Day THREE: Mayfair March!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the third 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 7th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled Mayfair and Marylebone!

London Cocktail Week Mayfair Whisk

The Original Sin

4PM:

The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel’s Smith and Whistle is a relaxed hotel joint with a distinct love for Irish whiskey, and Jameson’s in particular.

Besides their Caskmate’s cocktail, they were even hosting a raffle to win a bottle before going home! But their Original Sin is not to be a missed. A beautiful crimson cocktail topped with a spicy stout foam. The first sip through the foam brings out flavours of warm spices from  cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise – until you get to the cocktail of Jameson’s Caskmates whiskey, red wine reduction, and more of that homemade spiced syrup.

Expect to find an immediate hit of light warm spices (enhanced by the burning cinnamon garnish), the wine reduction’s dark fruits and raspberry, finally ending with the Caskmate’s Madeira, fresh and honeyed fruit, and vanilla. A beautiful cocktail – even the Hoodooist didn’t mind its sweetness.

Smith and Whistle raised the bar high before continuing on!

London Cocktail Week Mayfair Whisk

The Sakura Highball

5.30PM:

The ROKA Mayfair kept up the standard so far with the long Sakura Highball. Nikka From the Barrel whisky met Cocchi’s Barolo Chinato vermouth, Sakura cherry blossom tincture, topped off with a plum soda.

The nose is bittersweet and tempting, the first sip immediately brings out the Nikka’s fruit, winter spices and toffee along with the plum soda, before quickly setting onto a long wave of the Barolo Chinato’s orange peel, cloves and dried fruits with the bitter kick, ending on a bed of cherry blossom.

With excellent service and chat from the bartenders, beautiful surrounds, and bar snacks that are devoured in moments, this is an excellent highball drink, highly recommended.

London Cocktail Week Mayfair

The Amor y Amargo

6.30PM:

Into the winding side streets that lead us into the busy lane housing Cartizze, which seems more at home in a hotel than the lane that houses it, the Amor y Amargo is served at the table. Being rather busy, it took its time, the sweet drink caused a little debate.

Amaretto liqueur, Cynar, apricot liqueur, vanilla sugar, lemon, topped with prosecco. Some enjoyed the drink, the Hoodooist couldn’t taste much over the amaretto, lemon and a hint of apricot. It seemed to lack dimension, and blurred into a one-trick drink. Of course, if this is one’s style, a sweet tooth might enjoy it.

When a friend at the table ordered a second, they were informed that only the first drink is subject to the LCW 5 pound offer. Something *no other bar so far in the history of the 5 years of cocktail week* has inflicted on wristband wearers.

London Cocktail Week Mayfair Whisky

The Sesame Street

7PM:

Next door, the Cartizze’s sister bar, Mews of Mayfair, offered the Sesame Street: Glenmorangie 10yr infused with apricots, sesame oil, topped with egg white and sesame seeds.

A major improvement from next door, the spicy nose is refreshing, the palate is instantly hit with sesame, followed by vanilla and bold fruits of the whisky, retreating once again into sesame and ending with bright apricots.

An enjoyable drink and a huge improvement, with multifaceted flavours, though a friend retorted, “I keep thinking of chicken yakitori.”

London Cocktail Week Mayfair Cognac

The Golden Shuffle

8PM:

Recently opened dinner and shisha bar, Noir W1, next door to Selfridges, serving up the Golden Shuffle: Courvoisier Exclusif cognac, yuzu juice, lemon, cocoa nib infused white truffle honey, egg white and black walnut bitters.

Tastes like a regular Sidecar.

Somewhat detectable honey.

London Cocktail Week Mayfair vodka

The Absolutly Dirty

10PM:

After a bite and some key lime pie in Marylebone, Hoodooist and co. find themselves at an old haunt that once had a long and beautifully complex menu.

Purl offered up the Absolutely Dirty for LCW: Absolut Elyx vodka, sherry (fino, perhaps?), capers and black olive bitters.

Only approach if Dirty Martini fan. After the first kick the face with black olives, you will feel a sharp slice of the sherry, followed immediately after by the black olives and a hint of caper.

The Hoodooist, a major fan of the bone-dry gin Martini, not so much a fan of this. At least didn’t enjoy the wincing with each sip.

As aforementioned: Only approach if Dirty Martini fan.

 

Midnight:

The Hoodooist remembers there are at least three more days to go, and has a lie down.

With a really high standard set up by the Smith and Whistle, and Roka, and a fun twist at Mews of Mayfair, the Mayfair March was a day of high highs, and low lows. Some, like the Cartizze and Purl, have targeted very specific audience palates that the reader must consider.

 

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Three 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 Dalston and Whitechapel!*

Day TWO: Shoreditch Slam!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the second 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 6th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled the Hoxton and the Shoreditch!

London Cocktail Week Whiskey White Lyan

The Ember 75

6PM:

Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr. Lyan, brought out innovative cocktail bar White Lyan a couple of years ago, using no fresh ingredients outside the bottled cocktails – the LCW offering is no different, with a flute half-filled with the mystery drink topped off with Franciacorta sparkling wine.

The Ember 75 is a twist on the classic French 75, with Monkey Shoulder whisky, lemon distillate, BBQ fruit distillate, mixed acid solution, and mineral water.

You’d be forgiven if that made little sense, unfortunately, our bartender was not at all helpful in attempting to explain it – what we gathered is that it’s smoke and fruit. Neither did our bartender seem clear on the process preparing the bottled drink, or at least didn’t want to explain it.

Anyway, the first half of the cocktail was a bit flat with the sweet wine (I say that because the sparkling wine was not sparkling, the fizz was not fizzing. Why? Do not ask us.), as time passed the Monkey Shoulder became increasingly prominent, and by the bottom half, flavours of dried fruit, apricot and light notes of peach opened up, with a layer of smoke.

London Cocktail Week Buffalo Trace Bourbon

The Fairground Sazerac; and the Don’t Mug Yourself

6.45PM:

We find ourselves back at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop up we reviewed earlier this week!

Of course, we reviewed the fab Don’t Mug Yourself in the previous article, so the Hoodooist went in for the Fairground Sazerac: Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, sugar in a Herbsaint rinse with a large dollop of candyfloss in the tankard, and a small bit on the straw to drink through.

Now this is fun – to be fair, the Hoodooist is a major fan of the Sazerac as is, but the additional little bit of sweetness from the candyfloss doesn’t hurt, and injects a little bit of fun into and otherwise serious classic. The whiskey’s orange and warm spices is clear, the glass rinsed just right with Herbsaint – the candyfloss takes the edge off the finish with a bit of sugar. A fun quirky twist on an old loved classic.

London Cocktail Week Whisky Scotch Auchentoshan

The Auchie Ale

7.45PM:

The Translate Bar in Shoreditch retains it’s party atmosphere even this early in the evening – with the Auchentoshan and Ale workshop going on next door, Translate is knocking out 5 options for 5 pounds each: the Auchentoshan American Oak or Three Wood neat/on the rocks, a Glasgow Mule (with Ginger Ale), a Classic Sour, and their main offering for London Cocktail Week, the Auchie Ale.

The Auchie Ale brings together Auchentoshan American Oak, quince, lemon, simple syrup, topped off with Camden Pils in a handy mug and twist of lemon. Initially, the ale drowns out the flavour of this great whisky and the quince, but as it warms up about halfway through, both the nose and palate become clearer.

The toffee and chocolate nose begins to come through, the palate bursts into warmer flavours of chocolate, citrus, grain and oak, ending with a quince bite and the Camden Pils. Certainly a cocktail if you enjoy your ale.

London Cocktail Week Whisky Scotch Auchentoshan

The Auchentoshan Three Wood

The Hoodooist had more fun going straight for the Auchentoshan Three Wood – rested in Oloroso sherry, bourbon, and Pedro Ximinez sherry casks, this whisky is deep and rich, taking an almost rum like quality with strong espresso. Forest fruits, dark berries, glazed cherries, dark chocolate and treacle flood the palate. A beautiful dram.

London Cocktail Week Rum NOLA

The Creole Muse

9PM:

Back at an old favourite! NOLA did pretty well last LCW with Chris Dennis at the helm, and this year, the New Orleans legend Chris Hannah designed the Creole Muse for the NOLA’s own bartenders to prepare.

Havana Club 7 year rum, absinthe, agave, strawberry puree, lime creates a sweet and sour cocktail that begins with the lime, moving on to the strawberry’s sweetness for a long moment, before bringing out the toffee and coffee bean of the rum – ending with a strong absinthe knock.

Personally I’d add a lime peel to the rim to help neutralise the strongly anise nose – and the debate over this drink kicked off at the table – one loved it, one wanted to replace absinthe with Green Chartreuse, one though maybe a touch less absinthe would do it, maybe just a rinse. This twisted strawberry daiquiri will split the group into a debate. Trying it without the absinthe, it lacks dimension, so the bitter note is necessary.

London Cocktail Week Casita Tequila

The Hidden Bar’s Tommy Gets Spicy

10.15PM:

Because a night always ends at Casita.

The LCW offering being a Paloma (Ocho Tequila, lime juice, agave, Ting, pink grapefruit – a citrus, light on the tequila cocktail strong on the grapefruit and Ting) is a classic at Casita that will always be around, the Hoodooist was tempted away to try the one-day menu by the bartenders of the Ibiza Hidden Bar instead.

The Tommy gets Spicy gives us Tequila Cabeza, raspberry, agave syrup, lime, tabasco – this beautiful red cocktail begins with a mineral hit of the Cabeza, followed instantly by the tobasco spice transitioning into the sweetness of the fresh raspberry.

There is a reason the Hoodooist loves this bar.

Thing’s are a bit blurry here on out.

1AM:

“I could try to write this now, or I could binge-watch Rick and Morty.”

 

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Two 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 Mayfair and Marylebone!*

Day ONE: The Cocktail Village is Here!

Apologies for the late post, readers, but writing this up last night was impossible with the room spinning and uncontrollable giggling in the shower – which means London Cocktail Week has kicked into gear!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the first 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 5th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled the LCW Village and the City!

5PM:

Of course, the hangover was improved by the wonderful guys from Ohayo Tomorrow! Their hangover cures can be found at the all new London Cocktail Week Village at Spitalfields – a massive space converted into the LCW’s main hub where you can collect your wristbands and peruse some of the exciting brands and bars that set up shop, serving cocktails and cocktail equipment!


London Cocktail Week Village Spitalfields

Set up around the giant SodaStream carousel, there are some must visit stops.

James Elliot of Pizza Pilgrims (Who made a lifesaving appearance at the Bussey Bar Rooftop this summer) manages the all-new London limoncello brand – Pococello, using exclusively Amalfi lemons with spirit produced by the Chase Distillery UK.

The result is a deliciously smooth spirit that balances sweet and tart when drunk neat and ice cold, but works absolutely beautifully with the slightly bitter Fevertree tonic. Make sure to grab yourself an L&T before trying out their limoncello slushie which is a fantastic picnic drink.

London Cocktail Week Pococello Limoncello

The Pococello & Tonic

While you’re at the village, make sure to pop by Loves Company stall for a ginger mystery cocktail using Bathtub Gin and grab selfies in the (obviously necessary) bathtub with a bottle! You can always trust Loves Company for the quirkier stalls at a festival, winning Cocktail in the City 2015‘s Best Stand award.

London Cocktail Week Loves Company

Bathtub Gin at Loves Company

And don’t miss the Vestal Vodka stop right next door! Take a quick look at the history of this smooth potato vodka that is a longstanding Highball Hoodoo favourite, and grab a Vestal Martini before you leave. Velvety, with distinct blueberry and liquorice notes, makes this a fantastically easy to drink Martini.

London Cocktail Week Vestal Vodka

The Vestal Martini

The Hoodooist and co. make their way to the heart of City to check out what the bars have to offer.

6.30PM:

Company all have a Pappy 10 Old Fashioned in hand at Barbecoa. Yes – a Pappy 10.

Rarely seen in London (to the point where wristband wearers are limited to one per visit), the Pappy was exciting, an Old Fashioned made with demerara sugar and orange bitters, topped off with a large ice cube.

The first glass came in, the nose sweet with sweet corn, toffee, and dried fruits, the palate, however, felt a little watered. You could tell the heart of the cocktail had that beautiful buttery, thick, dates, walnut, caramel with a hint of spice – but it seemed somewhat lost in the cocktail.

Our bartender was wonderful enough to try a few changes: chill the glass beforehand and lose the ice cube (it melts surprisingly quickly) and minimise the sugar – the Hoodooist wishes he asked to switch the strong orange bitters to Angostura as well, but the changes were an improvement for the company at the table. It is a change we’d recommend.

London Cocktail Week Barbecoa Pappy Van Winkle

The Pappy 10 Old Fashioned

7.30PM:

Making our way to The Sign of the Don Bistro, company finally grab food to eat after a long day of imbibing – the octopus salad is not to be missed!

A round of The 10/10 comes to the table: 10 year port meets the Glenmorangie 10 year scotch, Campari, Monin gomme syrup, lime juice, chilli and coriander. This drink is interesting, the Glenmorangie’s citrus nose bursts through, the mouthfeel light and refreshing.

It begins with a citrus and coriander, that develops into the Glenmorangie’s creamy, fresh scotch, followed by a length of port and chilli, leaving an aftertaste of strong Campari and a prickling of the chilli.

This drink was a surprise, and not what we were expecting – worth trying for the novelty and popping by for the food!

London Cocktail Week Sign of the Don

The 10/10

8.30 PM:

In the basement of the Arbitrager, we find the beautiful drinking den of Demon, Wise, and Partners. Classically designed and luscious, a fantastic spot to get away from the noisiness of the day.

In typical DW&P fashion, the drinker is given options on which direction they’d like to take their drink: The Rabbit Hole presents the imbiber with a ‘Sweet’ or ‘Dry’ choice.

Both have the same base of Wild Turkey whiskey, Campari, lemon.

However the ‘Sweet’ comes with sweet Cinzano 1757 vermouth, and a red capsule full of a smoke and orange blossom powder.
And the ‘Dry’ comes with Cinzano Dry vermouth, and a blue capsule with powdered Green Chartreuse.

The result are two completely different cocktails, distinctly sweet and distinctly dry.

The sweet Rabbit Hole begins with the floral orange blossom, followed by the whiskey’s thick butterscotch and pepper, laying of a bed of smoke, finally ending with the lingering Campari.

The dry Rabbit Hole is beautiful is you like your drinks dry and bitter. It follows a similar pattern as above, but beginning with the herbal, pungent Chartreuse – the mouthfeel is the most interesting though, malty or yeasty in the best of ways.

Highly recommend this cocktail, one (two?) of my favourites of the day!

London Cocktail Week Demon Wise and Partners

The Rabbit Hole

9.30PM:

Hoodooist and co. are overlooking London from the gorgeous Art Deco bar that is City Social at Tower 42.

A wonderful place to relax and end the night in the comfy, dark recesses of the couches with the glittering city below, we grab ourselves the LCW offering: the Vitamin Sea.

Hendrick’s Gin, sea buckthorn and orange sherbet, Cocchi Americano, lemon and carrot juice,and a touch of absinthe. The name is accurate. Served in a medicinal bottle, the nose is powerfully citrus, you can almost smell the sea bukthorn’s high vitamin C content. The cocktail tastes almost exactly like an alcoholic vitamin supplement. There is a distant touch of absinthe, but barely there, otherwise the palate is dominated by the berry and orange juice, with undertones of the Hendrick’s.

An odd choice of offering, a bit flat. An interesting twist on a gin and orange, however, but only subtle differences.

London Cocktail Week City Social

The Vitamin Sea

11 something:

The Hoodooist downs his Ohayo Tomorrow and collapses in bed, vowing to be up early to write this article. That didn’t happen.

Alright! That’s our recap of Day One 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 Hoxton and Shoreditch!*

London Cocktail Week Tia Maria Mezcal Martini

London Cocktail Week Preview: Buffalo Bourbon Empire!

LCW15 is here! A week of discount cocktails, the hottest bars, the coolest pop-ups, the biggest parties – and several one-time events for your liver to look forward to (think of it as a work out).

On Friday, Highball Hoodoo released London Cocktail Week 2015 Guide for must-do events in the city, and one of them, the Buffalo Bourbon Empire, gave the Hoodooist a sneak peak to what they are offering this week at their 1 Kingsland Road pop-up in Shoreditch!

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BUFFALO BOURBON EMPIRE, SHOREDITCH – 5th-11th October

Buffalo Bourbon Empire, 1 Kingsland Road , London, E2 8AA

LCW regulars Buffalo Trace Bourbon are back with their Empire pop-up!

Whether you’re learning how to make your favourite cocktails, watching the hilarious comedy duo ‘The Thinking Drinkers’ or just sitting back and relaxing with some sublime drinks, there is a little bit of something for everyone. And as if that’s not enough, you could be among the first to sample this year’s highly anticipated Antique Collection – a Collection that has been bestowed with some of the highest accolades the spirits world has to offer.

With a selection of events through the week, check out their to-do list!

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You’ll notice that the tasting of the much-anticipated Antique Collection (released every year by Buffalo Trace) is nearly every day of the week, but remember that you have to book a spot for the tasting! If you can, make sure you can get a tasting led by Buffalo Trace Master Blender himself, the fantastic Drew Mayville! Who else to help you understand the complexities of their finest whiskies than the man responsible?


drew-mayville

A wonderful host, Drew runs participants through some of the most awarded whiskies in the world:

Beginning with the classic Buffalo Trace – we all know the Hoodooist loves this one – that classic spicy-sweet caramel nose, the palate richly oaky with brown sugar, toffee and tiny hints of espresso followed by a cinnamon finish.

Moving on to the Eagle Rare 17yr, the Hoodooist’s favourite of the night – the nose initially has a wine-barrel hit, but is immediately followed by a wave of almond (like a sweet almond cream). The palate is a gorgeous combo of tobacco and leather, with the oak’s vanilla. A long finish of leather and toffee follows.

The Sazerac 18 straight rye is much smoother and lighter, the palate feels a lot like a julep has been reduced into whiskey form. An allspice nose is followed by a palate of cinnamon, mint, eucalyptus, and a very long, warm finish of white pepper.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

The William Larue Weller won Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Best Bourbon in the World 2015! Very understandably – the nose is full on tobacco, leather, and a fruit sweetness. The palate brings in the marshmallows and figs and dates. A wonderfully smooth, sweet finish.

The Thomas H. Handy won World’s Best American Whiskey at the World Whiskies Awards 2015! This is lush. A bold nose ushers in a palate of winter sweetness with the fig cakes and toffee, cinnamon and clove, ending on slightly more Caribbean flavours of allspice, nutmeg and coconut.

The tasting ends with the George T. Stagg‘s unrelenting cavalcade of sweetness, from the dark chocolate, molasses and fudge, to berries, dates, a hints of tobacco and coffee. A beautiful dram.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

Cocktails at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire include the Don’t Mug Yourself: Buffalo with Caffe Borghetti Coffee Liqueur, fresh espresso, topped with a bourbon biscuit puree for a fantastic Espresso Martini twist. Sweet, but not overbearingly so, not thick or viscous, but not exceedingly watery (all worrying threats of Espresso Martini), the Don’t Mug Yourself could easily be one of the best offerings of the night.

The No More Mist-of Spiced Rye (mouthful, that) brings Buffalo with Carpano Classico vermouth, Fernet Branca and a mist of spiced Sazerac Rye. Now, when sipped, I really enjoy the introduction of the drink, however the Fernet could be taken down a bit, the herbal notes can overpower the Buffalo Trace.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

Whiskey classics are also served up – you can’t go wrong with an Eagle Old Fashioned, and – as is ritual at every year’s London Cocktail Week Buffalo Trace pop up – find yourself some of those beautiful Picklebacks to help you through the night!

Service is impeccable, the Buffalo Trace team are wonderful, the live music gives great vibes. The Buffalo does it again!

Remember to make your bookings for the tastings! It’s a crime to miss.

 

LCW is here! 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 Whisky Show, The Cocktail Village and the City!*

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

 

Your London Cocktail Week 2015 Guide!

Now that Fashion Week’s out of the way, kids (let’s not worry about Chocolate Week yet) – here’s where the real fun lies.

A week of discount cocktails, the hottest bars, the coolest pop-ups, the biggest parties – and several one-time events for your liver to look forward to (think of it as a work out).

 

Besides all the participating bars (many of which Highball Hoodoo will be reviewing every day of the week!), here is a check list of must-hit spots throughout the week of 5th-11th October 2015!

Course, to participate in London Cocktail Week, you’d need to get your LCW Wristband first! Buy ’em here!

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COCKTAIL VILLAGE AT OLD SPITALFIELDS MARKET, SHOREDITCH – 5th-11th October

Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, London E1 6EW

From October 5 -11 Old Spitalfields Market, usually home to antique dealers and speciality stalls, will become a huge week-long cocktail village across the entire market space. Visitors can explore a maze of bespoke pop-up bars, trucks, vans and even bicycles – all serving up their specially created cocktails at just £5 for wristband wearers.

Pick up your wristband here, grab a bite, a drink, your LCW Tour Guide, and plan your cocktail rampage!

 

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WORLD CLASS LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK HUB, SOHO – 5th-11th October

51 Poland Street, 51 Poland St, London, W1F 7LZ

If you’d rather pick your wristband up closer to central London – pop by the LCW hub set up with World Class – the ultimate in luxury drinks experiences using the finest spirits selected by the World’s Best Bartenders. Featuring masterclasses for a Negroni at the Haig Club Dining Room, Vodka Soda at the Ketel One Vodka Kitchen, and a stunning new way to shake up a French 75 at the 1920’s styled speakeasy Tanqueray Art Deco Bar.

 

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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 Patron 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?

Tickets are £35 and entry includes access to the entire venue along with five cocktail tokens for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic serves created at 24Hr Bar Build. Additional tokens can be purchased at the event and food will also be available to purchase.

With a limited number of tickets available, visit www.billetto.co.uk/24hr-bar-build to secure your place and choose your city.

 

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BUFFALO BOURBON EMPIRE, SHOREDITCH – 5th-11th October

Buffalo Bourbon Empire, 1 Kingsland Road , London, E2 8AA

LCW regulars Buffalo Trace Bourbon are back with their Empire pop-up!

Whether you’re learning how to make your favourite cocktails, watching the hilarious comedy duo ‘The Thinking Drinkers’ or just sitting back and relaxing with some sublime drinks, there is a little bit of something for everyone. And as if that’s not enough, you could be among the first to sample this year’s highly anticipated Antique Collection – a Collection that has been bestowed with some of the highest accolades the spirits world has to offer.

With a selection of events through the week, check out their to-do list!

 

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THE HOUSE OF ANGOSTURA, SHOREDITCH – 5th-11th October

Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, London, E1 6EW

Back at the Cocktail Village, Angostura have set up shop overlooking the Village – visit the exclusive pop-up house party with live DJ sets, delicious Angostura cocktails, and as with every good house party – people hanging out in the kitchen.

From their Angostura Aromatic Bitters – THE original bitters – to their delicious range of rums, Angostura is an essential part of any cocktail cabinet, and this year they are bringing the iconic brand to life with a house party to remember.

 

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TOAST OF PARIS, HACKNEY – 8th October

Looking Glass Cocktail Club, 49 Hackney Rd, London, E2 7NX

Join Courvoisier for an evening of celebration as we transport you back to the excitement and decadence of the Paris Golden Age. Immerse yourself in the Belle Époque era and enjoy the cocktails, theatre and ‘joie de vivre’ from a time when Parisian culture was at the centre of the world.

Enjoy a free cocktail on arrival at The Looking Glass Cocktail Club and relax in the 19th century Parisian surroundings. When the evening entertainment begins, discover the secrets of traditional cognac cocktails with two leading London bartenders as they wow the crowd with a ‘magical’ demonstration accompanied by live music. With the show over, guests can relax in the ‘Midnight in Paris’ lounge with live music played throughout the evening.

 

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ORIOLE POP-UP WITH 86 CO SPIRITS AND GIN MARE, SHOREDITCH – 6th-7th October

Bear Gallery, 8A Great Eastern St, London, EC2A 3NT

Award-winning Nightjar comes together with 86 Co Spirits and Gin Mare to preview their next venture – the Oriole, due to open its doors late November 2015!

Oriole Bar Manager Luca Cinalli will showcase four drinks inspired by 86 Co Spirits, Gin Mare and the journey the bar team has been on to create the exotic Oriole menu collection.  Oriole is pleased to invite you to have the first tasting of this highly anticipated cocktail menu.

 

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OCHO TEQUILA VINTAGE TASTING WITH TOMAS ESTES, SHOREDITCH – 8th October

Bear Gallery, 8A Great Eastern St, London, EC2A 3NT

With Agave spirits exploding in popularity this year, let Tomas Estes, Brand Owner of Ocho Tequila and Tequila Ambassador to Europe, take you through a tasting selection of vintage tequilas – who else would you trust with the job?

 

Guess it’s apt for 8 for your to-do list!

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!

 

 

For more info on London Cocktail Week, check out their Website.

London Cocktail Week ’14, Day SIX: The End, and Best of the Week

Welcome back to the recap of the sixth day of London Cocktail Week 2014! 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 ’14.

Today we look at October 11th: Where the Hoodooist and friends return to London Bridge for a final hurrah to LCW14.

Having exhausted ourselves over the course of the week, Saturday marks our final night of participation, leaving Sunday for you, dear readers, to revel in using our reviews so far as a guide.

7.30PM: Our finale for the week is a return to Cecil’s hosting two events on the night: besides their LCW cocktail offer, the Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up, and the bar’s usual formal ball hosted by UFF Tea.

After spending the night there, I then decided that we tried enough of their house cocktail menu to merit their own full length review, coming up soon!

Cecil's UFF Tea Ball

Cecil’s UFF Tea Ball

And that’s all of #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo for London Cocktail Week 14, kids! As an afterword, let’s have a look at bars and events that really stood out this past week.

Monday Oct 6th was a bit weak in terms of bars, but the pop up and masterclass stole the show.

The Nikka 51.4 Bar pop up at Covent Garden (Still open Sunday 12th!) presented with spectacular pre-mixed ‘Nikka From the Barrel Whisky’ cocktails, with recipes brought from bars around the world. The concept of a 4 pound 4 mini-cocktail flight is a bargain for tasters, and the drinks themselves, spectacular. In order of most to least favourite, the Nippone, Robbie Burns-San, Professor Cocktail #30, and the Bamboo Crane.

The Cognac Masterclass held by Courvoisier’s Global Ambassador, Rebecca Asseline, was most excellent. The session provided information on the making, and indeed complex architecture, of the most honourable Chateau Courvoisier – an enlightening lesson in the making, tasting, and pairing of cognac. If one gets a chance to participate, grab it.

The Nikka '51.4' Bar's Cocktail Flight

The Nikka ‘51.4’ Bar’s Cocktail Flight

Tuesday Oct 7th was by far the headiest evening of the week, defined by fantastic service overall.

Winning bar would be Merchant House, hosting a pop up with Burleigh’s Gin (the pop up is shut, but Merchant House is still offering a Burleigh’s St. Clement for LCW), whose Woodland Martinez (Burleigh’s Gin, red vermouth, mushroom bitters, absinthe) hit the jackpot for the Hoodooist’s tastes. First lightly floral, then deeply earthy and mysterious – rich in texture. Wonderful.

Grand Marnier’s Paris in London pop up at Cecil’s was firstly wonderful in their choice of drinks, with the excellent Cold Claret Punch; Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Cherry Marnier, Bordeaux red wine, botanicals, spices and lemon juice. The intense spiced wine moving into the sweeter cherry, ending on the Grand Marnier was for once, a long drink the Hoodooist enjoyed, and did so immensely. The evening was defined by the lovely EU Ambassador for Grand Marnier, Julien LaFond, being an gracious and generous host, introducing the Hoodooist and friends to the flavours and history of Grand Marnier and their bottles of Centenaire and Quintessence. A highlight of the week.

L-R: Grand Marnier Centenaire; Quintessence

L-R: Grand Marnier Centenaire; Quintessence

Wednesday Oct 8th was an odd night of bars the Hoodooist loves taking unnecessary risks.

But the winning drink of the evening would go to 184 Hackney Road /QuiQuiRiQui, with their Mezcal Margarita. Their signature smoky mezcal, hibiscus and cardamom syrup, lime juice and agave nectar, was a simple, laid back drink that brought out first the smokiness of the mezcal, momentary agave sweetness to the deep smokiness, but quickly resting on the hibiscus, with a slight hint of cardamom in the distance.

184 Hackney Road

184 Hackney Road

Thursday Oct 9th reminded the Hoodooist of the importance of good service, highlighted by one terrible event at the Bistrot Bruno Loubet, versus spectacular service at all the other venues of the evening.

Pop up of the evening goes to Buffalo Trace Bourbon and their excellent Pickle Jar event in the basement of The Well, Clerkenwell. Presenting the painfully smooth Rosemary Sazerac to rival some of the best in London, along with the perfectly Perfect Maraschino Manhattan (though only red vermouth was used), alongside a trio of Picklebacks, one using pickled gherkin juice, beetroot, and cucumber. A wonderful evening to be spent here.

Bar of the evening would be the City of London Distillery, with their fantastic service, and surprising vermouth-heavy Cristal Clear Martinez of Cocchi Americano, COLD London Dry gin, Luxardo Maraschino, dash of Regans Orange Bitters, maraschino cherry garnish dropped in. Rich mouthfeel, surprisingly sweet, but not overly sickly. A drink one takes time with, but won’t get bored of.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon's Pickle Jar event

Buffalo Trace Bourbon’s Pickle Jar event

Friday Oct 10th brought with it exhaustion and many puns. The winning bars are two:

First, Mele e Pere put forward the incredible apertivo, the Veneton Mess Revisited, a twist on their own Veneton Mess: homemade white vermouth, strawberry vermouth, and ginseng liqueur with a dash of lemonade. Both slightly dry with the white vermouth, yet having the richer mouthfeel of the red. First, the intense strawberry vermouth, followed by the warm citrus notes of the white, with the lemonade aftertaste.

Second, MASH (Modern American Steak House) – besides excellent service, food, and clientele – put forward the Woody Woodpecker, walnut infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, maple syrup, peach juice and Angostura bitters. The smooth Buffalo Trace comes in first as you’d imagine, playing lightly with the maple syrup. The peach makes a short-lived appearance, and the aftertaste of warm walnut envelopes. Drink quickly, the ice unfortunately dilutes and affects the flavours too harshly.

MASH's 'Woody Woodpecker'

MASH’s ‘Woody Woodpecker’

Finally, the winning drink of Saturday Oct 11th at Cecil’s UFF Tea Ball/Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up would be the Aperitif No. 20: El Jimador Reposado tequila, shaken with fresh lemon, marmalade and sugar, with a splash of Kamm & Sons ginseng. At first sight this recipe looks like running the risk of being too sweet, but what we get is a well-rounded, tart aperitif.

It is done.

It is done.

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Six and the best of London Cocktail Week 2014! I do hope it may have helped you one way or the other, dear companions, on our quest through the most magical week of the year. May the LCW shackles on your wrists take you to fantastical vistas through this glorious city.

You have one more night, TONIGHT, Sunday night, to make the most of London Cocktail Week 2014! And best you do! The Hoodooist, on the other hand, is going to curl up in bed, and forget the world exists – for #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo LCW recaps are at an end till LCW 2015.

Nonetheless, you will still be getting your regular bar reviews from Highball Hoodoo twice a week starting 22nd October 2014 (What? I need a week off. I bloody deserve it.)

Until then, dear readers, teach your livers a lesson in Hoodoo.

Good night, and good luck.

London Cocktail Week ’14, Day FIVE: Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

Welcome back to the recap of the fifth day of London Cocktail Week 2014! 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 ’14.

Today we look at October 10th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackle Soho (Well, Soho-ish) .

Day Five and it’s starting to show. The bodily effects of LCW14 are coming in all their baggy eyed, dry skin’d glory. But there ain’t no rest for the wicked, till this is done and dusted for good.

So it may be a blessing in disguise when at 1.30PM: The Blind Pig at the Social Eating House couldn’t get their work in order for their cocktail, Gin Quininey, Gin Quininey, Gin Gin Yuzu. “Our ingredients finished last night, we can’t make the drink till 4PM tonight.”
Here are reasons why this is silly: Some of us are making our way to you with schedules with slots that you fit in to. Do what you promise, or don’t do anything at all.
Secondly, OVERSTOCK. A Gareth Evans joint changes its menu like every five minutes. Even if your cup runneth over and you have too many ingredients – keep serving it up after LCW is over as a limited edition drink.
Thirdly, if you couldn’t organise the above because forward-thinking isn’t one’s forte, offer another drink as an option. Or hell, maybe choose a regular drink from your menu instead of one with ingredients that might be hard to come by.
A shame since I rather enjoy the Blind Pig as a bar, as I do most of Evans’ bars.

4PM: Lunch done, and the Hoodooist already has a gelato stain on his shirt. But Amorino gelato stains are scars to be proud of. Mmm.
We find ourselves at the Carom at Meza, serving up a ‘Kill Jim’, El Jimador tequila swizzle with chilli, Mozart chocolate liqueur, Velvet Falernum and Navy Strength rum. The sweeter rum flows into the tequila before an explosion of chilli – with the chocolate playing in the background. As you’d guess, it gets spicier the longer you take to drink. The drink seems a bit overthought for me and not my thing, but was a hit with couple of friends at the table with taste for sweeter, longer drinks.

Opium's 'Down to the Baijiu'

Opium’s ‘Down to the Baijiu’

5PM: Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour (Click HERE for review!), who are serving ‘Down to the Baijiu’ according to the LCW14 literature; Baijiu, Oolong tea infused vodka, fresh lemon and pomegranate juice, almond syrup. Although our server also mentioned the ingredients chilli-infused tequila, and orgeat (instead of almond syrup, I suspect), and didn’t mention pomegranate.

So running by palette, the Baijiu was unmistakable and the opener to the drink, followed by a citrus and almond sweetness I believe is the orgeat. The oolong followed immediately behind, ending on the tequila. This incredibly sweet, but not sickly so, was pleasant and nagged me with a sense of nostalgia until somebody finally yelled “STRAWBERRY LACES!”, which is essentially what it tastes like – scarily similar. I would love this as a dessert drink, with its light mouthfeel and short serving.

Mele e Pere's 'Veneton Mess Revisited'

Mele e Pere’s ‘Veneton Mess Revisited’

6PM: Soho’s vermouth bar, Mele e Pere, presented a twist on their own drink – the Veneton Mess – with the ‘Veneton Mess Revisited’; homemade white vermouth, strawberry vermouth, and ginseng liqueur with a dash of lemonade. I love this. What I enjoyed here was the drink being both slightly dry with the white vermouth, yet having the richer mouthfeel of the red. First, the intense strawberry vermouth, followed by the warm citrus notes of the white, with the lemonade aftertaste. As usual in cocktails with strong flavours, the ginseng hides in the background (which is strange considering its intensity when drunk straight) but helps round the drink out. Made a wonderful aperitif.

MASH's 'Woody Woodpecker'

MASH’s ‘Woody Woodpecker’

7PM: The aperitif done, we found ourselves craving beef tartare at the dark, subterranean MASH. Presenting one of their own drinks, the Woody Woodpecker was walnut infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, maple syrup, peach juice and Angostura bitters. The smooth Buffalo Trace comes in first as you’d imagine, playing lightly with the maple syrup. The peach makes a short-lived appearance, and the aftertaste of warm walnut envelopes. A hit across the table, this drink is highly recommended. The only catch to it is having to drink it quickly, since the diluting ice really does steal many of the flavours if left to melt.

Food was spectacular, service was absolutely impeccable. Clientele incredibly dressed. It’s almost like an American extension of Zedel’s Bar Americain couple of doors down (Click HERE for a review of Bar Americain!)

Benares' 'Mumbai Martini'

Benares’ ‘Mumbai Martini’

8PM: 10 minute walk brings us to Benares at Berkeley Square, serving up a Mumbai Martini; vodka muddled over curry leaves, fresh root ginger, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Okay. This was something that, with a couple of changes, can be a very intriguing drink.

At first, there is this absolute slam of curry leaves followed by a powerful lemon, ginger simmering, then suddenly going back to lemon. It runs a risk of tipping between ‘alright’ and ‘unpleasant’. Halfway through the drink, the curry leaves and ginger vanish, leaving sweet lemon vodka behind. At this point, it’s all out unpleasant.

I suspect leaving out the sugar, changing the citrus (Yuzu? As a light spray, not as a juice. But if it demands juice after trial and error, minimal), and infusing the vodka lightly with curry leaves, then muddling with a hint of ginger could change this drink into something wonderful.

In other news, service was confused, the bartender had a better idea of who we were and when we wanted the bill from miles away while three servers were busy running into each other being confused. Or acting it. Whichever. It was more of a fun bobble-head boxing contest.

Midnight: Is there a theme to today? Well, besides all the awesome puns. Maybe there is a moral to the story, but not in the bars. The Hoodooist made it home obscenely early at 9.15PM when he realised that the concept of another drink was almost unthinkable. Five days in a row of LCW meant a full night’s sleep is something necessary.
Ain’t no rest for the wicked.

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Five of London Cocktail Week 2014! I do hope it may have helped you one way or the other, dear companions, on our quest through the most magical week of the year. May the LCW shackles on your wrists take you to fantastical vistas through this glorious city.

#YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo is almost at an end! Be prepared for our LCW14 finale article coming up this weekend!