Montelobos Mezcal Tasting @ The Curtain

Candle wax drips in cascades as their lights flicker across the leather chesterfields. Dr. Ivan Saldana strides to the centre of The Curtain‘s basement member’s club, behind him an enormous lupine emblem, on either side matte black cocktail shakers and new expressions of the immensely popular Montelobos Mezcal.

One of the first big names in mezcal in the UK, Montelobos capitalised on the agave boom very early, becoming a recognisable presence on the back bar and in a Mezcal Old Fashioned.

Dr. Saldana’s academic background in botany has been invaluable to the mezcal’s inception, and will continue to be as agave varieties face deforestation in Mexico.

Montelobos combats this by harvesting rarer agave varietals like tobala and cupreata – notoriously difficult to cultivate, and thus varietals that face the most danger in the face of the ‘premium’ agave spirit market.

In an industry where ‘sustainability’ has becomes a buzzword to be thrown around at various trade shows, we see it in action at the Montelobos estate.

We raise the first classic Montelobos mezcal – the Espadin.

Clear crystal, the Espadin is a classic. The nose reveals sugary sweetness at the bottom of an espresso cup, before green peppers and asparagus burst from under the coffee grounds and sugar crystals. Petrichor and light sprays of citrus.

The palate isn’t far off – cooked and fresh agave, light funky fruit and some roasted nuts, a clean herbacity and mangos with a smoky cocoa. Wonderfully complex without sacrificing balance – perfect for cocktails.

The Ensamble is the gorgeous expression that separates the agave lovers from the rest. This beautiful spirit mixes Papalote, Espadin and Tobala agaves for a surprising blend.

A deceptive nose of roasted agave and nectar dripping over hot rocks and citrus masks a palate of capers and cheese, before a spicy hit of nutmeg and minerality, a chalkiness, before a peppery vinegar and grape skin. A wonderful combo recommended for brandy and eau de vie lovers.

Those who know the Hoodooist know he loves a Tobala. Once again, a deceptive nose – bright with citrus and pepper, one has to look at the tail end of spices to know where we’re going. The palate is full – sweet and oily. Smoky, almost peaty but not quite, the mezcal gives way too bright green herbs, like basil. But soon, caramel and roasted fruits like figs and nuts, making it almost reminiscent of sherried scotches (for those unacquainted with mezcals). This smoothness has the earthy funk of truffle, muscovado sugar and liquorice to finish on. A gorgeous, sweet/smoky combo.

Finally, a mezcal to wake the dead: The Pechuga. This Espadin based Pechuga carries the same characteristic of any other pechugas: distilled with spices and poultry – except the usual chicken breast is swapped out for kosher turkey breast, hanging over the distilling spirit.

With the Day of the Dead coming soon, the Hoodooist had to grab himself some, in keeping with Oaxaca tradition to serve pechuga for libations.

Orange peel and nutmeg greets the nose, the mouthfilling palate is awash with tropical fruit, papaya, honeydew melon, as well as floral hibiscus and roasted almonds, before the autumnal flavours of squash and maple. What a superb spirit.

Ivan has done an incredible job overseeing a collection of varied and environmentally responsible joven mezcals with Montelobos. The varied collection of flavours across the 4 mezcals provides a wide range of experience across a carefully selected ensamble of spirits.

When you’re ready to climb onto the next rung of your mezcal studies, consider the guilt-free smoky delights of Casa Montelobos.

Thanks to,

Montelobos Mezcal

http://montelobos.com/

and,

The Curtain Shoreditch

https://thecurtain.com

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Manguin en Provence Distillery Tasting

“Between the palace of the popes of Avignon and the Phillippe le Bel de Villeneuve Lez Avignon Tower which in the 14th century were joined by the famous bridge of Avignon with its 21 arches, is the island of Barthelasse, the biggest river island in Europe, a land of sand and lemons, swept by the Mistral, perfect for the cultivation of exceptional fruits, bathing in the sunshine of Provence.”

In the plush environs of Fitz’s Bar, London, Beatrice and Emmanuel of the Manguin Distillery regale us with stories from Provence while holding close the guarded secrets of Manguin. The French distillery is most popular for its Poire Williams Eau de Vie, with a Williams Pear trapped inside the bottle for sale, but we had the wonderful opportunity to taste more of what they had to offer.

Manguin Oli’Gin

Many gin purists these days have begun to rebel against the wealth of gins not led by juniper on the palate, and I’d agree if it were not for this beauty.

The Oli’Gin changed my mind – a superb gin if you like your olives.

Made in an alembic pot still names Cesar, the botanicals of obviously juniper, then familiar orris, coriander, orange and lemon peels, angelica, and flavoured with the maceration of three Provencal olives births a unique gin for the clean dirty olive Martini.

Love olive but not brine? Solved.

This nose is not kidding around. Olive tapenade pours out of the bottle when uncorked, and lingers. Mandarin follows soon after, and the aroma of truffle makes a powerful entrance, masking the shy bouquet of jasmine and white flowers. The journey ends with a train of olive and hints of coriander.

Max of Matango and the Water House Project whispers “I need to use this in a Harissa bun” and now I’m hungry.

The palate isn’t kidding around. The sweet black olive and juniper enter together – this is not a ‘flavoured’ gin as one might be led to believe at first. And here is the surprise of spices! A little bit of bite, but smooth enough to be in the driest of Martinis.

Manguin Oli’Still:

The secret to the Oli’Gin! So tantalisingly close, but the three olives that make this distillate are kept secret. The maceration is prepared in a Charentais alembic, this heart of the still is glorious to replace the brine for a Dirty Martini, and I would love to use it in a Bloody Mary.

The sweet black olives are back, let it sit and return and you will find the strangest of scents: freshly baked donuts!

Eau de Vie Abricot Quintessence:

How gorgeous is this? I have a… complex… personal relationship with Eau de Vie but I do love this brandy.

A perfumed bite, but the first sip’s powerful tarte tatin and apricot soon gives way to Provence’s chalky terroir, the aroma of sea spray – the lavender and heather that dominates the countryside sways into view, and soon ends on the sweetest of almond cakes, sugar syrup dripping from the sponge.

This EdV is Provence in a bottle – from its fruit to its flowers to its soil and sea. Gorgeous.

Finally, the last two liqueurs!

Moving into sweet territory, these fruit and floral liqueurs are a wonderful end to the afternoon.

Béatrice and Emmanuel Hanquiez of Manguin en Provence

Manguin Clementine liqueur:

Sweet, syrupy, beautiful. The bright spray of clementine explodes into almonds, followed by a parade of lemon sherbet. This is what you want from a liqueur: simplicity with depth.

Last but not least, the Manguin Citron Bergamote liqueur:

What I love about this, it leans into the sweetness of the liqueur rather than shying away to preserve the floral perfuminess of bergamot. By doing so it keeps with a liqueur’s foremost purpose without sacrificing the bergamot’s flavour.

Bergamot swirls into scene, soon cardamom crushes in a mortar. The pith of blood orange sinks into an earthy minerality to end on a soft bed of violets.

The opportunity to taste the Provencal flavours of Manguin’s products was an honour, and have definitely placed them firmly in my radar, as well they should yours. With a wonderful Eau de Vie, especially for EdV novices, spectacular floral and fruit liqueurs to drink neat or use in cocktails, and an olive gin and distillate for both cocktails and cooking, Manguin has stunned by bringing Provence to London.

Thanks to,

Manguin en Provence distillery

https://www.manguin.com/en/

and,

Fitz’s Bar @

Russell Square, Bloomsbury,
London WC1B 5BE

Fitzs

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!

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Yes, CitC 2019 Summer Edition  is a bringing 25 of London’s most exciting bars i beneath the green canopies of London’s Bedford Square Gardens for a sunny two-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 July 12th – 13th.

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 re-discover their love for the picnic with all new cocktails, tasting rooms, games and food trucks.

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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.”

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

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

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

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We got a super special chance to preview a few of the drinks we have lined up for the weekend at the fabulous new B&H Garden Rooms!

Be ready to see Bourne and Hollingsworth themselves at CITC with the pink for summer Ephemera! A definite crowd pleaser, this Picpoul de Pinet based spritzer gives us the light minerality of the wine with the sweeter elderflower of the St. Germain. The light lift of the Huana and bittery finish of the Martini Bitter provide us with a collection of ephemeral flavours for a balanced, light summer drink.

Up next, mammoth Chinatown speakeasy Opium concocts a cocktail that’s a feast for the eyes, the Opium Punch mixes Remy Martin 1738 cognac with oleo saccharum, oolong tea, ume shu and a mystery cordial of everything from lemon grass and gender to honey and malic acid.

From the first burst of floral cognac to the smoky oolong, silky ume shu, firecracker ginger and ending on a length of honey. this gorgeous number is a deceptively strong drink for the summer.

And don’t forget Genuine Liquorette!

This new London venue up ends the occult of bartending and wants to ‘break down the barrier between bartender and customer’ by having you jump right in!

The Cha-Chunker gets you stuck right in, breaking in tinnies to toss in your Beefeater Gin miniatures and ingredients for your own Clover Clubs, Collins and various classic cocktails!

THE CHA-CHUNKER

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!

Bedford Square Gardens, London, WC1B

Friday 12th from 5pm – 10pm
Saturday 13th (two sessions) 12pm – 5pm, 5.30pm – 10pm

Tickets are priced at £20 and include a cocktail, multiple complimentary experiences and cocktail booklet.

www.cocktailsinthecity.com

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.

12744739_10153957679234559_6169763058429716269_n

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

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