with people – like sex and religion – so we use our festival as an opportunity to bring people together and indulge a little. We had huge success with the inaugural festival down in Melbourne last year, with tickets for the Friday night session selling out in 60 seconds – so we thought we’d give it a spin here in London.”

Attendees will need to purchase a £10 Festival Pass via DrinkUp.London and download the free app to search for bars taking part.

Once signed up, simply flash your festival pass at each participating bar to enjoy outstanding cocktails at any time over the three days for just £5. Festival Passes for Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest go on sale from Monday, 3rd July via DrinkUp.London and are limited for the first year, so Espresso Martini lovers will need to act fast to snap up one of the hottest tickets around.”

WHAT: Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest

WHEN: Thursday 10 – Saturday 12 August 2017

TICKETS: £10

APP: Search for DrinkUp.London on the App Store or get it on Google Play

MORE INFO: www.drinkup.london

@MrBlackSpirits #espressomartinifest

 

Rebel Yell’s Band of Rebels – Monday 17 July

Monday 17 July had Rebel Yell bourbon Band of Rebels launch serving Summer cocktails and sizzling sounds until late at Lockside Tavern and its outdoor terrace, Camden NW1.

The venue is now the home of Rebel Yell bourbon all Summer long. Just don’t expect a quiet one.

Following the packed out first night of the series in May, Rebel Yell will stage this second event at Lockside Tavern, hosting cocktails and a line-up of entertainments curated with GRM Daily. The Band of Rebels series explores music scenes and its sub-cultures across the UK that are pushing boundaries and challenging the norm. It features a mix of artists that are pioneering sounds from across the globe and fusing them into modern electronic music to create heady, innovative sounds for dancing and drinking.

Rebel Yell was one of the first wheated bourbon recipes created in 1849 (one of the few in the market). It was produced by the W.L. Weller family, the first distillers to produce Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey using wheat instead of rye in the mash. When Stitzel Weller created the Rebel Yell recipe, he broke the standard rules of making bourbon at that time.

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Rebel Yell Bourbon, I was pleasantly surprised! A smooth, rounded whiskey, the nose is honeyed and woody. On the sip, the vanilla really pulls through, with hints of citrus, sultanas, and winter fruits. A long apple finish tops off the spirit that would inspire the song.

As cocktails, a fab bargain at 6 quid:

A Boulevardier of RY Bourbon, Campari and Punt e Mes Vermouth produces a quickly made, but well-balanced dry cocktail. The sweetness of the bourbon alongside the bitters complement each other beautifully.

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The Smoking Gun was meant to mix RY Rye, Manzanilla Sherry, Grand Marnier, Angostura Bitters and orange oils. However, the Rye, sadly, does not work so well in this cocktail. Switching it out for a bourbon though, gives the drinker of drier tastes a version of a Sidecar they always wanted. Orange citrus, with the nectarine of the RY Bourbon, and the dry sherry work wonders – strong and potent wonders though they are.

The Peach and Thyme Smash, however, feels off-kilter. RY Bourbon, thyme syrup, lemon juice, muddled peach form something extraordinarily sour and all over the shop. Although with the prior two wonderful cocktails, this is easily ignored.

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Topped off with a post-burger Pickleback of RY Bourbon and pickle brine, a fab night with great cocktails.

The Band of Rebels night will return to Lockside Camden soon, and a 6 pound cocktail of that quality is worth gunning for. Good job on Rebel Yell for producing a beautiful bourbon and ace cocktails!

75-89 Upper Walkway, Camden Lock Place, London · NW1 8AF

 

Irish Gin & Tonic Fest 2017


The best of Irish Gin and Tonic comes to London!

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On 1st July Great Irish Beverages and A Drop Of Irish are hosting the closing party for this year’s Irish Gin & Tonic Fest 2017 in London.

The Irish Gin & Tonic Fest is an all Irish summertime celebration of the best gins produced in Ireland. Hundreds of bars and restaurants from across the Republic and Northern Ireland celebrate the best that Ireland has to offer the G&T between 25th June and 1st July. The organisers, Great Irish Beverages, decided that this year they’d bring some of their good cheer and lovely spirits over to London and close the festival in style!

The party will be hosted at Bootyard, home to 40FT Brewery and Cold & Blac coffee liqueur, the guys that brought you the best Paddys Day party in town earlier this year! Doors to the party open on July 1st from midday to 10pm.

Wristbands are available to buy online through DesignMyNight for £10, or on the door for £15. This will give guests access to samples of all of the gins being showcased, along with one complimentary All Irish G&T, served with Poacher’s tonic water. Delicious 40FT beer will also be available from the Tap Room.

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Gins representing every province in Ireland will be in attendance, along with a chance to meet the people behind the brands to find more about their story and how they’re made:

  • From Ulster, the lovely Boatyard Gin. Wild bog myrtle from the family farm in Fermanagh helps to characterise Boatyard Distillery’s gorgeous organic grain gin. It has been nicknamed a “double gin” for the two distillations they implement for each bottling.
  • From Leinster, the delectable Bonac 24. The initial inspiration for this Wicklow gin actually came from time spent working in the Hamptons in NY, also known to the locals there as Bonac. Apparently, it took the Clifford family 24 times to get their gin formula right, hence the name Bonac 24.
  • From Munster, the delicious Dingle Gin. Straight outta county Kerry, with a rich spirit that is beautifully infused with eastern European spices and local flowers. Brought to you by the same folk as The Porterhouse Brewery.
  • From Connaught, the outstanding Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin. Made in the only distillery in Leitrim, it is named after the famous Chinese green tea, it also features Irish ingredients such as dried meadowsweet which makes it a rather global spirit.

A dedicated G&T bar will be serving up Gin and Tonics throughout the day, pairing the Irish gins on show with Poacher’s Tonic, a craft Irish brand currently making waves in the tonic market. Ireland’s only producer of premium, low sugar, natural mixers, Poacher’s citrus tonic water features Florida orange and Irish rosemary, while their classic tonic water is more quinine forward with just a tiny sprinkling of Irish thyme.

Renowned Irish Chef Simon Lamont, will be cooking up some of the finest BBQ to line attendees stomachs too. Host of TV show The Lazy Chef, which saw him take to the road to highlight some of Ireland’s best kept culinary secrets, Simon now splits his time between Ireland and London, cheffing and running creative pop-ups.

So come along to the 40FT Brewery in Dalston and join us for a one night only extravaganza of Irish gins and Irish tonics! Or as we like to call it #LondonIrishGnT.

 

Must Try Spirits of Summer 2017

Summer’s here and it is time to go over some notable releases for that cabinet!

Great to show off, some of these drops can be used wonderfully in simple cocktails, or best enjoyed neat after food. Let’s have a quick look:

Gins

What beats a G and T in the summer sun?

Two recent gins to be tried are certainly unique: the Scottish Isle of Harris, and the Japanese Ki No Bi!

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The Isle of Harris gin from Scotland is infused with sugar kelp, giving the gin a sweet but slightly briny finish. The nose is dry, juniper and florals are surrounded by citrus and pine. The palate has more of the pine and juniper, with sweet citrus and coriander. A light minerality is refreshing. The finish brings out the brine of the kelp after the vanilla and black pepper.

Great in a Martini, and only needs a small splash of tonic for a G and T.

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The Ki No Bi is smooth and well balanced. This Japanese gin has a nose of aromatic sansho and a powerful note of yuzu. The palate is silky, with the notable yuzu, sansho, bamboo and tea, the earthy notes followed by a hit of ginger root for a refreshing, fast finish.

Love this in a dry Martini for something subtle and balanced.

Whisky

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Perched on the southern coast of Islay, the Ardbeg Distillery has forever held a deep connection to the sea. The depths around Ardbeg are full of legends of mysterious creatures that inhabit the skerries (small rocky islands) and kelp seaweed forests off our shore.

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Ardbeg Kelpie is named for the legends of the sea around Ardbeg. The whisky’s powerful aromas of oily peat, salty seaweed and tarry rope have been produced by virgin oak casks from the Black Sea, intermingled with the hallmark Ardbeg flavour profile. Waves of spicy black pepper give way to a delectable tide of bacon and dark chocolate for a deep, enticing dram.

This is notably far less smoky and peaty than the other Ardbegs, and instead revels in its chocolate sweetness, silky texture, and late afternoon soul.

Rum

Highball Hoodoo Appleton Estate Rum Joy Launch Review
Appleton Estate, the world’s leading Jamaican premium aged rum, releases Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend, a limited edition rum celebrating Joy Spence’s 20thanniversary as Master Blender. In fact, Joy Spence was the world’s first female Master Blender, paving the way for more women Master Blenders across the globe.

The Joy is a blend of rums whose ages range from a 25 year old pot still and other pot and column stills, up to a spectacular 35 year – creating a beautiful copper spirit.

Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence

Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence

The rum opens with Appleton’s characteristic orange, and a powerful hit of ginger. The ginger then dances and effervesces on the sides of the tongue to slowly open up to coffee and cocoa, almond and oak, and lingering vanilla. The finale is a long length of deep, lightly burnt brown sugar.

A perfect late night digestif.

Mezcal

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Del Maguey Papalote de Puebla is a recent release from the Puebla valley.

The agave spirit is wonderfully delicate – creamy, smooth. Beginning with traditonal agave, powerful florals like lilac mask a bedrock of tropical fruit, a finish that is delightfully mineral with light hints of vanilla.

This a mezcal you want to enjoy neat in the sunshine.

 

That’s all for today, hope you enjoy these spirits as much as I have!

The General Store @ The Garage, Islington

Type of Bar: Cafe
Damage£ – ££
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups

Returning to the revamped spot next to the Garage made me a bit nervous at first – countless rock gigs later it would be strange to see it redone. But frankly, it works.

The General Store is now a chilled out, brightly coloured daytime hangout spot that would be my local cafe if I lived in the area.

The decor is incredibly welcoming, the mint green by the brown and gold makes the place incredibly lively and inviting – kind of like a set from Pushing Daisies. There’s something cosy and nostalgic about it. I personally love the new look (if you couldn’t already tell).

What. I can look dark and gloomy and still like bright cosy cafes shut up.

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Coffees and cafe treats dominate the menu, and in my opinion, should. As much as I love the fabulous staff and service, and can lounge in that decor all day, coffee and treats fare better than the cocktail menu.

We order an Electric Lemonade to start – a gin and sherbet tang cocktail with citrus. Love the look, an electric blue in a lightbulb! It is more of a hard lemonade though, which makes one ask what warrants the price tag.

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Geddit. Bauhaus. At the Garage. *fingerguns*

The General Store Patent Tonic comes pretty in pink – Bloom Gin, grapefruit, pomegranate, and mint. Once again, the spirit barely comes through, and the mint is overpowering, resulting in what is essentially a pink mojito.

The G, T & T seems a bit more promising: gin, green tea syrup and tonic. The green tea syrup is not particularly perceptible, so order a G&T instead.

The General Store Sour brings us bourbon, lemon juice and maple syrup. Finally, a drink that tastes like a cocktail! A traditional whiskey sour with a slightly sweeter bite.

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The cocktails down at The General Store are all undoubtedly pretty, but don’t particularly stand out. What does stand out is the beautiful design, chill atmosphere, and wonderful staff. There are great reasons to come here, but spend the money on cake instead.

Drinks: **
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ****

The General Store @ The Garage, Islington

20-22 Highbury Crescent, Highbury East,
London N5 1RD

https://www.facebook.com/genstorelondon/