The Hoodooist’s Guide to: Sicily

The island at the Southern tip of Sicily has been a centre of controversy for centuries. Repeatedly taken over by several cultures, from the natives, to Sikels, Greeks, Phoenicians, Moors, Arabs, Levantines, finally becoming part of Roman Empire – to the modern day war between the law and the mafia, Sicily is constantly roiling and in movement.

It doesn’t seem so when looked down at from its many mountain ranges, its vineyards sloping up the volcanic black soil of Etna: their primordial stillness is ignorant of the wars of men below.

But this clashing of cultures has given Sicily its rich architectural and culinary culture, and makes the island the Hoodooist’s favourite spot in Italy to visit over the years; earthy, fiery, and full of life.

Choosing which cities to write about of the dozen or so cities on the island he’s visited is not easy, so he’s gone for the ones with the more striking offerings. (I’m sorry, the rest, you’re beautiful, but did not make the list.)

Let’s start East, in ‘Greek Sicily’, in the much ignored village of;

Castelmola

From tourist trap Taormina, grab a shuttle up the steep hill to the village of Castelmola. Tiny lanes made of steps and ladders wind labyrinthine up here in the clouds – and smoking Mt. Etna dominates the massive landscape. Seats and tables hang over edges of rocky outcrops and hills, teetering over the vertigo-inducing heights.

Castelmola Taormina Sicily Travel Guide

While here, after spending the afternoon wandering the streets, make your way to the infamous Bar Turrisi – notorious for its choice in décor. Legend has it the original owner, after years of a childless household, finally sired several sons, and thus dedicated the bar to Priapus, images of frolicking satyrs and enormous wooden phalli.

This sudden virility was attributed to their celebrated elisir d’amore: the Vino alla Mandorla. This sweet almond wine is an absolute must to buy when in the area, and is *highly* addictive. Now its aphrodisiac properties are up for debate, but if the myths about the Greco-Roman wine god are right, “what love is there without wine?”

A 75 cl bottle can be purchased at 25 Euros, with a choice of the regular, and the – um – themed bottle.

http://www.turrisibar.it/

Castelmola Taormina Sicily Travel Guide
It is a long but worthwhile trip from Eastern Greek Sicily to Western Arab Sicily, but worth it. Notice how the landscape, the architecture, the plants and flowers all seem to change on the way – desert and Middle Eastern flowers seem to burst into bloom on the West and Northern coasts, and welcome you to the wine city of;

 

Marsala

Now we’re talking! Marsala is a beautiful little orange-hued town, and as the name suggests, wine is its lifeblood, and the canapes served while tasting will risk you filling yourself up before dinner!

Marsala Sicily Travel Guide

After visiting the Roman Lilybaeum with it’s mosaics, baths, snail covered fields and snakes, cross the street from the main entrance to stop by the Assud for lunch, serving up Sicilian classics like octopus with tomato, basil and garlic, as well as Sicilian takes on your classic hamburger made with Madonie beef with a glass of Grillo.

On the way out, grab some of their organic chocolates, designed for various need from ‘Energy’ to ‘Lust’, and continue on Via XI Maggio to the city centre.

http://www.assud.eu/

Marsala food Sicily Travel Guide

En route to the city centre with its Praetorial Palace and massive cathedrals, pop by one of the town’s many enotecas. Enoteca Lo Sbarco, like the others in town, will take you through various Marsala wines, while explaining the production process, and serving various canapes paired with each glass.

The owner loves her some Martinez Marsala wines, particularly the traditional dry 20 year old Marsala Vergine Riserva that sells for 27 Euros, and the sweeter Marsala Superiore Riserva Dolce that the UK is more acquainted with for about 14 Euros.

Marsala Wine Sicily Travel Guide

Why not grab yourself some Sicilian delicacies here before leaving? No tourist can resist the incredible Crema di Pistacchio (“It is Pistachio Nutella!” She announces, and she isn’t kidding. You will eat whole jars at once), or the almond Crema di Mandorla.
And don’t forget the local Marsala speciality: Gelo di Marsala Superiore Dolce DOP, a marmalade made using sweet Marsala wine!

http://www.enotecalosbarco.it/

Marsala Wine Sicily Travel Guide

After an afternoon aperitivo of Ciccio wine spritzer at the beautiful deli Ciacco Putia Gourmet outside the Chiesa del Purgatorio and its chuckling fountain (http://www.ciaccoputia.it/), make your way down Via Abele Damiani to the Panificio Ragona. This little family-run panificio is a hit with the local grans, who flock to buy their Marsala-renowned arancine, probably the best in town! Selling about a dozen different arancine, which choices from prosciutto, to eggplant, to 4 cheese and pistachio, you’re spoiled for choice!

Marsala Food Sicily Travel Guide

Grab yourself a batch, and maybe like us, stumble into the town hall square, where four enormous fig trees form a canopy over a fountain of the wine god raising the grapes that keep the city alive above his head.

https://www.facebook.com/panificioragona.francesco

Marsala Sicily Travel Guide

Before you leave! After watching the sun set over the Western coast, take a walk down Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, casually called wine avenue, with all the enotecas sprawling onto the street. Pop by La Sirena Ubriaca, and sit at the bar, for a wine tasting with the wonderful Sonya and Silvia. Seated at the bar, you wouldn’t have to order a plate of nameless canapes, instead you will be served each crostino that is paired with the wines, from orange and tuna, to garlic and almond pastes, to bottarga topped with sun dried tomatoes and pistachio pesto.

Marsala Wine Sicily Travel Guide

Over the next few hours, this ended up becoming dinner as Sonya allowed us free rein over the bread and toppings. Wines and unlimited bites came to 30 Euros each (22 quid? Pretty decent deal for four wines and enough food to make dinner. Canapes are a food group now).

http://www.lasirenaubriaca.it/

Marsala Sicily Travel Guide

A sad goodbye to Marsala the next morning takes us to a city of which Sonya said, “If you can drive there, you can drive anywhere”;

 

Palermo

Palermo is bonkers. Colourful, wonderful, and bonkers. Palermo is literally the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen.

Type As beware, since plans rarely go as expected in Palermo. Notably, Palermo observes siesta far more religiously than the other cities the Hoodooist had visited on the island.

Siesta can vary from 1PM to 4PM, or from noon to 7PM. When a restaurant says they are open from 8PM to midnight, what they mean is they’re open at the time if they feel like opening. Churches will lock their doors on the reverent. Always have a plan B and nurture your flexibility. Stop lights really don’t mean a thing, as cars will just keep driving, so just step out on to the road to stop them. Be confident about it, and you won’t get hit.

Public transport can be a bit dodgy – cabs can only be hailed at taxi ranks which are found at popular sites (be sure to decide on the price before entering, and make sure you ask for change before paying), and even locals will warn you about safety on the buses. Oh, and don’t take the rickshaws or horse carriages (Londoners already know this, though).

Really, being assertive is the only way you can make it around Palermo.

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide

If you’re in the area of the Teatro Massimo or the Politeama, make sure to pop by the little panificio I Cuochini. Now, the venue might not look like much, but grab some tamballini di pasta, paticcino and arancine – deep-fried comfort food, basically. I Cuochini hasn’t been open for nearly 200 years for nothing!

http://icuochini.com/

Devour your deep fried goodness en route to the La Preferita espresso bar for a coffee and dessert http://lapraferitabar.jimdo.com/ – or to Il Gusto di Dionisio for wine https://www.facebook.com/Il-gusto-di-dionisio-366993793387319/timeline/

 

Walk through Vucciria Market and find yourself in the centre of the city at the Quatro Canti, surrounded by its churches, palazzos and glorious Fontana Pretoria, the one major site in Palermo that harks to its Greco-Roman past.

If you’re an architecture buff, see if you can contain the overwhelming number of cathedrals here are you wander the tiny lanes that spread like ivy over, under and into each other, occasionally bursting into markets and church squares.

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide

Grab lunch at the Locanda Del Gusto, taste their inventive use of vegetable ash and charcoal, or spleen over focaccia, as well as more traditional eggplant parmigiana, paired with Etna wine. Complete your meal with an orange biscotti along with bitter orange Amara digestivo.

Service is wonderful, and server Franco is delightful, and will walk you through the menu and do his best to ensure a great lunch. Worth popping by.

http://www.quintocantohotel.com/index.php/en/officina-del-gusto-restaurant-palermo-centre.html

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Cocktail

Before reaching the Palermo Cathedral, make sure to pop by the Caffeteria del Corso on the (mostly) pedestrianised Via Vittorio Emmanuele for the café’s popular granita con panna. From mixed fruit, to watermelon, to almond and coffee – there are several flavours to choose and mix, and top with sweet ricotta.

Turning South, wander through the noisy Ballaro Market with its huge catches of swordfish and squid, and eventually find yourself out West in front of the Byzantine sector of Palermo.

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Food

The Arabian influence on the architecture of the San Giovanni degli Eremiti is unmistakable, and wander through the beautiful, maze-like gardens – bursting with cacti, hibiscus, palm trees that canopy over the crumbling stone archways and pillars. Do take the hard hat provided if you climb the bell tower (you will need it), and though it is short, it demands far more energy than you’d expect (this is coming from a compulsive bell-tower climber). Primarily because of the difficult descent, where your head with repeatedly hit the step above you. Not for anyone with weak knees. However the view from the top is to die for.

Do resist ringing the bell.

Do not run like idiots through the back like the Hoodooist to escape angry priests.

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Food

North is the ludicrously beautiful Palatine Chapel and Norman Pallazzo to strike you dumb with its beauty, and immediately north of that, a must visit: the Pasticceria Cappello on Via Colonna Rotta. You are making a big mistake if you miss this. Besides the exquisite service, the Crema di Pistacchio cake, the chocolate mousse with cereal base, and those cannolis are to DIE for. Grab an espresso as well, and enjoy the sugar.

https://www.facebook.com/pasticceriacappello

 

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Whisky Cocktail

When the sun sets, go down to the Western Kalsa, by the port and botanical gardens, to see Christopher at the Bump Cocktail Bar on Via Cagliari – expect a smashing Dry Manhattan with Rye, or a Lagavulin Old Fashioned with a smoking sprig of rosemary, or ask him to knock something up with Cynar to get a fantastic Sicilian twist on a Julep. Having travelled Europe for cocktail tours, chat with him about fellow London bartenders from Luca of the Nightjar or Palermo-hailing Conigliaro of London’s 69 Colebrooke RowBar Termini, Seymour’s Parlour, or Zetter Townhouse Lounge.

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Whisky Cocktail

Christopher is a wonderfully skilled bartender who would not be amiss in a cocktail bar in London, and I wish him and Bump the best!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bump/452444438181253

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Cocktail Whisky

Move onto the Palermo equivalent of Soho at Via Chiavettieri, where several bars spill out onto the pavements serving small antipasti with Negronis (for 5 Euros), wines and beers, with the occasional live music, a fun spot to hang out and get smashed before a late dinner (dinners in Sicily are wonderfully late compared to London).

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Food

At midnight, stumble into Carizzi d’Amuri for a fig and ham antipasti, and a gorgonzola, mushroom and truffle smothered steak cooked to perfection – a restaurant I would envy to have in London.  Service is excellent, and since by now its 2AM, do ask the bar to call you a cab back to the hotel.

http://www.carizzidamuri.it/index.php?lang=it

Or perhaps pop down to Kursaal Kalhesa, a coast-side bar/restaurant/club/art-space that would fit directly in Shoreditch, for a sea-urchin tagliatelle and Martini. A cavernous venue built into follies and caves by the seaside, opening up to the night sky.

http://www.kursaalkalhesa.com/

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide Food

The by ways and villages that sprawl across the salt pans, orchards and mountain ranges of Sicily still have more to offer, and the Hoodooist is hellbent on devouring it all. If you dream of the centre of the old world, you may have found it.

Just make sure you’ve got your tropical strength insect repellent on you.

Seriously, we’re not kidding about that.

 saluti!

Palermo Sicily Travel Guide

Winter 2014 Mega-Post!

Here it is! The obligatory Winter MEGA POST!

It’s December, and we all need something to perk us up with the obscenely cold weather London’s been having. So the Hoodooist thought, hey, what the hell, let’s cover some of the best winter themes London has to offer in bars, winter pop-ups, cocktail recipes and gift ideas!

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Bars with Festive Cocktails

For a pretty traditionally festive drink, try Thank F**k It’s Buttered by Loves Company (Click HERE for full review): A spiced hot buttered rum (butter-washed Zacapa 23) with lemon and cloves. Absolutely excellent. Tackle it on an empty stomach this, this is a heavy drink.

Got to recommend BUMP Caves (Click HERE for full review) – all done up in Christmas lights and a beautiful tree – for a Flip Out: Bourbon, Port, Amaro and Fino Sherry; slightly herbal, heavy and sweet, with a nice kick from the bourbon.

On the other hand, maybe something way less traditional? Agaveria El Nivel’s (Click HERE for full review) winter drink, the El Funibundo, let’s you choose your own tequila, with winter berries, pomegranate and hibiscus. Fruity and seasonal, with a twist.

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Gaucho Broadgate's Winter Terrace

Gaucho Broadgate’s Winter Terrace

 

Winter Pop-Ups

Another option? Take advantage of the loads of winter terraces and chalet pop ups sprouting around London this season.

The Gaucho Broadgate Winter Terrace (Click HERE for full review) is one of my favourite winter pop ups this season with a spectacularly warm outdoor area, cosy with heat lamps, hot water bottles and blankets galore. Hot Smoked Apple; Belvedere Vodka, fresh pressed apple juice, a touch of Ardbeg 10 yr, and a cinnamon rim. Hot apple and cinnamon is always a good winter warmer, the vodka giving it the right alcohol content and that warmth of the whiskey is just right to not overpower.

The Lodge d’Argent chalet pop up at the Coq d’Argent in City takes pride Hennessy Cognac cocktails, or neat Hennessy with cigar pairings. Going all out with the chalet theme makes the Lodge a great spot to relax with a complex Romeo y Julieta De-Luxe to smoke, paired with Hennessy Paradis Cognac.

The tented Nordic wonderland from last year is back! WigWamBam at the Queen of Hoxton is a much more informal chill-out zone serving a variety of hot drinks, from mulled wines to hot toddies, eventually breaking out the massive BBQ in the middle of the tent for massive meals. Get here early as it opens, before the crowd fills out the entire space.

Finally, why not pop by the Floridita Rum Chalet pop up (Click HERE for full review) for a Ski Break: rich, dark hot chocolate, with Plantation 5yr and cinnamon. Warm, slightly spicy, slightly bitter, slightly sweet, all indulgent. A very short drink in a teacup – but that’s all you need, this is a very heavy drink.

 

Floridita's Ski Break

Floridita’s Ski Break

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Cocktails at Home

But hey, it’s cold. Maybe you’d rather stay in and assault that liquor cabinet and knock something up for yourself. And let’s face it, mulling wine can be *such* a process. Cocktails this year, kids.

An easily prepared drink that the Hoodooist particularly enjoys is a Vermouth Sour and twist. You want the Antica Formula Carpano red vermouth for this – wonderfully festive with intense flavours of orange peel and marmalade, winter spices and some warming oaky woodiness. A long, dry finish of cherries, a tannic red wine, date-sugariness and bitter oranges makes it a great choice for aperitif before a big winter dinner.

Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth

Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth

The Hoodooist’s Winter Sour

Ingredients:

50 mls Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth
20 mls Fresh Lemon Juice
20 mls Simple Syrup
Garnish: Twist of Orange peel

Method:
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.
Shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with orange peel.

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Who wants to add a little Parisian chic to their Winter? If so, check out the wonderful European Ambassador of Grand Marnier, Julien LaFond’s recipe for:

The French Artist

The French Artist

The French Artist

Ingredients:
30ml GRAND MARNIER® Cordon Rouge
15ml VSOP Cognac
15ml French Dry Vermouth
20ml Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
20ml Homemade Redcurrant & Vanilla Syrup (or Grenadine Syrup)
20ml Egg White
Garnish: Redcurrants coated with icing sugar

Method:
Pour all ingredients into a shaker
Dry shake (Shake without ice), to create the emulsion
Add some cubed ice and shake vigorously
Double strain into a coupette glass and add the garnish

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But hey, maybe you want something surprising. The Hoodooist greatly enjoys a Scandinavian winter, and definitely a Scandinavian Christmas – and one can hardly go wrong with Tanqueray No. 10 anyway. Bring a bit of Sweden into your home with dill in Gareth Evans’ (WORLD CLASS™ UK Winner and bar manager of City Social, Click HERE for full review) Scandinavian Martini:

Dill or No Dill

Dill or No Dill

DILL OR NO DILL

Ingredients:
50ml Tanqueray No. TEN Gin
15ml Elderflower syrup
10ml Fresh lemon juice
30ml Cucumber water
2 Sprigs of dill
1 Pinch of smoked salt

Method:
Place all ingredients into a chilled shaker and shake.
Fine strain into a coupette.
Garnish with sprig of dill pegged to the glass

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And finally, for something a little weirder by Matthew Armitage of the Craft Cocktail Co. @ Grotto Outre, Shoreditch.

The Mince Pie Martini

The Mince Pie Martini

The Mince Pie Martini

Ingredients:
50ml minced meat mix infused vodka
1 teaspoon of apricot jam
1 teaspoon of Mirabelle plum jam
25ml Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup (1 part caster sugar: 1 part water)
Garnish: Lemon twist

 

Method for making Minced Meat Infused Vodka:

Place 100g minced meat mix in a sealed container with 1 bottle of vodka. Leave to infuse for a week. Strain through a sieve to remove the larger pieces and then through a coffee filter to remove the small pieces. Once it’s strained pour back into the vodka bottle. Ready when you need it.

Method for Mince Pie Martini:

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add cubed ice and shake. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

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Gift Ideas; PRESENTS, SUCH PRESENTS

T’is the season TO BE SHOWERED WITH GIFTS.

You can’t make the drinks above with a decent cocktail set, can ya? And if you’re gonna make ‘em, might as well do it with a little pizazz.

The cocktail obsessive craves a well-crafted cocktail set, and I can’t think of one that beats the Alexander & James Japanese Cocktail Set Christmas Gift Pack. This cocktail set is the epitome of luxurious bar wear and is the ultimate gift for cocktail aficionados.

A&J Japanese Cocktail Set Christmas Gift Pack

A&J Japanese Cocktail Set Christmas Gift Pack

Inside this set:

1 x Usagi Heavyweight Cobbler Shaker
1 x Natural Wood Muddler
1 x Premium Julep Strainer
1 x Copper measure
1 x Teardrop Barspoon
1 x Seamless Paddle Mixing Glass

This little piece of heaven is available from Alexander & James priced at £180.00.

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Grand Marnier Limited Edition

Grand Marnier Limited Edition

Grand Marnier’s Cognac-based orange deliciousness is a perfect winter liqueur that can be added to any hot chocolate for a bit of spice. And their limited edition Parisian ‘Marinière’ bottle celebrates the coming of Christmas with a striped Breton design worn by sailors and popularised by Coco Chanel. Modern and playful, the couture style label looks showcases the rich history of the brand through the family crest, while the blue, white and red striped ribbon that runs around the uniquely shaped bottle reinforces Grand Marnier’s home place – in the heart of France.

This annual treat is available from luxury retailer Harvey Nichols, London priced at £26.05 for a 70cl bottle.

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Kindzmarauli Wine

Kindzmarauli Wine

And finally, if wine’s more your thing – skip the predictable Marsala for something more unique. The Hoodooist’s personal choice is the sweeter, beautifully dark, purple-red Kindzmarauli wine from Georgia. Made with Saperavi grapes; this soft, rounded and sticky (and lip-colouring!) wine is an excellent pair with cheeses and rich Christmassy cakes. Notes of damson jam, berries, spice and soft tannins.

Prices vary amongst wine stores, but can be purchased at Hedonism Wines for about £13.00 for a bottle.

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WHEW. That was a long post. But winter comes with winter goodness that must be enjoyed!

So go forth and take advantage of the festive drinks at London’s bars and pop-ups, or make your own cocktails at home while you think of gifts for friends and family (or hell, yourself. It’s cold outside, you deserve it.)

Enjoy your Winter, London! And Happy AlcoHolidays!

 

The Hoodooist’s Guide to: Stockholm

Don’t let Stockholm’s reputation for a quiet nightlife fool you; this city houses some spectacular bars that put most of London to shame.

But before we jump to that, let’s talk about Stockholm’s geography for a second. Much like London, Stockholm is divided into a North and South by the river, but unlike London, the difference between the two is much, much more obvious. That and the spotting of inhabited islands in the water.

The North coast is far more modernised setting, devoted to brand stores and hotels; the South a bohemian zone with nightlife and burlesque bars, not to mention vintage markets. The islands tend to be more public tourist sector – by which I mean Old Town is dominated by the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral, surrounded by the tourist stores selling Viking paraphernalia and souvenirs; whereas the Djurgården Island houses massive parks and museums.

When not bargaining for deals in the South, the North and the Islands host some amazing spots for food and drink.

Stockholm Kaffe

The Kaffekoppen Crypt

Cafes in Stockholm without a doubt come with some of the best fruit pies, served with a healthy drizzle (read: flood) of hot vanilla sauce. What you want to check out is Kaffekoppen in Old Town, a basement spot deep in a crypt for warmth, moments away from the bustling streets in front of the Palace and Cathedral. Service is slow, but the pie, cinnamon bun, and mulled wine are worth it. Better still is the North’s Sturekatten, a cat-themed café that is essentially your granny’s-living-room meets hotel-buffet, and all awesome. Before grabbing a seat, queue to pay for the dessert selection ranging from Swedish specials like semi-sweet saffron buns and cream cakes. Sturekatten is a must when visiting the city, a great rest-stop from the brand street 2 minutes away.

Sturekatten's Konditori

Sturekatten’s Konditori

Impeccable service and traditional Scandinavian food can be found in Djurgården’s restaurant, the Ulla Winbladh. Not particularly easy to find, or get to, this little cottage is well worth the trek. Between the incredible gravad lax and the elk stew, there is next to nothing to complain about here. Sober, quiet, perfect for a relaxed dinner.

Honourable mention
: the Marie Laveau in the South – Lousiana meets Stockholm (but with cocktails you want to avoid).

Stockholm Ulla

Ulla Winbladh

Finally, the cocktails!

Stockholm doesn’t have a huge cocktail culture, but there are some great bars to be checked out. The South houses the wonderful high-rise bar, Och Himlen Därtill, which besides giving you a great view of the city, perfectly encapsulates Stockholm’s nightlife. Ordered, relaxed, and full with a massive mix of people from various walks and backgrounds. Himlen offers a short, but varied cocktail list, like the twist on a Whiskey Sour: The Elk’s Own, for a warming evening drink. Or the Ginger Fusion for a spry, spiced drink.

Stockholm Himlen

Och Himlen Därtill’s view

To splurge a bit more, make your way to the acclaimed Grand Hotel’s Cadier Bar. If I was reviewing this place like I normally would, it’d be a  *****, *****, *****. Incredible service, spectacular venue, and what a cocktail list! Lengthy, with its share of innovative drinks – a Grand Manhattan that was difficult to rival, and a Louisiana Snake Bite that does London’s recent trend of chilli drinks and puts it to shame – fantastic. Even better when you suddenly find yourself amidst a group of dignitaries in ballgowns and military sashes – the Cadier is the place to mingle, see and be seen – with drinks at about 14 pounds each.

Stockholm Cadier

Grand Hotel’s Cadier Bar

Honourable mention: Bröderna Olssons Garlic & Shots, cousin of Soho’s G&S for shots and metal on the speakers.

Avoid: The impressive-looking Berns Hotel cocktail bar gets an awful lot of attention in Stockholm, but turns out to be rather disappointing. Save your kronor.

Stockholm makes an excellent weekend to splurge on food, though sometimes a good cocktail can be difficult to find, so here is a handy little Hoodooist map to find your way to the nearest Swedish drinking den!

Skål!

 

The Hoodooist’s Guide to: Greenwich.

West Greenwich, specifically.

The area around the Cutty Sark is indeed overrun by tourists, especially on weekends, but at least the good spots aren’t. So here’s a guide to avoid the myriad of tourist traps in the area!

Sure, most people come in for Greenwich Market, and it is worth the shot if it’s your first time – but otherwise, there’s very little to miss other than the occasional visit from Comptoir Gourmand (best Pistachio Financier!), the Norse Baker, or Sambal Shiok. If you’re lucky, the Greenwich Food Festival (REVIEW) will be back!

Greenwich Market

In terms of markets, whereas the popular Greenwich Market is exactly the same every week, try your hand at haggling over vintage jewellery and furs at the Clocktower Market, instead – placed between the Greenwich Picturehouse (still one of the Hoodooist’s favourite cinemas in the city) and the Clocktower, with its Zodiac mosaic to check out.

Otherwise, before making your way to the sights, pop by Grown Ups @ Black Vanilla (Click HERE for Review!) on College Approach, for a cocktail and sorbet pairing to take the edge of the summer heat.
After, an exploration of the Painted Hall at the University proceeding to a picnic at the Park is the way to go, grass and Prosecco certainly can’t go amiss – not with some of the most incredible views in the city. In the summer it is worthwhile following up to the Roman ruins, and the especially remarkable rose garden, as alternatives to the Observatoryand Queen’s House. You’ve still got the options of the Ranger’s House and Fan Museum if your museum thirst isn’t satisfied.

Greenwich Buenos

Take the West exit onto Croom’s Hill, and down Gloucester Circus for further blossoming gardens and architecture, and then come down to Royal Hill – probably my favourite street in the area. Besides abundant delis, butchers, florists, pubs (including one of the last remaining gay pubs in Greenwich), it houses Royal Teas; and easily the winning coffee house and Argentinian deli in Greenwich, the Buenos Aires Café – (which now has a branch on Nelson Road as well!). The manager may be stand-offish, and the prices a tad steep, but the Buenos Aires is the best way to get away from the Greenwich crowd for a decent coffee. Charcouterie boards and Argentinian maté is the way to go, if you haven’t spent your wallet on the deli.

If you can, do check out Halcyon Books, a trove of books all for a pound each! Still one of my favourite stores in the area.

Greenwich Halcyon

After a long shisha session at Mevali, sunset comes best with cocktails at the Cooperage (Click HERE for review!), in the basement of the rather well known Davy’s Wine Bar. Expect to see a lot of classics and reasonable prices – always a pro. If not, climb down into the depths of Oliver’s Jazz Bar for amateur jazz bands of various sub-genres performing live with a bottle of wine in a dark, red, red, bar.

Greenwich Oliver

If you want to be a bit shameless, Desperados  (now under construction) has a list of 150 foul-tasting, but effective, shots – I’d say about 8 F*ckers would be enough to knock you out on the way home. Not classy, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend public transport after – but a memorable way to end the night.

Greenwich is a rather quiet town outside tourist hours, and it is very easy to fall into the tourist traps along the way, but that’s why this guide exists! Make the most of a day/night out in Greenwich with this, as some of the best our little town has to offer.

Greenwich Uni