Welcome one and all to London Cocktail Week 2017! Wield a pass on your smartphone DrinkUp London app and enjoy the discounts/events that LCW has to offer!
This year the Hoodooist will be bringing you #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo, a multi-part review of each day of London Cocktail Week ’17, as well as daily coverage on our Instagram @highballhoodoo.
Today we look at 2 days out this LCW: Where the Hoodooist tackled Soho and the City!
Let’s start with some of our regulars in Soho!
Once you find a way not accidentally bungle the name of the cocktail up thanks to be over-caffeinated because you passed Soho Grind twice already, Korean after-work hotspot Jinjuu Soho serves the Propitious: one of it’s two LCW17 offerings.
Chrysanthemum-infused Soju, Green Chartreuse, Green tea reduction, #Korean plum #wine, plum bitters, and prune dust makes for a velvety and powerfully perfumed cocktail.
We begin with notes of the Green Chartreuse, followed by the green tea, and then a sudden wave of the Chrysanthemum – strong and potent. A momentary respite with plum wine, but then the Chrysanthemum is back to dominate. I’m not quite to sure what to make of this drink. The first half is almost too difficult to drink, it ignores ‘floral’ and goes straight to ‘spraying perfume into your mouth because it’s been that kind of day’.
Later, the plum wine emerges a bit more, but a little too late.
The second option is the Kimchi Bloody Mary and Korean Fried Chicken, which we covered last year.
A short walk away, we’re down at MASH!
Everyone knows the Hoodooist loves MASH.
The fab Miro and team at MASH give us Dr. Miroslav’s Cold Remedy, a mix of Tito’s Vodka, ginger syrup, peach puree, lemon juice, and a touch of manzanilla sherry.
What I quite loved about the Remedy was it managing to be simple, but effective – which was refreshing with so many the bars in Soho which were trying so hard to impress they were going all over the shop.
An opening hit of light ginger spice, peach saunters in, and then lingering hints of dry sherry. Served in a chilled copper glass that keeps the drink wonderfully cold. Just what we needed. And if that isn’t enough for you, knowing that a pound from each order of the Remedy is donated to Guide Dogs should be an incentive to definitely try this offer.
Make sure to try the snacks and starters while you’re here – beef tartare with crisps is always a great combo.
And a short walk away in Covent Garden we arrive at…
Boki serves the Martell Gourmand: a Martell Cognac mini Sazerac with a glass of Martell VS Single Distillery Cognac, paired with pistachio ice cream and cardamom biscuit.
I’m not quite sure what Boki is trying to do: either as a venue or as drink. In any case, it seems the head bartenders decided to pre-bottle their Sazeracs (what?), and put a load of lemon juice in it. Why this was decided was beyond me.
Sazeracs are… not easy. The short and simple ingredient list is deceptive, but the key to it is practice until it is muscle memory. Our kind bartender, Daniel, responded to our feedback well and remade it without any lemon, giving us a half decent Sazerac (good job for a first try).
Cardamom biscuit and pistachio ice cream paired surprisingly well with measure of Martell, ending on a great pairing note.
Next, we put on our hiking boots and head down to Blackfriars to find…
The City of London Distillery is a good place to come down with friends to prepare your own gin in their in house gin lab and distillery.
And this LCW, they presented the Big Trouble on Little Cynar: City of London Square Mile Gin, Cynar artichoke liqueur, apricot brandy, lemon juice, and vanilla salt.
The first sip is a shock, the tartness might be a bit much, but it is easy to get used to. Apricot, followed by the savoury Cynar (one of my favourite ingredients), ending with more tart stone fruit flavours.
I highly recommend eating the provided bar snacks of chilli nuts, since this enhances the orange sweetness of the drink, and even accentuates the otherwise hidden vanilla.
Head down to Monument station, to find Mber!
Mber is serving the Cloud Nine: Sipsmith London dry gin, yuzu liqueur, orange bitters, lemon juice topped with a white chocolate foam.
Alternatively, for an extra 9 quid, you can take a walk on the wild side and get the cocktail plus a series of exciting bites:
-Zebra Loin Tataki with kizami wasabi mousse, satay cured egg, roasted grapes, parmesan-nori popcorn, and teriyaki sauce
-Grilled kangaroo steak Tagalog with smoked aubergine & tahini, edamame hummus, moromi-miso chimichurri and grilled pita bread
-Pork Katsu kare with panko bread crumbs, glazed apples and fennel chutney
The cocktail is a great aperitif of lemon and orange tempered by the white chocolate foam, however I would have quite enjoyed the inclusion of cardamom in the cocktail as well, to help round off the citrus.
The bites are wonderful, particularly the pork kare, whose flavours complement one another without attempting to outdo each other (in contrast to the zebra loin, which felt a bit blurry).
I highly recommend stopping for the Petit Fours as well! Great selection.
Alright! That’s our recap of Soho and the City of London Cocktail Week 2017!
All in all, I feel in comparison to the East London stars we covered in yesterday’s post, Soho and the City could have done better. However, kudos to MASH for preparing a drink that came in with a plan in mind, and lived up to it. Sometimes simplicity with a bit of kick is all one needs. Similar, with the Kimchi Bloody Mary by Jinjuu, which is far better than their Propitious Chrysanthemum cocktail.
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.
We will be putting up summaries of some of the tastings and masterclasses we visited this week, and hope to see you this Saturday and Sunday at the Tequila and Mezcal Fest!