London Cocktail Week ’17 Day 3: Soho & the City

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!

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Let’s start with some of our regulars in Soho!

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The Propitious, by Jinjuu

Jinjuu 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!

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Dr. Miroslav’s Cold Remedy, by 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.
Puppies.
Puppies.

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…

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The Martell Gourmand, by BOKI

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…

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Big Trouble in Little Cynar, by COLD

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!

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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.

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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!

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London Cocktail Week ’17 Day 1&2: East London

Welcome one and all to the recap of the first two days of 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 East London!
This is gonna be a long one, folks, strap yourselves in.

 

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Let’s see what’s happening in East London! Central maybe have been a bit hit and miss, but East is winning.

There’s a hell of a lot going on here, so we had to divide it into two separate articles, Part 1 gives us more of Old Street and a bit of Dalston:

After a coffee and cognac pairing with Courvoisier at Joyeux Bordel, we begin our cocktail journey at Black Rock!

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Talisker Remember the Maine, by Black Rock

The Talisker Remember the Maine is a twist on the classic with Talisker Whisky Distillers Edition Amoroso Cask Scotch, Bulleit Rye, home made spicy cherry liqueur and Cocchi Di Torino sweet vermouth, and a spray of absinthe on the side of the glass.

What a beautiful cocktail – the first spicy hit of rye makes way for the Talisker with it’s cream sherry barrel of fruit and light smoke, the wave of cherry and rich fruit, bitter orange peels and cocoa – ending once again on the Talisker cream sherry cask finish scotch.

As time passes, the drink becomes increasingly aromatic. Love.

Short walk away, we find ourselves at Scout!

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The Jerusalem Artichoke, by Scout

Now this was fascinating.

The Jerusalem Artichoke: Bombay Sapphire gin, Jerusalem Artichoke, Malt and coffee soda.

A complex long drink is always an interesting find. First, the coffee fizz, sudden and invigorating. Then, the malt, shamelessly mellowing the texture. This makes way for the nutty, powerfully earthy flavour of the Jerusalem Artichoke and a hint of gin – then returning to the malt and coffee.

Stunning work, adore.

Sadly, the Operation Dagger takeover downstairs didn’t start for a little longer, so I decided to return another time – until then, head up to Dalston for…

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This Spartan joint hands us the slightly NSFW and appropriately named Satyr: Sour plum infused vodka, verjus and soda; served with cured duck in a liquorice teriyaki sauce.

First thought: Red Haribo. Seemingly light at first, but deceptive. Heavy plum and bright effervescent fruit and citrus. The cured duck is a great fatty dish to temper the alcohol as we ended up staying for a session into the early hours.

We turn in for the night, preparing us for the next day in the Wild East, on…

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Day 2: Shoreditch

After a fab tasting at the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire at the Looking Glass Cocktail Club, we begin our afternoon at the Cocktail Trading Company!

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The Highest Incarnation of The Revolutionary Cognacship, by CTC

In keeping with their quirky serves, the CTC presents The Highest Incarnation of The Revolutionary Cognacship ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hennessy VS cognac, sweetened rice milk and smoked lapsang tea, with a garnish of grated nutmeg. Feedback that the nutmeg was too overpowering was taken well. Once past that, the drink bursts into smoky lapsang on sides of the tongue, washed over with rice milk, nutty and oaky cognac. Very reminiscent of a light Brandy Alexander.

I don’t know if this was my favourite drink. It felt a bit watery, and the flavours were a tiny bit all over the place. But a brave drink nonetheless.

Further South on Wentworth St, one salted caramel hot chocolate later…

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White Heat, by 46 & Mercy

The White Heat by 46 & Mercy is a fascinating one.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon infused with white chocolate & white pepper, bitters and lemon oil results in a twist on an Old Fashioned with a powerful lemon nose. The first sip brings in the bourbon and sweet white chocolate, but do not worry, the sweetness is not overpowering. Next, the pepperiness comes in, white pepper spice hits the throat and coats the tongue, reviving you from the fear of too much chocolate. The finish is citrusy, and a lingering spice. Gorgeous.

A hop two streets to the West later, we end the evening with…

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Benandonner, by Discount Suit Co.

Discount Suit Co.! The Benandonner has Elements of Islay Whisky PEAT, Ruby Port, millionaire syrup and lemon.

The initial caramel sweetness lets in the Islay barbecue flavours. Here comes the ruby port, followed by Islay smoke and brine. Finally, lingering fruit and sugar, hints of cinnamon. A beautiful way to end and evening after a meal.

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Alright! That’s our recap of East London of London Cocktail Week 2017! 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.

See you tomorrow for coverage of LCW17 Part 2: Soho and the City!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!*