The Spirit of Sharing Tasting, @ The Embassy of Ireland

Some of you might still be reeling from the craziness of this year’s St. Paddy’s Day (ouch Sun Tavern, ouch Whisky Live), but whether or not you’re still wearing (feeling) green (or still pretending to be Irish), this year’s explosion of Irish whiskeys and poitins onto the London cocktail scene is making some of the Scots lowkey panic.

As for the English whisky distilleries..Well. Um.

Anyway.

We now enter the ballroom of the Irish Embassy, South Ken, where the Bord Bia Irish food board and brought in some of the biggest, and growing, names in Irish spirits to taste, in the company of award winning drinks writer Dominic Roskrow, and Charlie McCarthy of Tullamore Dew and All About the Cocktail fame!

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Let’s have a stroll and look at some of the outstanding spirits we have on show today!

Before the whiskey classics, let’s get on to whiskey’s ancient ancestor and fairly recent and exciting on the London scene – the potent Poitin has been released after its four century long ban from 1997.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Bán Poitín!

Introduced in 2013, Bán Poitín by Dave Mulligan and Cara Humphreys has dominated the UK Poitin market, and are staples at The Sun Tavern, and Discount Suit Co. An industry darling, and rightfully so: the sugarbeet and barley spirit is strongly malty, slightly sweet, and goes down wonderfully with a stout.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The Glendalough Sherry Cask Poitin – Picture courtesy of: http://www.glendaloughdistillery.com

Stored in virgin Irish Oak, the Glendalough Poitin range provides variety.

The standard Glendalough Poitin comes with a similar bread palate, with pepper and oak, with a subtle creaminess. The (wonderful!) Sherry Cask Finished Poitin has a beautiful nose of orange and spicy sweetness, a toasty palate of fruit and spice, and long sherry finish. Finally, the Mountain Strength is bold with barley, fruit and oak. Spectacular stuff.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Bertha’s Revenge! Picture courtesy of: http://ballyvolanespirits.ie/

How about something a little different? We’re seeing a lot of gin from Ireland, and one of the more intriguing ones is Bertha’s Revenge, a milk gin by Ballyvolane House. A beautifully creamy mouthfeel on sweet almond and spicy cardamom and cloves, followed by a lip-smackingly dry citrus finish. It’s been a while since gin got the Hoodooist’s attention – and Bertha certainly did.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Kerrygold Irish Cream! Picture courtesy of: http://kerrygoldirishcream.com/

Let’s look at the lighter stuff: We can’t do Ireland without Irish Cream, and classic Kerrygold doesn’t overwhelm you with sweetness compared to many.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The fun Flaming Pig!

And the gloves were off with the liqueurs. The Flaming Pig spiced whiskey liqueur is melded with cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, ready for a ludicrously silly drinking game. Initial sweet whiskey flavours are immediately followed by powerful spice to set you off.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Highbank Irish Orchard Liqueur Brandey – Picture Courtesy of: https://highbankorchards.com/

Made from organic apples, the Highbank Orchard Liqueur Brandey is fantastic after lunch on the riverside, filled with bright apple, ginger and cinnamon flavours.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Clever Man’s Ejector Seat Turf Smoked Stout

The stouts came out to play: Clever Man’s Ejector Seat Turf Smoked Stout certainly changed the Hoodooist’s mind about the drink, jet black, with peaty nose. A powerfully smoked palate, coffee, and light notes of TCP, with a dry bittersweet finish – this is an Islay Whisky as a stout. Love.

And there is the White Hag’s Black Boar Stout, rich, bitter – the nose is peaty. The palate is malty and smoky, with vanilla, chocolate, treacle and oak thrown in, with a bit of bite. Nom.

 

I guess we’re on to what everyone’s waiting for! The Whiskeys are classics, good old Jameson, Teeling, and the Liberties.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The Jameson Range!

The Jameson family is all out tonight!

We all know the sweet, Madeira and marmalade flavours of the Jameson Irish Whiskey classic. The Crested 10 is a potent mix of grain, pot still, and sherry casks: full and rich, smooth and light before swelling into spice, red fruit and chocolate, over a toasted sherry notes. The Select Reserve Black Barrel aka Small Batch, focuses more on grain and pot still, with double charred barrels. Creamy, and thick. Warm winter flavours of dates, overripe fruit, cinnamon and orange zest are followed by a lengthy finish of nutmeg and cinnamon. The most recent addition, the Caskmates, is given a stout finish – the fruits and chocolate of Jameson is now coupled with hoppy maltiness for a fabulous modern whiskey.

Probably the star of the family, the award-winning Redbreast 12 is rich and nutty, with marzipan and almond – a long sherried finish is spicy and sweet. A gorgeous whiskey worth shelling out on.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The blurry Teeling Trio

Of course Teeling is here!

We know the Single Malt: Light, peppery, cinnamon – peppered with floral notes. The Single Grain is more adventurous: Be ready for cereal flavours with spice and treacle, custard plays around here too. A spry spirit, that. Finally, the gorgeous Small Batch: rich with floral notes, spiced with cinnamon and other herbs, a creamy creme brulee at the end. Wonderful and flamboyant.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil – Picture courtesy of: http://www.marblehead.uk.com/

They say an oak-carved devil stood over the gates of a place nicknamed Hell in the Liberties of Dublin. They also say that oak was soon used for whiskey barrels – explaining the name of The Dublin Liberties‘s whiskey: Oak Devil. Expect a lot of caramel, spice and pepper, followed by warm winter notes of Christmas. Love this little tipple.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Charlie McCarthy’s customised cocktail

Let’s end the night with Charlie McCarthy’s gorgeous customised cocktail! A mix of Tullamore Dew whiskey, PX sherry, chilli tincture and whiskey barrel aged bitters: a sweet, deep, spicy and rich concoction made the perfect nightcap.

Night, all – and dream of what Ireland has to offer us in the coming year!

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:

http://www.cocktailsinthecity.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

Baijiu Cocktail Week 2016

Welcome to Baijiu Cocktail Week 2016!
Every Chinese New Year, for one week, the ‘white spirit’ takes over London to test London’s bartenders with a spirit the city isn’t that familiar with – and this beginning of the Year of the Monkey isn’t different.

From the 5th to 14th of Feb 2016: 9 venues across London, 9 different cocktails, 5 of which will be reviewed in this post. The Hoodooist and friends hit the road to tour the town for Baijiu deliciousness.

Chinese New Year

Firstly, Baijiu is an intriguing spirit, never quite becoming a permanent fixture in the London bar scene – something drinks giant Diageo is trying to change – with their signature Sichuan province ‘strong aroma’ Shui Jing Fang Baijiu. Made with sorghum, rice, glutinous rice, wheat and corn, it ain’t called ‘strong aroma’ for nothing. Neat, the scent can be detected from a mile away, a flowery aromatic with hints of rice, it tastes surprisingly different, but surprisingly similar.

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Been called everything from ‘flowery’, ‘apricot’ to ‘burnt rice’ and ‘with a Maris otter barley length’, it is definitely an acquired taste. But the length and aftertaste’s similarities to scotch is undeniable. This is a smoky spirit for the harder-livered amongst us. A burnt, spicy start, with a long finish, Chinese proverbs state that it takes 300 shots to really appreciate Baijiu. The Hoodooist must admit, it’s acquired, but one he can see himself acquiring.

The perk of Baijiu Cocktail Week is seeing how various bars attempt to work with this strong, fickle spirit. Most of the cocktails this week do their best to mask the bitter-burnt flavours of the baijiu to focus on the flowery sweetness of the spirit.

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Demon, Wise, and Partner’s “600th Monkey”

Our first stop is at Demon, Wise, and Partners, in City. The 600th Monkey mixes Baijiu with Admiral Rodney rum, house Falernum, and the DWP shrub, made with honey vinegar, peanuts and vanilla pepper.

In typical DWP style, the cocktail is particularly dry and strong. Beginning with the burnt Baijiu flavour, the cocktail becomes very light with hints of vanilla, then a sudden hard punch of coffee. The finish seems to have hints of pepper, tropical fruit, and peanuts, finally with a long dry tingle. You really want to take your time with this drink, taking a big gulp will burn. The Hoodooist certainly enjoyed this drink, but it is one for specialised taste for the dry and bitter.

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68 and Boston’s “Pixiu”

The newly opened 68 & Boston gave us the Pixiu: Shui Jing Fang baijiu with Liquor 43, dark crème de cacao, Bob’s Chocolate Bitters, and strangely: Mount Gay Black Barrel rum. A salted caramel rim and chocolate pieces to garnish.

A beautifully presented cocktail – it looks gorgeous – the Pixiu makes the mistake of attempting to mask the Baijiu’s flavour instead of complementing or encouraging it. By going into the direction of chocolate sweetness, the Baijiu wars against the flavour of the cocktail.

Not going for citrus leaves a powerful clanging aroma of rum and baijiu on the nose, with a smooth caramel mouthfeel. The initial caramel from the rim is followed the by the cocktail’s noisy, infuriating mix of sweet, herbal, bitter, over-sugared, baccano of conflicting flavours. This unfortunate drink tastes like licking a bedsore. Ointment and all.

Feeling personally victimised by this drink, this is the Regina George of cocktails.

Bo Drake Soho

Bo Drake’s “Dragon’s Claw”

Next door, Bo Drake was crazy busy on a Friday. Their Dragon’s Claw was one of the more unique: Baijiu, agave nectar, elderflower, lemon and lime, hopped grapefruit bitters and lime zest – garnished with candied hibiscus and grapefruit slice.

The drink could best be described as mellowing the baijiu enough to drink it, while appreciating the entire range of flavours it presents when drunk neat – which is what made it unique through the day where other bars attempted to mask aspects of the drinks to suit the cocktail. The nectar and hopped grapefruit bitters contributed to a silkier mouthfeel. Surprisingly, one tasted the bitters more strongly than the elderflower (Thankfully, I think).

A great way to really get into Baijiu without throwing back a shot of it.

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Ping Pong’s “Dizzy Monkey”

The dim sum chain, Ping Pong, presents us with the Dizzy Monkey: Baijiu is mixed with Monkey Shoulder whisky, Hedonist cognac, triple sec, lemon juice, home-made spiced vanilla syrup, and shock inducing Electric Daisy flower rim.

This is one complicated cocktail. A friend and I had two completely different opinions on the drink, they loved the intense, very intense, citrus of the cocktail along with the powerful earthiness of the Baijiu – the Hoodooist however, could not comprehend the bizarre mix of flavours. This cocktail is targeting directly major citrus fans, the same way that the Demon, Wise, and Partners’ cocktail particularly targeted fans of dry, bitter cocktails.

The shocking tingle of the garnish was major fun though!

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The Hide’s “Darling Monkey Nutter”

Our final stop on the Baijiu Cocktail Week crawl is the Hide Bar, Bermondsey. Now, this was probably the best of the cocktails we’ve tried so far.

The Darling Monkey Nutter mixes Baijiu with a South African Chenin Blanc and monkey nut shrub made with peanuts, PX Sherry, and lemon thyme. A strange combo for sure, the nose is distinctly the burnt rice of the Baijiu, and towards the end slightly nutty and citrus. Upon the first sip, immediately you get the earthy flavour from the Baijiu, followed by a powerful citrus from the lemon thyme, the slight fruitiness of the wine, and finally a long, sweet, nutty finish.

This light, silky cocktail gets smokier as time goes on. With wonderful service from Emanuele and Francesco, the slightly sweet and earthy cocktail is definitely a treat you must enjoy this week.

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Get thyself an Uber.

Baijiu Cocktail Week is certainly one of the more enticing events of the London drinks scene, and it’s always good to see a spirit break through in London. Though an acquired taste neat, it probably is best drunk that way between courses of a tradition Chinese meal, since it’s use in cocktails is incredibly challenging.

However, the various bars did show how different aspects of the complex spirit can be highlighted with the right ingredients. Bo Drake showed us a palatable way for newbies to enjoy the entire spectrum of the spirit’s complexity. The Hide presented a soft, silky cocktail emphasising Baijiu’s sweeter flavours; whereas the Ping Pong had the burnt-bitter flavour balanced and softened with its citrus and herbal cousins.

Certainly a complex drink that demands further study in the London drink scene, I wish you all a fantastic Baijiu Cocktail Week and Happy Lunar New Year!

Baijiu Cocktail Week 2016, London
5th – 14th February 

http://www.baijiucocktailweek.co.uk/

Yelp and Covent Garden’s First London Mulled Wine Festival!

Winter is coming!

We all know what that means – mulled wine! And mulled cider. And mulled mead. Anything you can mull, really – all at London’s first Mulled Wine Festival!

Yelp Covent Garden Mulled Wine Festival

The celebrated Christmas staple will have a whole festival devoted to it at Covent Garden’s East Piazza from the 12th-14th of November – and the best part? Entry is free! If you check in with your Yelp! app, which you can download here:

Apple: app.adjust.com/ry1gff

Android: app.adjust.com/d3r3q7

So for three days, from noon to 9PM, “there will be three days of mulled wine from some of the best spots for mulled wine in the city. Plus mulled cider! And mulled mead! And mulled ice cream, mulled pops, mulled candy, mulled jelly shots and, of course, Christmas pies! (And also, some seriously amazing other eats).

It starts on November 12, the same night as Covent Garden switches on its new Christmas lights.  Designed by celebrated fashion and film production designer, Michael Howells, the new scheme takes inspiration from the mythology of mistletoe and Covent Garden’s world-renowned reputation as a special place to meet friends, family and loved ones. The iconic, 22 feet tall silver reindeer will also be returning to the East Piazza, ensuring this year’s switch on moment will once again have a stunning backdrop.

Contemporary acapella group After Party will be entertaining the crowds with an exclusive set from 6pm, which features everything from Taylor Swift to Christmas classics. And, whatever the weather, you’re guaranteed a white Christmas in Covent Garden as it will snow on switch on night to add that extra touch of magic.”

Yelp Covent Garden Mulled Wine Festival

Besides all the excellent entertainment, prepare for a massive foodie feast by:

* Battersea Pie (yelp.co.uk/biz/battersea…)

* Chez Antoinette (yelp.co.uk/biz/chez-anto…)

* Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen (yelp.co.uk/biz/heddon-st…)

* Gosnell’s Mead (gosnells.co.uk)

* L’atypique Organic Wines (latypiquewines.com)

* LIC Pops (havealic.com)

* MEATMarket (yelp.co.uk/biz/meatmarke…)

* Morelli’s Gelato (yelp.co.uk/biz/morellis-…)

* Phizz (phizz.co)

* Smith and Sinclair (smithandsinclair.co.uk)

* Thistly Cross Cider (thistlycrosscider.co.uk)

* popchips (popchips.co.uk)

and more!

Plus, the whole event supports Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Field (connection-at-stmartins.…), a charity that helps support homeless people in multiple ways. So you’ll be drinking for a good cause!

 

Entrance is free if you RSVP at the link below and check in on your Yelp App!
http://www.yelp.co.uk/events/london-yelp-and-covent-gardens-first-london-mulled-wine-festival

See you guys there!

Yelp Covent Garden Mulled Wine Festival

 

Day SIX: The 24 Hour Bar Build!

The contest London Cocktail Week was leading up to!

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24 HOUR BAR BUILD, SHOREDITCH – 10th October

N&C Showrooms, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PG

4 teams, 4 cities, 24 bartenders, 24 hours. Award winning bartending teams from around the world – London, New York, Paris, Singapore – come together to build 4 bars in 24 hours, competing to be crowned the World’s Best.

Team London (WOO!) will be led by Richard Woods of Duck & Waffle, working with Patrón Tequila – against New York (Leo Robitschek of NoMad, with Grey Goose Vodka), Paris (Carina Soto Velasquez of Candelaria, with Bombay Sapphire Gin), and Singapore (Joel Fraser of the Cufflink Club, with Bacardi Rum).

From concept to cocktails in 24hrs, which city will you crown the World’s Best?

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These 24 star bartenders knocked it out of the ballpark with their incredible bar concepts and cocktail menus, from first entry, let’s see what we got with Home Team London!

#LONDONCALLING

London 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

London’s design seemed to have two distinct influences, one being the Team Leader, Rich Woods’ Duck & Waffle bar, with it’s London skyline in the bar’s ‘window’; the other being the outer barrio feel with Mexican influences with team’s sponsor, Patrón Tequila. The bar, with it’s atmosphere and music, captured your modern London bar scene, and patrons seemed to sink right into their comfort zone. Familiar, with twisted classics for drinks, with London’s sudden developing love for agave spirits.

A drink that stood out was Nathan Shearer (of Callooh Callay), knocking out fantastic Negronis using Patrón Reposado, Martini Rosso, and Amaro. Almost a deadringer for the classic. One of the Hoodooist’s favourite drinks of the night.

London Patron 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

Team London’s Negroni!

Not to be outdone, Team New York set up a massive stall up west.

#PaulsBoutiqueNYC

NYC 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

Again, two major influences here: Graffiti and hip hop calling up the infamous 8os for that distinct NYC feel, and the sleek, minimalist bar for Grey Goose vodka’s style. A fun gambling alley next door to double or nothing your drinks token with a game of dice amps up the bar’s seediness with lightwork of NYC’s longtime love affair with vodka.

Drinks were a lot quicker to dish out here, the Block Party gave us Grey Goose and watermelon juice; and the Kool Hero Aid gave us Grey Goose le Citron, St. Germain, and Kool Aid for a sweet, fruity long drink.

NYC Grey Goose 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

NYC’s mixers

Standing up to NYC’s minimalism, Singapore goes all out and throws us into the ring!

#TeamSingapore!

Singapore 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

From boxing arcade games, to a straight up boxing ring, complete with bartenders in costume for a fight, inspiration obviously comes from Singapore’s rich boxing industry. Certainly a fun set up, with drinks coming pre-bottled in themed glasses.

Sweeter and juicier fitness themed drinks from Bacardi rum included the Bacardi-Ade: Bacardi Superior, Martini Rosso, tea, citrus, pineapple and ‘ringside electrolyte bitters’; to the Ringside Breezer: Bacardi Superior, dry maraschino, orange, lime, ‘easy breezy’.

Singapore Bacardi 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

Team Singapore’s themed cocktails!

Finally, a major contender of the evening was Team Paris, going all out to cross the Channel with Francophone flair:

#LeGrandBleu

Paris 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

Bringing out the disco ball, turning up the French hip hop and the wearing the Tricolore, Le Grand Bleu was winning points with tophatted host pouring champagne for everyone throughout the evening. This team’s design went all out with the pizzazz and flashes of sponsor Bombay Sapphire Gin’s signature blue.

The cocktails were, the Hoodooist must admit, his favourite. *distant yelling of ‘traitor!’*
The Like a Virgin twisted the Dry Martini with spice mix and olive for a spicy, lip-smacking short drink to take your time with; and the excellent Gold Digger; Bombay Sapphire gin, cognac, pandan, sesame, cordial, Amontillado, sherry.

Initially caramelly sweet with powerful sherry and cordial, it gives way to the sesame and herbal gin, finally ending with an effervescent pandan finish.

Bombay Sapphire Paris 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

The Parisian offerings, Like a Virgin on the left, the Gold Digger right.

The night wore on, more tokens exchanged at each bar until tokens were to be counted to see which of the 4 cities outranked the others, and lo and behold, Team London’s #LondonCalling once again leads the world’s bar scene!

Were we all a bit biased? Probably. Do we regret it? Highly doubt it.

Still, that Gold Digger tho.

Paris Bombay Sapphire 24 Hour Bar Build London Cocktail Week

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Six of London Cocktail Week 2015! 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 5th to 11th October!
*Tune in tomorrow for our recap of The best of the week!*

Day FIVE: Soho Weekend!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the fifth day of London Cocktail Week 2015! 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 ’15.

Today we look at October 9th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled Soho!

London Cocktail Week Green Bar Hotel Cafe Royal

The Aged American

1.30PM:

The Green Bar at Hotel Cafe Royal is always a good place to start!

The green tiled surrounds of the venue and the gorgeous bar in the centre offer an Aged American: Maker’s Mark bourbon, 20 year old port, Briottet figue liqueur, egg white. A great drink to start with this early. A balance of sweet and citrus, slightly velvety, easy to down. Vanilla and light notes of rye spice, but stronger orange and fig – bit of toffee.

A great drink if you want to start off with something light.

London Cocktail Week World Class Bar

L-R: The Old Fashioned Date Night; Hops & Glory

3.30PM:

After lunch at the Brasserie Zedel, the Hoodooist finally makes it to the The World Class London Cocktail Week Hub – hosting masterclasses and being hosted by several World Class bartenders each day – this is a must-see of the week.

Two of the cocktails on offer were the Hops & Glory, and the Old Fashioned Date Night:

The Hops & Glory provided Tanqueray 10 gin, shaken with London IPA syrup, Italian vermouth and lemon – for a crisp, but exceedingly smooth and crisp Martini. The full body of the Tanqueray 10 and the malty sweetness of the IPA syrup make this a winning citrus cocktail that even non-Martini drinkers absolutely must try.

The Old Fashioned Date Night  brings Ron Zacapa rum, popcorn and cola infusion, chocolate bitters and a date garnish – After the first sweet hit from the Ron Zacapa, there is an immediate procession through cola, then a long moment of popcorn, and intense bitterness. This drink might tend toward a lot more bitter than expected about reading the menu – and demands time be taken with it.

Off to the Blind Pig next door!

London Cocktail Week Blind Pig Social Eating House

L-R: The Canhattan; the Monkey Shoulder Snakebite

4.30PM:

The Blind Pig at the Social Eating House gets busy. Fast. Getting early or managing to book a table is best advice. Luckily, 4.30 is 15 minutes before the crowd roll in, and the bar suddenly goes from quiet to bustling.

There are two drinks on offer here:

The Canhattan offers Monkey Shoulder whisky, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and ‘canned maraschino cherry’. Expecting the unexpected from any Gareth Evans concoction, the Hoodooist was still surprised by the presentation – not over the top, but still fun! The cocktail’s beautiful nose thanks to the Monkey Shoulder’s winter spices and malt – palate of cloves, berries, dried fruit, honey, and then orange from the vermouth make this a fantastic Manhattan that is neither too sweet nor bitter, with a bit of kick.

The Monkey Shoulder Snakebite was a surprise! Monkey Shoulder whisky, pear liqueur, ale reduction, cider syrup, lemon juice, citrusy, malty and velvety, sweet. Bursts of spice and butter come clean through the cider with a fresh fruit finish. A long and heavy drink, and certainly an enjoyable one.

London Cocktail Week The Vault Milroy's Soho

The Prohibition

6PM:

Today’s drinks have been mostly light, citrusy, sweet, and usually involving some hop-related ingredient – so it was time for the Hoodooist to return to his roots with The Prohibition by The Vault Soho.

Whisky, dry vermouth, homemade Amer Picon, cherry liqueur, and orange bitters make this a bitter, but addictive cocktail. Rye spice and dried fruits is cut through with liquorice and bitterness before being followed but a wave of cherry liqueur and ending with the orange bitters. If you enjoy them strong and bitter (with a hint of fruity sweetness), this is the one for you. Great job by the Vault.

London Cocktail Week Shackfuyu

The Comin’atcha

7PM:

So the food at Shackfuyu is fantastic. After spectacular okonomiyaki styled prawn toast and smoked eel tostada, we turned to the Matcha Comin’atcha: Gin infused with matcha powder, lime and cucumber garnish.

I wanted to like this drink, since it was a refreshing polarity to the previous one – but the matcha doesn’t really do much to make it different from a gin and tonic. In any case, it’s a great 5 pound G&T, and worth popping by as a break with their amazing bar snacks.

London Cocktail Week Percy and Founders

The I Bee-long To You

8:15PM:

And so we find ourselves at Percy and Founders.

Something about this place, is reminiscent of ‘That Girl‘ in high school. The one you and your friends suddenly think of in conversation, but for some reason you just cannot for the life of you remember her name. Or her hair colour. Or if she was in your classes. Arrested Development fans might know her as Egg.

Egg was also responsible for the I Bee-long To You: Glenfarclas 15 whisky, Drambuie, lemon juice, honey, English Bitter Manzanilla.

I can’t think of a way to describe this cocktail without being disrespectful.

ON THE PLUS SIDE: Day Five has been dominated by a wide variety of cocktails: from the sweet and smooth at the Green Bar and Blind Pig, to the deep and bitter at the Vault and the World Class London Cocktail Week Hub, to the bright and refreshing at Shackfuyu. Soho has outdone itself this year with what it has on offer, just make sure to make reservations!

Tonight, the incredible international contest with bartending teams from across the globe, pitting city against city at the International 24 Hour Bar Build! Tune in for that recap tomorrow!

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Five of London Cocktail Week 2015! 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 5th to 11th October!
*Tune in tomorrow for our coverage of the International 24 Hour Bar Build!*

Day FOUR: Dalstonbound!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the fourth day of London Cocktail Week 2015! 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 ’15.

Today we look at October 8th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled Dalston and Whitechapel!

London Cocktail Week Original Sin

The Wanderer

7:45PM:

We already know that the Hoodooist loves Original Sin. A quieter evening, seated at the bar; the LCW offering, The Wanderer is presented: Kilchoman whisky, amontillado sherry, lemon, orange, pomegranate molasses.

My, this is beautiful. Balanced, toward sweet, but not sugary. Strikes a fantastic partnership with what feels like the Kilchoman Machir Bay. Maritime brine and smoke cut through the pomegranate molasses and light orange, all tempered by the amontillado.

A well-balanced drink that doesn’t patronise the drinker. A must try this cocktail week.

London Cocktail Week Ruby's

The Tropical Italian

8:30PM:

Finding oneself at Ruby’s Dalston, service is once again welcoming and warm.

As in our full review of Ruby’s, classics are very well done, but house cocktails tend to falter into extremes. The Tropical Italian (aka, Mambo Italiano): Campari, mango, chinotto, topped with prosecco, is no different.

The chinotto isn’t communicated well, the Campari and prosecco dominate the cocktail, with a bit of mango coming through between. Sadly, this cocktail went unfinished since the Campari was overpowering when combo’d with mango (this is coming from a Negroni fan, for the record).

Hope this was just a one-time mishap – otherwise atmosphere and service and fantastic.

London Cocktail Week Mussel Men

The Golf Gin Fizz

9:30PM:

Chomping through some excellent scallops, the Golf Gin Fizz is served at Mussel Men: Eden Mill Golf gin for a classic Gin Fizz.

A long and refreshing gin fizz, thoroughly enjoyable on a hot day. The lemongrass coming through might tip it over to the sweet side, in which case ask to mind the sugar.

Make sure to nip in for the seafood! Mussel Men will be hosting several events through the week for this LCW #ScottishInvasion series.

London Cocktail Week 46 and Mercy

The Blessed Thistle

10:30PM:

Down in the basement at 46 & Mercy (make sure to say hi to Mat), another favourite of the evening was being served: the Blessed Thistle brought together Ketel One vodka, Cocchi Americano vermouth washed with smoked pork fat & thyme, sherry vinegar.

Spectacular, everything is taken into consideration here (well, the nose can be a bit strong, if you want to nitpick). A fascinating twist on a vodka Martini, the washing lends to the cocktail a velvety smoothness and ease of drinking, as well as depth and herbaceous quality that goes to well with the floral Ketel One vodka. The sherry vinegar is a little bit of cheeky kick. An ambitious, and very successful, drink.

Another must visit, and very close to the Spitalfield Cocktail Village if needed.

If seated on the reclining chairs, don’t lean forward. Really.

London Cocktail Week Apples and Pears

The #borntoparty

11PM:

Okay, Apples and Pears wins point for atmosphere: aftar admiring the artwork, Hoodooist and co just became drunkenly absorbed into the classic Tom & Jerry and Merrie Melodies cartoons on the big screen. Because why the hell not.

The fun vibe extends to the cocktail, the #borntoparty: Courvoisier VS cognac, orange liqueur, Cocchi Americano vermouth, blackcurrant and vanilla tea syrup. Coming with a ‘polaroid’ of, um, Napoleon (give it a second).

Serving a cold drink in a balloon glass is a long time peeve of the Hoodooist’s, but if sticking to the theme, might as well go all the way. The drink has a bit too much going on, though. The blackcurrant and vanilla do come through, but once all the flavours mingle, it starts to taste like a liquid Curly Wurly – which, if you enjoy, you’ll love this.

Definitely a dessert cocktail, with a syrupy texture, and caramelly flavour.

 

1AM:

The Hoodooist has to stay up and type, taking on Soho needs an early morning.

But first, more pizza.

5 bars today, and we see some stand out winners like Original Sin and 46 & Mercy, and evidence that sometimes classics are classics with good reason with Mussel Men. Great selection.

 

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Four of London Cocktail Week 2015! 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 5th to 11th October!
*Tune in tomorrow for our coverage of Soho and Fitzrovia!*