Herman ze German, Fitzrovia

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant
Damage£-££
Ideal for: FoodSmall Groups

 

 

Late nights and stomach-lining before drinks is our first thought when we think ‘Herman ze German‘, but why wait? Especially when the branch at Charlotte Street now serves it’s own drinks?

A cocktail menu has found its way into the basement bar and dining area, serving up twists on classics to go with some new menu additions!

untitled

The mixed drinks inject some German traditional fare like the German Fritz Co’s drinks.

Some classics like the Aperol Spritz and a Margarita (using Tequila Ocho) are always solid crowd pleasers, others, like the Gin Melon, mix  Beefeater gin, lemongrass and Fritz Melon. The Fritz honey melon mixer could use more of the spice from the lemongrass, but makes for a fun light drink for the summer.

 

Here on out, things might go a bit pear-shaped for those who don’t have a massive sweet tooth. The Mish Mashed brings Asbach rye whiskey to Fritz MischMasch, a German cola/orange soda hybrid, and it’s about as confusing as it sounds. Similarly, the Cherry Bomb dessert drink mixes Fritz Cherry, Asbach brandy and chocolate liqueur for something entirely too sweet and sickly.

14088608_10154504411234559_3111059130871368690_n

However, the food is on point and delightfully indulgent. The new Bratmeister brings a major twist to HzG’s traditional menu: the signature Black Forrest bratwurst is garnished with freshly roasted veggies, aged feta and topped off with homemade veal gravy. It still needs to live up to the undeniably cheesy goodness of their schnitzel, though.

 

Service in this basement is excellent, and really is what made our visit – and why HzG manages to be a fun place to chill with friends over some currywurst. Even if 7 quid for spirits and mixer is a tad steep.

 

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

 

Herman ze German

43 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, 
London W1T 1RS

http://www.hermanzegerman.com/

Advertisements

Aqua Nueva & Spirit, Oxford Circus

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Spanish, Japanese
Damage££££
Ideal for: FoodDate, Small Groups, After Work

 

As crowded as Argyll Street is, it is easy to miss some of the signs around you – including the doorway that leads up to the 5th floor, where three of Aqua’s dining experiences are hidden away.

The opulently decorated Aqua series begins with the shimmering mirrored surfaces of the Aqua Spirit bar, before opening up to the Nueva restaurant, heralded by the charging Pamplona bull – an awful lot of spectacle, so the Hoodooist was curious to see if there was substance behind the glitz.

 

Aqua Kyoto Nueva London cocktails

The Smoke Over Spain

 

Once seated at our table, looking out the balcony to the Central London skyline, and over the bar of Nueva, we are served with the London Cocktail Week offering of the Smoke Over Spain.

I’m already sold with this. Tanqueray gin, orgeat, sherry, wild strawberry liqueur, fresh lemon juice and served with a paprika foam, a gorgeous balancing act of sweet without being sickly, citrus without being overpowering, and smoky for a burst of flavour. You begin with the smoky paprika foam that teases the tastebuds before a wash of fruit and nutty sweetness of the orgeat, giving way to the powerful strawberry flavour that dominates the drink, leading to a dry finish from the sherry.

This is a cocktail you will remember, even for the Hoodooist who notoriously avoids sweet or fruit dominated cocktails. I do wish this will find its way onto the cocktail menu year round, to firmly place Aqua on the map for cocktail ingenuity.

We enjoy snacks of Manzanilla olives, chickpea croquettes, and Iberian meats before being served padron peppers fried with olive oil and dusted with sea salt that the Hoodooist absolutely adores. The addition of sea salt does stand out from many servings of padron peppers, and the Hoodooist doubts he can have it any other way now! A pile of green pepper heads on his plate, we are served another cocktail.

 

 

Aqua Spirit Kyoto Nueva London cocktails

Salmon and avocado maki with salmon ‘pearls’

 

Aqua Spirit‘s offering of the Japanese Citrus initially does not go down well – until it dilutes. Then we find a wonderfully refreshing drink. The melting ice dilutes the pungency of the powerful yuzu sake, which is mixed with Ketel One vodka, fresh lemon juice, ginger syrup, Angostura bitters and topped with soda water. Once you’ve waited a few minutes, the yuzu citrus provides a wonderful backdrop for the ginger to sizzle.

This was paired with salmon and avocado maki, topped with salmon roe. Clearly freshly cut and succulent salmon made this sushi worth travelling for, exciting seasoned residents of Japan at our table. Soon, chicken wings stuffed with coriander and miso are served, as well as crisp prawn tempura with garlic chilli sauce.

 

14500501_10154628805344559_6371883763521570944_o

 

Finally, melt-in-your-mouth oxtail topped with avocado creme is paired with a glass of champagne, before the finale of a shot of Espresso Martini as a digestif to polish off a wonderful evening.

Staff at the Aqua Nueva & Spirit are faultless: polite, swift, and conversational. I do prize service above everything else at a bar, and the Aqua series certainly score here.

 

Overall, the glitz is not just for show. Cocktails are engineered to be paired with food, so do not attempt to be enormously complex or demanding – but when they do, we find stars like the Smoke Over Spain. The Japanese Citrus is also a great example at how cocktails meant to be paired can be enjoyable even on their own.The atmosphere is perfect for a celebratory dinner, after work drink on the balcony, and particularly for meetings. You can’t go wrong for why you’re here, really.

Sure, it’s a steep price, which is expected – but all things considered, the Aqua Nueva and Spirit are venues a visit to London should not do without.

 

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

 

Aqua Nueva & Spirit,

240 Regent St, Oxford Circus
London W1B 3BR

http://aquakyoto.co.uk/
http://aquanueva.co.uk/

London Cocktail Week ’16: City!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the first day of London Cocktail Week 2016! Wield a red or white wristband and enjoy the discounts/events that LCW has to offer!

Today we look at October 7th: Where the Hoodooist tackled City!

London Cocktail Week 2016

The Laidback Mule by Four Sisters Townhouse!

5.45PM:

Auchentoshan Scotch whisky, allspice berries, home made ginger, black pepper, and granola soda is what the Four Sisters Townhouse served up in the Laidback Mule – the complex soda is home-made, like all of the bar’s ingredients, and is part of their weekly rotating menu!

The granola might seem like an odd choice, but is perfect for the cocktail. The warming spices follow the sweet whisky, ending on a sudden light smoothness of the granola. Love this drink.

 

London Cocktail Week 2016

The Gin Jacket by Demon, Wise and Partners!

 

6.30PM:

Demon, Wise and Partners is back with its classically bitter and quintessentially Italian flavours!

The Gin Jacket serves up Old Tom gin, Noilly Prat vermouth, Fontaine chocolate absinthe, garnished with chocolate.

At first, the drink is overpowered by the aniseed, but with a little added water, the gin and the floral Provence flavours of the Noilly Prat emerge – complemented wonderfully by the chocolate garnish. An enjoyable drink, if an acquired taste for bitter dryness.

 

London Cocktail Week 2016

Wheys a Tun by City Social!

 

7.30PM:

We’re back at the high-rise expanse of City Social!

Riding the trend of milk punches, the Wheys a Tun mixes Ailsa Bay Scotch whisky, apricot brandy, clarified milk, fresh ginger and winter spice. A drink that is enjoyable, but would only pay the 5 quid for. Beautiful silky texture, but the flavours can come off a bit confused.

 

London Cocktail Week 2016

The Natural Ban Killer by Discount Suit Co!

 

8.30PM:

Our favourite of the night was no doubt the heavyweight Natural Ban Killer!

Discount Suit Co once again celebrates Irish Ban Poitin by mixing it with orgeat, apple, lemon, topped up with home made ginger beer. The powerful sweet cereal flavour of the poitin smoothly is lifted up by the nutty orgeat and fruity citrus, before a quick sizzle of ginger and fizz. The apple garnish goes so incredibly well with this drink, it’s been a while since I was so pleased by a pairing (and one that simple!).

 

London Cocktail Week 2016

The Imperial Exile by Apples and Pears!

 

9.30PM:

Earlier this year Apples and Pears had seriously upped their cocktail game, and this year’s LCW is no different, with a major improvement from last year’s offering.

The Imperial Exile brings floral Courvoisier VSOP cognac, umeshu plum liqueur, home made wine reduction and lemon for a smooth and sweeter drink without being offensively so, and not compromising on the ABV.

The initial floral cognac with its lavender moves into the sweet plum, lifted up by the bright fruit of the wine reduction, ending with a length of umeshu once again. A heavier drink, and one I’d recommend for the end of a night.

 

London Cocktail Week 2016

The Flip Willy and Langer’s in Manhattan at 46 & Mercy!

 

11PM:

After stuffing our faces at HotBox, downstairs at 46&Mercy we have two LCW offerings!

The Flip Willy,  Jameson Caskmates Irish whiskey, Mr Black cold press coffee liqueur, coffee, muddled with Irish fudge – was underwhelming.

One the other hand, a much better drink is found in the Langer’s in Manhattan – Jameson Cask Mates Irish whiskey, Cocchi di Torino vermouth and home made chilli liquor. I might not have chosen the Caskmates for this drink, but it still works well.

Highly recommended as an aperitif early in the night for its intensity, the Langer’s celebrates a classic Manhattan with the spice of the chilli instead of cherry. A light burn after the sweetness of the prior two ingredients, finishing on a sweet length of the Caskmates.

 

Alright! That’s our recap of Soho of London Cocktail Week 2016! I do hope it may have helped you one way or the other, dear readers, on our quest through the most magical week of the year.

 

 

London Cocktail Week ’16: Soho!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the first day of London Cocktail Week 2016! 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 ’16.

Today we look at October 4th: Where the Hoodooist tackled Soho!

We got to admit, everyone’s upped their game. This might be the first time the Hoodooist enjoyed every single drink he drank. Hell.

London Cocktail Week 2016

Jinjuu’s Kimchi Bloody Mary!

1PM:

Jinjuu’s Korean Sip n Snack was perfect to start the afternoon after the Whisky Show the night before!

14 pounds gets you a plate of fried chicken with a pair of delicious Jinjuu sauces, and cocktail:

The Kimchi Bloody Mary fancies up the classic hair of the dog with kimchi, sriracha sauce, celery and black pepper infused soju, topped up with fresh tomato juice. Tall and spicy, the cocktail is light, beginning with the salty-sour kimchi juice, immediately moving to the spicy sriracha, finally ending with notes of black pepper soju, all the while riding a wave of tomato juice. Needed that.

A short walk away, we’re down at MASH!

London Cocktail Week 2016

MASH’s Punch the Buffalo

2.30PM:

Everyone knows the Hoodooist loves MASH.

Steve and the boys in this subterranean hideaway do love their Buffalo Trace, and this year they’re going to Punch the Buffalo, by mixing up Buffalo Trace Bourbon, La Concha sherry, lemon juice, maple syrup and cardamom bitters.

Reasons to love this drink: You taste every single flavour in perfect harmony. No confusion, no ingredient trying to outperform the others. First the initial sweetness of wheat from the bourbon, followed by the maple’s own unique sweetness. After the sherry’s dryness and cardamom that lifts it up, ending with the bourbon’s vanilla length. Spectacular job.

London Cocktail Week 2016

Milroy’s of Soho’s Hebrides and Ivory

3.30PM:

And here we are at Milroy’s of Soho!

A whisky lover’s home away from home, MoS is not kidding around with this year’s offering. Short, heavy, uncompromising.

The Hebrides and Ivory (yes, ouch) does…harmonise fantastically (sorry). Truly, this drink immediately screams out to me with the unique mix of Kilchoman Machir Bay scotch, Dolin Coeur de Genepi, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and hopped grapefruit bitters. This almost velvety cocktail is strong as all hell. Just the way I like it.

Take your time with a book and the shop’s puppy while sipping this, beginning with hints of grapefruit and the powerfully nutty and peaty whisky – sweet and medicinal – the flavours give way to the elderflower that manages to not be cloying. The wormwood (light and fragrant) comes in next, balancing the flavours, ending on a short length of more grapefruit.

If you are not familiar with Dolin’s Coeur de Genepi, it’s because this bar pretty much bought the UK’s entire stock. Highly recommend trying this cocktail to become acquainted with it!

Sweet tooths, beware.

London Cocktail Week 2016

Tredwell’s A Feather in the Cap!

 

5PM:

Walking down closer to Covent Garden, the Hoodooist finds himself at Tredwell’s Saint Martin’s Lane for the Feather in the Cap!

Frapin VSOP cognac meets apricot and fig liqueur, manzanilla sherry and Grand Marnier. This rather viscous cocktail unfortunately tends to drown out the fruity spiciness of the cognac a bit, but nothing a little bit of alteration with the liqueurs can’t solve!

The initial cognac hit moves into the lightness of the sherry, then to the apricot – ending on a length of figs and Grand Marnier. For the sweeter tooth, this is a wonderful cocktail timed with the fig season.

London Cocktail Week 2016

Talli Joe’s Nizam’s Punch!

6PM:

The last stop of the night was the most surprising – and might be for the rest of the week!

Recently opened Talli Joe just won their first Michelin Star only days ago, and by the looks of this cocktail, they well deserve it.

The sip and snack (8 quid) pairs charminar chana jor garam black gram crisps with Nizam’s Punch: Bacardi 8 Rum with lime, turmeric honey syrup, biryani oil and Fever Tree tonic water.

I had no idea what to expect here. And it was wonderful. Turmeric begins and releases the intense spice of the biryani oil, followed by honey. Rum and tonic make their entrace, ending with the biryani spice. It is far more approachable than it might sound, and is a must-try this London Cocktail Week!

 

This day in Soho has served up a lot of unique and successful cocktails: Jinjuu gave us salty and sour – it’s spice also showing up with Talli Joe‘s unique concoction. Whiskey shows us it’s versatility with the sweeter production by MASH and the smoky challenger from Milroy’s. Finally, sweetness is not ignored by Tredwell’s seasonal cocktail.

Alright! That’s our recap of Soho of London Cocktail Week 2016! I do hope it may have helped you one way or the other, dear readers, on our quest through the most magical week of the year.

Remember to check out Highball Hoodoo every morning of London Cocktail Week for more reviews of the LCW cocktail offerings, parties and events!

Get #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo each morning from 4th to 9th October!