London Cocktail Week ’14, Day SIX: The End, and Best of the Week

Welcome back to the recap of the sixth day of London Cocktail Week 2014! Wield a red or white wristband and enjoy the discounts/events that LCW has to offer!

This year the Hoodooist will be bringing you #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo, a daily review of each day of London Cocktail Week ’14.

Today we look at October 11th: Where the Hoodooist and friends return to London Bridge for a final hurrah to LCW14.

Having exhausted ourselves over the course of the week, Saturday marks our final night of participation, leaving Sunday for you, dear readers, to revel in using our reviews so far as a guide.

7.30PM: Our finale for the week is a return to Cecil’s hosting two events on the night: besides their LCW cocktail offer, the Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up, and the bar’s usual formal ball hosted by UFF Tea.

After spending the night there, I then decided that we tried enough of their house cocktail menu to merit their own full length review, coming up soon!

Cecil's UFF Tea Ball

Cecil’s UFF Tea Ball

And that’s all of #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo for London Cocktail Week 14, kids! As an afterword, let’s have a look at bars and events that really stood out this past week.

Monday Oct 6th was a bit weak in terms of bars, but the pop up and masterclass stole the show.

The Nikka 51.4 Bar pop up at Covent Garden (Still open Sunday 12th!) presented with spectacular pre-mixed ‘Nikka From the Barrel Whisky’ cocktails, with recipes brought from bars around the world. The concept of a 4 pound 4 mini-cocktail flight is a bargain for tasters, and the drinks themselves, spectacular. In order of most to least favourite, the Nippone, Robbie Burns-San, Professor Cocktail #30, and the Bamboo Crane.

The Cognac Masterclass held by Courvoisier’s Global Ambassador, Rebecca Asseline, was most excellent. The session provided information on the making, and indeed complex architecture, of the most honourable Chateau Courvoisier – an enlightening lesson in the making, tasting, and pairing of cognac. If one gets a chance to participate, grab it.

The Nikka '51.4' Bar's Cocktail Flight

The Nikka ‘51.4’ Bar’s Cocktail Flight

Tuesday Oct 7th was by far the headiest evening of the week, defined by fantastic service overall.

Winning bar would be Merchant House, hosting a pop up with Burleigh’s Gin (the pop up is shut, but Merchant House is still offering a Burleigh’s St. Clement for LCW), whose Woodland Martinez (Burleigh’s Gin, red vermouth, mushroom bitters, absinthe) hit the jackpot for the Hoodooist’s tastes. First lightly floral, then deeply earthy and mysterious – rich in texture. Wonderful.

Grand Marnier’s Paris in London pop up at Cecil’s was firstly wonderful in their choice of drinks, with the excellent Cold Claret Punch; Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Cherry Marnier, Bordeaux red wine, botanicals, spices and lemon juice. The intense spiced wine moving into the sweeter cherry, ending on the Grand Marnier was for once, a long drink the Hoodooist enjoyed, and did so immensely. The evening was defined by the lovely EU Ambassador for Grand Marnier, Julien LaFond, being an gracious and generous host, introducing the Hoodooist and friends to the flavours and history of Grand Marnier and their bottles of Centenaire and Quintessence. A highlight of the week.

L-R: Grand Marnier Centenaire; Quintessence

L-R: Grand Marnier Centenaire; Quintessence

Wednesday Oct 8th was an odd night of bars the Hoodooist loves taking unnecessary risks.

But the winning drink of the evening would go to 184 Hackney Road /QuiQuiRiQui, with their Mezcal Margarita. Their signature smoky mezcal, hibiscus and cardamom syrup, lime juice and agave nectar, was a simple, laid back drink that brought out first the smokiness of the mezcal, momentary agave sweetness to the deep smokiness, but quickly resting on the hibiscus, with a slight hint of cardamom in the distance.

184 Hackney Road

184 Hackney Road

Thursday Oct 9th reminded the Hoodooist of the importance of good service, highlighted by one terrible event at the Bistrot Bruno Loubet, versus spectacular service at all the other venues of the evening.

Pop up of the evening goes to Buffalo Trace Bourbon and their excellent Pickle Jar event in the basement of The Well, Clerkenwell. Presenting the painfully smooth Rosemary Sazerac to rival some of the best in London, along with the perfectly Perfect Maraschino Manhattan (though only red vermouth was used), alongside a trio of Picklebacks, one using pickled gherkin juice, beetroot, and cucumber. A wonderful evening to be spent here.

Bar of the evening would be the City of London Distillery, with their fantastic service, and surprising vermouth-heavy Cristal Clear Martinez of Cocchi Americano, COLD London Dry gin, Luxardo Maraschino, dash of Regans Orange Bitters, maraschino cherry garnish dropped in. Rich mouthfeel, surprisingly sweet, but not overly sickly. A drink one takes time with, but won’t get bored of.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon's Pickle Jar event

Buffalo Trace Bourbon’s Pickle Jar event

Friday Oct 10th brought with it exhaustion and many puns. The winning bars are two:

First, Mele e Pere put forward the incredible apertivo, the Veneton Mess Revisited, a twist on their own Veneton Mess: homemade white vermouth, strawberry vermouth, and ginseng liqueur with a dash of lemonade. Both slightly dry with the white vermouth, yet having the richer mouthfeel of the red. First, the intense strawberry vermouth, followed by the warm citrus notes of the white, with the lemonade aftertaste.

Second, MASH (Modern American Steak House) – besides excellent service, food, and clientele – put forward the Woody Woodpecker, walnut infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, maple syrup, peach juice and Angostura bitters. The smooth Buffalo Trace comes in first as you’d imagine, playing lightly with the maple syrup. The peach makes a short-lived appearance, and the aftertaste of warm walnut envelopes. Drink quickly, the ice unfortunately dilutes and affects the flavours too harshly.

MASH's 'Woody Woodpecker'

MASH’s ‘Woody Woodpecker’

Finally, the winning drink of Saturday Oct 11th at Cecil’s UFF Tea Ball/Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up would be the Aperitif No. 20: El Jimador Reposado tequila, shaken with fresh lemon, marmalade and sugar, with a splash of Kamm & Sons ginseng. At first sight this recipe looks like running the risk of being too sweet, but what we get is a well-rounded, tart aperitif.

It is done.

It is done.

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Six and the best of London Cocktail Week 2014! I do hope it may have helped you one way or the other, dear companions, on our quest through the most magical week of the year. May the LCW shackles on your wrists take you to fantastical vistas through this glorious city.

You have one more night, TONIGHT, Sunday night, to make the most of London Cocktail Week 2014! And best you do! The Hoodooist, on the other hand, is going to curl up in bed, and forget the world exists – for #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo LCW recaps are at an end till LCW 2015.

Nonetheless, you will still be getting your regular bar reviews from Highball Hoodoo twice a week starting 22nd October 2014 (What? I need a week off. I bloody deserve it.)

Until then, dear readers, teach your livers a lesson in Hoodoo.

Good night, and good luck.

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