Cocktails in the City 2019, London

Once again, Cocktails in the City is coming into serve thirsty Londoners some of the best cocktails London has to offer!

Yes, CitC 2019 is a bringing 25 of London’s most exciting bars in the subterranean lairs of The Waterloo Vaults for a raucous three-day celebration of the city’s unique and diverse drinking scene.  Festival-goers will get a chance to enjoy bars from around the city coming together in one gorgeous location on April 4th – 6th.

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

Expect cocktails from renowned London bars like the new Heads + Tails, the B&H Buildings, Nightjar, and more! And be ready for the appearance of international cocktails bars flying in for the experience!

This year “guests can sip their way through new trend-surfing drinks as they discover each arch transformed into a new drinking emporium. Watch London’s top bartenders square up in the ‘CITC Battle Ring’, explore ‘The Botanical Cove’ bursting with flora and fauna, take a seat in our ‘Subterranean Speakeasies’, taste the future in ‘The Experimental Lab’, sip champagne in the ‘F*&K Me I’m Famous Arch’ or get down and dirty in the ‘Dive Den’.”

Cocktails in the City showcases the world’s most inventive  and original cocktail bars, bringing together the cream of London’s illustrious cocktail culture, all within sipping distance of each other.
Cocktails in the City is a bar-hopper’s paradise, creating a village of pop-up bars for guests to explore, each with their own unique aesthetic, hosting tastings, workshops, games and of course, a plethora of talented mixologists creating out-of-this world cocktails.”

CITC 2019 is prepared to dazzle this year, with a whole host of new experiences that leaves the Hoodooist stunned and excited!

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Get lost in the Secret Garden

Enter the Secret Garden and discover a world full of flora and fauna, overflowing with plants and botanicals. Explore B&H Buildings’ sensory Greenhouse on the mezzanine where you can choose your garnishes from the hanging plants discover new botanical cocktails with Mr Foggs and enjoy a drink in the garden.

Party hard in The Good Times Vault

Get down and dirty in the Good Times Vault, with favourite party bars such as London Cocktail Club, and  enter a world where the drinks are always strong, the music is always loud and the night is always young.

Witness cocktail wizardry in the Experimental Lab

Learn from the famed industry mavericks driving the city’s cocktail trends. Marvel at their cocktail wizardry in the experimental lab and get a sneak peak of the innovative techniques used to create award winning drinks.

Pretend you’re famous in the House of Luxe

Sit back, relax and enjoy luxurious surroundings and sumptuous champagne drinks from London’s most exclusive cocktail institutions.

Travel back in time in the underground bunker

Bringing you raucous good old fashioned fun, step back in time with Cahoots as they bring their underground tube carriage to the iconic London venue.

Discover a new favourite bar in The Neighbourhood

With new bars popping up all over London, find a new favourite as we bring you the critics’ pick of Neighborhood hangouts from a multitude of further afield boroughs. Zone 5 here we come!

Become an international jetsetter

Be swept away to the giddy romance of Florence and sample Negronis galore as we bring you a bar all the way from bella Italia.

Don’t forget! The Tasting Flight, where guests can sample three cocktails and pick their favourite: just £7.50 for three taste-tests alongside the Sensory Cocktail Journey where sight, sound, touch and smell are used to craft bespoke cocktails based on your emotion.

“Guests are encouraged to try their hand behind the bar, explore new trends, sip on some of the world’s newest and most premium spirit and liqueur inventions and taste unusual and rare ingredients, as Cocktails in the City takes you on a cocktail adventure through London’s drinks scene in one night, without even having to leave the building.”

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Some favourites from years past include:

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

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

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

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Fifteen, Old Street, came in with another winner! Inspired by Wimbledon’s classic, the Strawberries and Cream.

Inspired by Behn’s Milk Punch, this summery cocktail gets a 300 year update and is a massive mix of Langley’s gin, strawberries, whole milk, Dolin dry vermouth, coconut water, green tea, lemon juice and peels, sugar, pink peppercorns, tarragon and coriander seeds.

And what a fabulous mix it is!

A wonderful well balanced, silky cocktail, sweet without being overbearing and mellowed by the fruit and spices. Absolutely fantastic.

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Another great cocktails from CITC’s past is the the Reverend JW Simpson with their Larder Batch: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Pinot Noir and pink peppercorn reduction, cardamom bitters and angostura bitters; with a steak accompaniment. In terms of presentation, it stuck with the theme of the bar and the Four Roses bourbon, and the service was conversational, fun, and effervescent like the event itself. The accompaniment suited both the intense aspects of the drink, the bourbon, and Pinot Noir/pink peppercorn reduction – here the Reverend presents us with a steak dinner in a cocktail format and a nibble; the natural spiciness of the Four Roses Small Batch, and that of the peppercorn and cardamom suits the steak perfectly. The Reverend excelled on all fronts and more.

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So if you love your cocktails, get yourself a ticket asap, and see you at Cocktails in the City 2019!

The Vaults
Leake St, Lambeth,
London SE1 7NN

Thursday 4th, Friday 5th and Saturday 6th April: From 6 – 11.30pm
Tickets are priced at £20 and include a cocktail, multiple complimentary experiences and cocktail booklet.

www.cocktailsinthecity.com

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BOLD London Spirit

Charming BOLD Brand Ambassador Tomas Lenko welcomes us into London’s popular Hide Bar, famous for its policy on primarily serving up spirits and ingredients prepared in London.

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Many have probably already encountered BOLD London Spirit, an enigmatic little bottle popularly known as a cherry aperitif, but in reality a much more versatile cherry based spirit in its own right alongside vodka, gin and other cocktail bases we all know and love.

At 36% ABV, it packs a punch, but it doesn’t dull the flavours of cherry, cloves, or cassia. Inspired by the flavours of his childhood and the varieties of wild cherries in the UK, sour cherry bursts forth, followed immediately by bitter and floral notes of spices – making it a fantastic digestif as well.

An up-by-the-bootstraps project, the home-grown spirit is a tribute to life in London.

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The Strongman’s Sour mixes BOLD, lemon, orgeat, chocolate bitters for an excellent nightcap. A sweet sour, the cherry settles in with the chocolate like the perfect liqueur candy, with the nuttiness and floral of the orgeat lifting it up from being too heavy. How rare is it for me to love a drink with chocolate bitters?

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The BOLDvardier gives us BOLD, Campari and sweet vermouth for a wonderfully fruity take on the classic, and is much more forgiving for those who struggle with the strong whiskey flavours of a classic Boulevardier. Instead the BOLD removes the need for a cherry garnish and instead replaces it with a bright and uplifting orange, which classically intensifies the brighter flavours of the vermouth and Campari.

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And in time for the summer, the Chelsea Rose is a tall tipple with BOLD, raspberry, apple – super-sweet, yet somehow not offensively so. Perfect for the summer, classic fruit flavours of cherry, apple and raspberry make it a great grown up juice box.

And in a world where G&Ts are a dime a dozen, the Hoodooist is pleased to see the B&T be a refreshing change – and something that changes the way we approach an icy summer afternoon fruit cocktail. BOLD, Tonic, ice, sorted.

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Two years down the line, BOLD continues to be one of the more intriguing additions to the London drinks scene, and one that I massively enjoy. Cherry liqueurs are too cloying, but as a spirit, BOLD allows us to enjoy the flavours in a completely different way – as an aperitif, a digestif, a winter warmer like the Strongman’s Sour, or a summer sip like the Chelsea Rose as easily as ordering a BOLD and Tonic.

 

Savage Garden LDN, Tower Hill

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Rooftop
Damage: £££
Ideal for: ViewFoodDateSmall Groups, Large GroupsAfter Work

Overlooking the Tower of London and the gorgeous Trinity House, the Sky Lounge of the Doubletree Hilton has been revamped into the wildly beautiful Savage Garden.

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From the sweeping view of old London to the stunningly modern decor, the bar evokes a sense of expanse and clashing beauties that gives clout to the bar’s name.

From the dining room, to the hall and main bar, to the two terraces hosting carnivorous counters for seafood and meats, to the Beefeater (We’re next to the Tower, so) gin terrace and Jägermeister bar, the enormous venue attempts to cater to all eagerly making the most of the sun by sunset – which is met with a live band in the main bar area overlooking Tower Bridge.

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We were immediately welcomed with citrus buttermilk chicken sliders, crisp and brought to life with kimchi slaw and Korean gochujang-inspired ketchup, and soon after moreish beef sliders served in threes on a bone. Our time on the sunset terrace was accompanied by crispy prawn toast with a delightfully smokey bacon jam. The venue wants to make something very clear: they know their proteins.

Worry not for vegetarian options! Not far away we found the honey miso aubergine burgers served with fried green tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in their glorious red brioche.

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Well, we did say savage.

Not that we’ve forgotten about the cocktails!

Opening we have the Devil’s Advocate: Olmeca Blanco tequila meets pink grapefruit and lemon, blackcurrant and sage. Outside the deceptive name and the threatening chilli garnish, this drink is incredibly tame for the light drinker – though I suspect it might sneak up on you.

This vegetal tequila mingles smoothly with the sage, that adds a pleasant contrast to the sweet blackcurrant and bright grapefruit.

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Now if you’re looking for something slightly punchier, you wanna check out the Flambard Colada, inspired by the infamous Ranulf Flambard – first prisoner in the Tower of London, and the first to escape it – Havana Club 3YO rum mixes with pineapple, cucumber, topped up with Ayala champagne and a hint of absinthe. I found toning down the cucumber and upping the absinthe did wonders for this cocktail as a less creamy alternative to the tiki classic.

The marzipan of the rum stands out on the nose, and the cocktail itself packs a punch though it might seem innocent at first glance. The initial cucumber fades to a subtler pineapple that accompanies the champagne, waiting for the absinthe to cut through. Should probably relax on the garnish though, visually speaking.

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The Wild Poison makes a great long drink to relax with. Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, Merlet apricot brandy, cloudy apple juice, smoked pine syrup, Campari, with the garnish of ‘poison apple’.

The simplicity of the visuals is refreshing, while maintaining a solid theme, which I like. And though it is one of the sweeter drinks tried that evening, it isn’t offensively so (we are all aware by now of my struggle with sweet cocktails). You might take your time with the heaviness of this cocktail, but the mix is wonderful.

The USA has seen several renditions of the Apple Bourbon with a hint of sweet, so here Savage Garden takes a well-loved homemade goodie and give it a London up-do. This summery take on an Autumn cocktail uses Merlet apricot brandy in place of the oft-used honey or maple, while balancing out some of the excess sweetness with smoked pine and bitter Campari – making it accessible to a wide range of palates.

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Our last two cocktails were possibly our favourites of the evening, and two very different cocktails indeed.

One certainly counts as dessert: the Horny Beast comes inspired from the savage gardens of the Red Riding Hood tale in a mix of Beefeater pink gin, Aluna coconut rum, almond, lime, green strawberry, smoke and oak bitters, apple, rhubarb, and cinnamon soda, served with a strawberry, lime, and black pepper cracker.

Okay. So. Let’s discuss that cracker.

This cocktail is worth getting for that cracker.

The cocktail is a swirl of flavours that settles on ‘grown up cotton candy bubblegum’ which is bizarre, and yet… works. Well. I never thought I’d find myself saying that about something I’d describe as cotton candy bubblegum, yet here we are. A surprisingly fun drink that embraces itself.

Also that cracker.

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Finally, probably my favourite drink of the evening shouldn’t have surprised me from the moment I read the first ingredient.

Hey, we all have favourites.

The Lady Grey mixes Freya birch spirit, Seedlip Spice 94, apple and Earl Grey liqueur, oak and aromatic spices, topped up with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic.

Clear, composed, with a certain nobility in flavour, the Lady Grey has a running  undernote of the earthy birch spirit all the way through the cocktail, as the woody and spicy Seedlip’s cardamom finds itself comfortable in the spice mix. The Earl Grey liqueur soon comes to the fore as the cocktail soon settles on the floral tonic.

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If there was one thing I would add to this cocktail menu, it would be short cocktails. A lot of what we had seen was primarily topped up with juices, sodas, champagnes and tonics – and though each drink was carefully designed with a distinct personality that worked well with their length, those of us who enjoy our short drinks will have a smaller choice.

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Savage Garden is a strange beast. With its sprawling square footage and variety of bars and food counters and terraces it feels like more of a touring experience than a singular bar.

One thing is for certain, with the retractable ceilings and immense view, it will always be a summer draw, so expect late night parties under this wild city’s sky.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere: *****
Service: ****


Savage Garden LDN @ The Doubletree Hilton,

7 Pepys St,
London EC3N 4AF

https://www.savagegarden.co.uk/

Cocktails in the City 2018

Once again, Cocktails in the City is coming into serve thirsty Londoners some of the best cocktails in the city!

Oh wait, I just got the name.

Yes, CitC 2018 is a bringing  London’s most exciting bars beneath the green canopies of London’s One Marylebone for a sunny three-day celebration of the city’s unique and diverse drinking scene.  Festival-goers will get a chance to enjoy bars from around the city coming together in one gorgeous location on April 5th – 7th.

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

The 2018 Bar & Brand Line-Up
The Gibson Bar, The Artesian, TT Liquor, Cahoots, Mr Foggs, London Cocktail Club, Chapter 72, Eve Bar, Ella Canta, Little Bat, The Bloomsbury Club, Little Nans, MASH, Mint Gun Club, Coupette, Rock and Rose, Burlock, Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar, Four Degrees, Chotto Matte, Opium

International bars: Atrium Bar – Florence, House Bar – Amsterdam, Café Moderne – Paris

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Cocktails in the City showcases the world’s most inventive  and original cocktail bars, bringing together the cream of London’s illustrious cocktail culture, all within sipping distance of each other.
Cocktails in the City is a bar-hopper’s paradise, creating a village of pop-up bars for guests to explore, each with their own unique aesthetic, hosting tastings, workshops, games and of course, a plethora of talented mixologists creating out-of-this world cocktails.

Each of the 25 bars create a signature cocktail for guests to taste-test and this year’s theme is ‘Inspired by London’. Expect exceptional concoctions, all with a unique twist and flair, from a handpicked selection of the world’s top bars, this year including The Artesian, Eve Bar, The Gibson, Coupette, Little Bat, The Bloomsbury Club, Burlock, Hawksmoor, Mr Fogg’s, Mint Gun Club and Opium. There will be international bars to explore from Amsterdam, Paris and Florence, a ‘Be the Bartender’ experience in the garden, garnish and spirit workshops and interactive tasting tables as Cocktails in the City takes you on a whirlwind tour of cocktail exploration.

Guests are encouraged to try their hand behind the bar, explore new trends, sip on some of the world’s newest and most premium spirit and liqueur inventions and taste unusual and rare ingredients, as Cocktails in the City takes you on a cocktail adventure through London’s drinks scene in one night, without even having to leave the building.”

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Expect to see flavours inspired by this city we love: Earl Grey will play with rum in the Navy-inspired “Rum Fellow” by 1940s inspired Cahoots; the gin/beer rivalry of the 1700s will be enacted by sour beer syrup and juniper water in the “Whisky Avenue” by Eve Bar; and classic London flavours of gin, hops, elderflower and champagne will govern the Ada Lovelace inspired “Love Lace” by Little Bat. Of course, the Espresso Martini classic by London bar legend Dick Bradsell will appear with Chapter 72 in their “Peanut and Cinnamon Espresso Martini“.

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Some favourites from years past include:

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

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

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

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Fifteen, Old Street, came in with another winner! Inspired by Wimbledon’s classic, the Strawberries and Cream.

Inspired by Behn’s Milk Punch, this summery cocktail gets a 300 year update and is a massive mix of Langley’s gin, strawberries, whole milk, Dolin dry vermouth, coconut water, green tea, lemon juice and peels, sugar, pink peppercorns, tarragon and coriander seeds.

And what a fabulous mix it is!

A wonderful well balanced, silky cocktail, sweet without being overbearing and mellowed by the fruit and spices. Absolutely fantastic.

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Another great cocktails from CITC’s past is the the Reverend JW Simpson with their Larder Batch: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Pinot Noir and pink peppercorn reduction, cardamom bitters and angostura bitters; with a steak accompaniment. In terms of presentation, it stuck with the theme of the bar and the Four Roses bourbon, and the service was conversational, fun, and effervescent like the event itself. The accompaniment suited both the intense aspects of the drink, the bourbon, and Pinot Noir/pink peppercorn reduction – here the Reverend presents us with a steak dinner in a cocktail format and a nibble; the natural spiciness of the Four Roses Small Batch, and that of the peppercorn and cardamom suits the steak perfectly. The Reverend excelled on all fronts and more.

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So if you love your cocktails, get yourself a ticket asap, and see you at Cocktails in the City 2018!

One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4AQ

Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th April: From 6 – 11.30pm
Tickets are priced at £20 and include a cocktail, multiple complimentary experiences and cocktail booklet.

www.cocktailsinthecity.com

New Release! Fortaleza Still Strength Blanco

After two years of waiting – it’s finally here!

Fortaleza stands among the Hoodooist’s favourite tequilas available in the UK, and with good reason. The Blanco, Reposado and Anejo revel in gorgeous flavours of pine and agave, and the Still Strength Blanco is no different – now available in the UK.

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In its purest form, what sets the Blanco Still Strength apart is it is delivered straight from the copper pot still, at 46% – compared to the Blanco at 40% – and it comes through in the flavour. Still packed in those man-blown bottles and hand-made stoppers, the bottling is classic.

Still beautifully smooth as we expect from Fortaleza, I….I actually prefer this to the Blanco.

The nose is earthy, strong notes of olive and agave, and as I’ve come to expect from the distillery (at least for me) pine. It’s livelier, earthier, slightly more vegetal, with the salty-peppery kick on a velvet feel.

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The olive aroma really comes through when made into a Tequila Martini (not quite a 1942 without the bitters), for a strong kicker to wake you right up.

For the Hoodooist though, drinking it neat is the ticket.

Don’t mess with perfection.

 

New Release! by B.lo Nardini Grappa

You just haven’t tried the right one yet.

In the UK, you can expect any conversation about grappa goes the way of “I had a bad experience”. But everyone knew someone who said that about tequila or mezcal and they are dominating the cocktail scene at the moment – so when will grappa get some love?

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In my experience, grappa is best drunk neat, and B.lo Nardini‘s new range, the Selezione Bartolo Nardini, is a great place to start. The oldest running independent distillery in Italy use a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Grigio pomaces to create the new selection: the Extrafina, and the three aged La Ramate. We tasted the new selection at the favulous Corinthia Hotel, London, led by Antonio Nardini himself.

This selection of warm, welcoming grappas are both a good place to start your grappa journey, as well as a place to end your meals – as traditional pomace brandies they work as fabulous digestivos either on their own or paired with after-dinner courses.

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Getting straight down to business, the Extrafina has a powerfully floral nose, the palate begins with a hit of spice, followed by summer fruit, almost tropical – ending with a lasting banana and maraschino and a clean finish. An excellent digestivo to cleanse the palate.

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La Ramate is where this 20 year labour of love shines: the three grappas are aged in Slavonian oak.

The Three year old Riserva has a nose of cacao and cherry, the palate is rich with wood. Much softer than the Extrafina, it is filled with butterscotch, cooked plums and peaches, enjoyable and surprisingly mature for its age. The three year is designed to be served with sharp cheeses and bitter dark chocolates.

The Seven year old Riserva stands out as my favourite of the lot! Powerful and spicy on the nose, it goes down dangerously easily. Szechuan spice and tobacco leaf dance with sour cherry to a honeyed finish, long and persistent. Adore.
The Seven year is paired well with sweeter desserts with its cocoa nuances.

Finally, the Fifteen year old Riserva is quite unlike anything I’ve had before. Intense and relentless, drier than the others but powerfully woody and rich with nutty flavour. Hints of vanilla and chocolate cut through the tobacco bitterness. I admire it’s complexity, and with its demanding and smokey flavour, it pairs well with cigars and dark chocolate.

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And there we have it! A great place to start for those who still want to get to know grappa, or those who already know her well. These new releases by Nardini are a sure-fire way to introduce you to grappa, and that 7 year Riserva will be on my own shelf soon enough.

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.
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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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