Cocktails in the City 2016!

For it’s third year in a row, Cocktails in the City came in for the weekend 10th-12th March and knock out 1000s of cocktails for thirsty Londoners, this time at the majestic One Mayfair (Hogwarts with alcohol, basically) – Last year’s CitC Summer Edition brought 25 bars representing several spirit brands together under the sunny skies at Bedford Square Gardens where 2,000 Londoners came down over 2 days to try a whopping 7,724 cocktails!

Cocktails in the city london 2016

Bars and a representing brand set up stalls where bartenders presented the brand in a cocktail of their devising to the public for judging, with scores gathered at the end of the weekend judging best cocktails, and best stalls – let’s give a hand to last year’s winners: Best Cocktail by Coq d’Argent, and best stand by Loves Company!

Now, let’s have a look at the best of the 2016!

Cocktails in the city london 2016

First up, the Looking Glass Cocktail Club, Shoreditch – harking back to Maker’s Mark’s history as breadmakers, this cocktail is inspired by Italy’s sweet panettone bread loaf and it’s potent almond flavour.

The Maker’s Baker cocktail mixes Maker’s Mark whiskey, cider reduction with winter spice, Americano vermouth, ‘Liquid Panettone’, and Sinner Bitters. A sweet wintery Manhattan with heavy mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and spices, with lingering almond certainly took centre stage with it’s innovative homemade creations of ‘liquid panettone’ and spiced cider reduction.

Other cocktails presented by LGCC included the Honey Loaf, and Fig Muffin – each an excellent rendition on the baker/distiller theme.

Cocktails in the city london 2016

Another whisky contender that stole some attention was the Golden Square by last year’s winners, Coq d’Argent, and Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve.

Mixing the scotch with Earl Grey syrup, fresh lemon juice, Old Time Bitters, bitter orange marmalade, topped up with Lachamte Hideyoshi sparkling sake, garnished with orange zest and edible orchid – the Golden Square is a light, refreshing drink, with an edge of whisky, and depth from the Earl Grey. The floral sake and marmalade is uplifting, and surprisingly soft. A well balanced drink for Spring if there ever was one.

Cocktails in the city london 2016

Another star came from the OXO Tower Bar with the Love Buzz: Patron Tequila, rose syrup, yuzu, and strawberry infused Cocchi Vermouth – silky and delicate. An initial hit of strawberry mellows to a light tequila tang and bright rose, ending with a pale citrus of yuzu.

Cocktails in the city london 2016

Whiskey Ginger brought out recent release Pogues Irish Whiskey with the Irish Rover, including H by Hine Cognac, Orange bitters, Benedictine, caster sugar and mint: a light, bright whiskey cocktail with some herbal tartness. Next door, the Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar kicked out a much harder short whiskey and cognac cocktail with the Sunset Sazerac: Strawberry infused Maxime Trijol VSOP Cognac, Coconut washed Rittenhouse Straight Rye, gomme, Peychaud and Pineapple bitters. In the face of powerful flavours like Rittenhouse and Trijol, many of the lighter ones drifted off – but still a fabulous cocktail for Sazerac fans (even without the absinthe!)

Cocktails in the city london 2016

68 and Boston surprised with a good cocktail: the Spirit of Adventure was a well balanced drink that didn’t overdo the sherry: Burleigh’s London Dry Gin, Amontillado sherry, apricot liqueur, hibiscus syrup and lemon juice created a fruity, citrus touched cocktail with a hint of dryness than would be a crowd-pleaser.

Cocktails in the city london 2016

We can’t leave without a hand to some amazing cocktails by our international visitors!

Little Red Door Paris brought in mystery cocktails – one powerfully Laphroaig was long and refreshing, but a short, perfumey cocktail of absinthe, Islay whisky and Chartreuse was also a clear winner.

Door 74 Amsterdam was spectacular with their Old Fashioned T&T: Woodford Reserve whiskey, Pekoe Ceylon tea liqueur infused with mandarin, orange and speculaas spices, maple syrup, and whiskey barrel aged bitters – a sweet Old Fashioned with kick and no shame in being both potent and flamboyant – garnished with a caramel pancake biscuit. Nom.

Cocktails in the city london 2016

Honourable mentions include Dishoom and Lanique Rose Spirit bringing a Julepy retelling of scandal from the last Viceroy of India; while The Whip and Chase Vodka brings the Radler back into style. Reverend JW Simpson, as ever, bursts in with a double production with Sauvelle Vodka in a chaste vanilla Martini, and a sinfully spicy punch.

And that was only a small taste of what dominated in the cavernous halls of One Mayfair on 10th March! The Hoodooist still believes this is one of London’s top cocktail events of the year, and cannot wait for next.

Tickets for Cocktails in the City London, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh can be bought at:






Cocktails in the City 2015 – Summer Edition, London

For the second year in a row, Cocktails in the City came in for the weekend and swept the Hoodooist’s life into a tizzy. CitC’s Summer Edition brought 25 bars representing several spirit brands together under the sunny skies at Bedford Square Gardens where 2,000 Londoners came down over 2 days to try a whopping 7,724 cocktails!

Bars and a representing brand set up stalls where bartenders presented the brand in a cocktail of their devising to the public for judging, with scores gathered at the end of the weekend.

Here, we’re gonna look at the cocktails that impressed the Hoodooist most, as well as the best present stalls and experiences.

There was some serious competition this year for cocktails, and it was difficult to narrow it down, but the winners are certainly not a surprise, they’re fantastic bars as they are:

Cocktails in the City London

The Rev JW Simpson’s ‘Reverse Vesper’

The Reverend JW Simpson (Click HERE for Review!) presented 4 seperate cocktails, but their star was the Reverse Vesper : Lillet Blanc Vermouth, Belvedere Vodka, a touch of grapefruit and gin at a ratio of 6:2:1 of vodka:gin:vermouth.

With the smooth crispness of the vodka, expect a heavily juniper cocktail, smooth enough for the vermouth’s flavours to come through. At a guess, it may have been City of London Distillery Gin (More on COLD Here), with the sweet tang of grapefruit.

With an outdoor set up of their basement bar, the Rev brought out a comfy seating space under the sun, with a beautiful crystal stand, and a ‘Be a Martini’ multisensory experience that left you a bit stirred. With the wonderful Jim Wrigley and Joaquin Smith behind the bar, you can only expect the perfect Martini.

Cocktails in the City London

Fu Manchu Bar’s ‘The Deception of Fu Manchu’

Only a couple of months into their career and the Fu Manchu (Click HERE for Review) is already readying their new Winter menu – and CitC got a preview! Presenting The Deception of Fu Manchu : Rye whiskey, Campari, homemade Raspberry and Vanilla shrub, lemon, grenadine, topped with Tsingtao beer foam. Not sure what to expect, the cocktail sounded like it would be a bit all over the place, but surprised with it’s lively flavours.

The rye whiskey and Campari is exactly what the drink needed to balance the sweetness of the raspberry and vanilla shrub, and the beer foam has a powerful presence and effect of the palate of the cocktail (which, do not worry, tastes nothing like beer). The nose actually adds a refreshing tanginess to the experience, offsetting the raspberry and grenadine which manage the Campari, the rye whiskey maintaining a presence throughout the cocktail, ending neatly on the vanilla. If this is what their next menu will be like, I’m looking forward to it.

The stand itself may have been more suited to an indoor or nighttime event, with it’s deep reds and greens and golds. The host of ingredients were presented to the public alongside Tsingtao for those who’d rather have a beer, and customised fortune cookies containing a host of Fu Manchu vouchers, from a free cocktail to 20% off your bill! With their delightful barteam, this stall was another hit in the Hoodooist’s book.


Cocktails in the City London

Shrub and Shutter’s ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’

Brixton’s experimental Shrub and Shutter took the Whitley Neill Gin brand from last year’s PKD Bar (thankfully, nobody is ever in the mood for the PKD’s surprisingly racist menu and decor shenanigans) and presented the the Honey I Shrunk the Kids : Whitley Neill Gin, Zuidam Honey Whiskey, honey syrup, lemon, lavender bitters.

The Bedford Square Gardens were perfect for this drink. Lavender and lime break in first, strengthened by the scent from the lavender garnish, and soon settle in with the honey that pairs so wonderfully with the warmer botanicals of the Whitley Neill. Tart to sweet, with hints of floral.


Cocktails in the City London

Coq d’Argent’s ‘Far East’

The Far East by Coq d’Argent was probably the most snapped cocktail of the day: U’luvka Vodka with kaffir lime leaves and chilli, sochu with green tea, lemon, agave nectar, decorated with coloured spices and an edible flower. This cocktail deserves all the recognition it got.

First, under the floral canopies of the beautiful stand, the drink seemed perfectly designed for the ‘Summer Edition’ of CitC. The cocktail strutted in with a rosey tartness of the kaffir lime leaves in the crystal crisp U’luvka, with background heavy weight of the sochu, lightened by the green tea’s herbaceousness (and something else…coriander?), ending on a sweet note, with a lingering heat of the chilli infusion (more of a Tabasco heat) and dance of warm spice from the garnish.

If this isn’t on their menu, it ought to be.

Cocktails in the City London

Demon, Wise and Partner’s ‘Extra Aged Demon’

Recently opened City basement bar Demon, Wise and Partners swaggered in with their Extra Aged Demon : Evan Williams Extra Aged Whiskey, Chocolate Absinthe Liqueur, Demon, Wise and Partners Bitters. This cocktail just screams DWP, it is so reminiscent of their bar style, with focus on continental flavours less expressed here, bitter aniseed fascinations. Paired with cocoa dusted chocolate truffles, this bourbon muscles in with leather and brown sugar, accentuated by the chocolate, the absinthe liqueur kicking it down to size with some spice from the bitters. More of an indoor cocktail, but one we could relax with on the grass away from the crowd.

Cocktails in the City London

The Cocktail Trading Company’s ‘Blend It Like Peckham’

The Cocktail Trading Company (Click HERE for Review!), brought in the Blend It Like Peckham : Chambord, lemon sherbet, egg white, soda, milk. Served out of a slushie machine, the bright pink cocktail with it’s slurpy texture, obviously, had to be served in a shampoo bottle. Because why the hell not. The Major outdid themselves with a surprising drink, well balanced (even if you don’t have a sweet tooth) between the Chambord and lemon sherbet, and who knew how well soda and dairy work once put through a slushie machine?


Cocktails in the City London

Loves Company knows how to put a show

Meanwhile, Loves Company (Click HERE for Review!),  governed by the excellent Harry Gerakis, brought the beach to London; complete with sand, deckchairs, limbo competitions, ice creams and espresso martinis – now that’s one hell of a stand.

It wasn’t just about the cocktails as each bar created its own particular experience,  with an honorable mention going to Barrio Bars –  runner up to Loves Company, who put on a silent disco as well as inviting guests to get crafty and decorate tiles that will soon adorn the walls of their new opening in Brixton.


And that’s a wrap! After such a successful Summer Edition, the question is, what will Cocktails in the City be creating for their next exciting installment? God knows I can’t wait till the next CitC.