Ice Dream Drams @ The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Clerkenwell

SUMMER.

If the heatwave on the Central Line hasn’t cost you your faith in intelligent design, a short walk from Chancery Lane brings you to the out-of-the-way doorstep of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

And what better way to deal with the summer but with ice cream?

Or better yet, whisky ice creams!

Paired with more whisky.

….

Whisky.

Can you tell I’m enjoying this

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The usually Member’s Only venue will be open to the public to sample 4 of the Ice Dream Drams and pairings during 4 Scoop Sessions on the 1st, 8th, 16th and 22nd of July 2015 at 15 quid a person!

SMWS buys casks of whisky that they place under a numbering system to keep the customers blind to distillery preferences, and for Ice Dream Drams, the whiskies are paired with ice creams by S. Luca, made with the same whiskies, as well as flavoured to either complement or contrast the dram.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The 64.61 ‘The Angel and the Devil’, alongside the Snowball Seduction icecream

At our Scoop Session, we began with the Cask No. 64.61, titled ‘The Angel and the Devil’. The nose is bold with coconut and vanilla, the first sip being powerfully oaky and intense on the vanilla. Hints of stewed fruits, autumnal with brown sugar and nutmeg, butterscotch – but contrasted by brighter flavours of citrus and light herbs.

A young ex-bourbon barrel, paired with a Snowball Seduction ice cream – vanilla and coconut, with 64.61 whisky. Complementing the flavours of the young whisky, it also happens to be the most subtle of the ice creams of the evening.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS
The second whisky, the 41.65 is called ‘Sweet Couscous and Argan Oil’ – a beautiful dry, spice whisky, 30 years old in an ex-bourbon hogshead cask – the Hoodooist fell in love with this one, and enjoyed it neat (and is very similar to a mezcal by Bruxo!). The nose is complex, on one hand, somewhat reminiscent of polish, on the other, the sweet fragrance surrounding beehives. The palate is powerfully spicy, and are much deeper than first expected: powerfully Moroccan with raisins, Argan oil, as well as roasted figs in honey, intense cloves, star anise. Beautiful. Paired with the Ginger Rasta ice cream with its ginger bite and chunks of ginger cake.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The third whisky, 117.5, is utterly beautiful, coming in from Ireland, it’s described as ‘Smouldering, Brooding and Alluring’. 22 years in an ex-sherry hogshead cask, the drier, deeper flavours of the sherry cask are notably passed into the whisky.

For the Hoodooist, the nose was powerfully warm, cocoa, cinnamon, manuka honey, sandalwood, like smouldering woods and incense, like settling into a four-poster bed. Can you tell I love this nose? Alongside sweeter flavours of toffee and vanilla, treacle and Kirsch, some lighter herbs flowered alongside the spices.

A beautiful, dry whisky. Served with the Cherry Popper, a rich fruit ice cream with cherry and dark chocolate. An absolutely wonderful pairing. Probably my favourite of the evening.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The heavily peated 53.223, ‘Angels & Demons’

Finally, ending with the 53.223, the ‘Angels & Demons’, 23 years, ex-bourbon barrel. You smell this one coming from a mile away. It screams Islay, a nose powerfully tarry, smoky, medicinal and iodine, with final traces of aniseed. The palate was a fascinating mix of honey and tropical fruit, as well as powerfully peated smoke and white pepper, with that similar medicinal flavour. If drunk through water, the whisky presents strong dried fruit notes, particularly apricot, and bit of honey.

Served alongside the Smoky Lavender Kiss ice cream, the lavender and Parma violets sheds the more medicinal flavours to contrast powerfully the peat, and present the fruits. An excellent combo.

Led through the course with the wonderful Sam MacDonald, exploring the whiskies and their ice cream pairings was easily accessible, and an informal, enjoyable experience – followed by relaxed conversation. Highly recommended – and 4 well aged whiskies and whisky ice creams at 15 quid seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Highly recommended to take advantage of this July! Grab a space while you can!

The Ice Dream Drams Scoop Sessions take place on 1st, 8th, 16th and 22nd of July.

Entry: £15.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

19 Greville Street,
London EC1N 8SQ

http://www.smws.co.uk/icedreamdramslondon

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Smokes and Tipples @ Hotel Xenia, South Kensington

The Hotel Xenia is back with their Smokes and Tipples tasting sessions! Sessions that bring together cigars paired with whiskies from their excellent humidor collection to their heated outdoor Living Wall Bar and Herb Garden.

Hosted by Hunters and Frankau, the UK’s official Cuban cigar importers, visitors will be presented with the cigar of choice along with a selection of whiskies to pair.

 

Escorted down the stairway with a glass of Prosecco, the living wall is a comfy, if small and cosy space. With music soft in the distance (thankfully, cigars and whiskey are for conversations), each visitor receives their own non-sulphur wooden matches and guillotine. If necessary, do ask staff to turn up the heating, it can get unseasonably cold in London this winter!

Cigars B&W

For a preview of what is to come at the Smokes and Tipples sessions at the Xenia, the Hoodooist was presented with a Petit Edmundo from the Casa de Montecristo. A short Robusto, the Edmundo is a 52 ring gauge (*whistle*) that would normally be recommended to more seasoned smokers, due to thickness and complexity.

Initially spicy, and rather vague in flavour (primarily tobacco, occasionally a red fruit), midway, flavours of bitter chocolate (which initially seemed like espresso) and something peppery. Excellent burn and self-correction, a great cigar to introduce.

Paired was the Glenfiddich 12yr, a typically Speyside whisky with its spicy-floral flavour to complement the Petit Edmundo. The sweet-ish finish goes fantastically with the after-taste of the Edmundo.

 

All in all, a pleasant experience to bring a friend or two along and relax with, with excellent service and masterclass by speakers and representatives of Hunters and Frankau to walk you through the entire session.

Smokes and Tipples

The next Smokes and Tipples event will run on the 12th of March 2015, with tickets going at £30.00.
To book, contact stephanie.pender@hotelxenia.co.uk or call 0207 442 42 42.
Hotel Xenia

160 Cromwell Road, South Kensington,
London SW5 0TL 

http://www.hotelxenia.co.uk/

London Cocktail Week ’14, Day FOUR: Angels Unawares

Welcome back to the recap of the fourth 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 9th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackle Clerkenwell and Farringdon. The theme seems to be the importance of service, where fantastic service and come venues clashes with terrible service at others.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon's Pickle Jar event

Buffalo Trace Bourbon’s Pickle Jar event

6.30PM: The Well’s basement, Pickle Jar, is busy as all hell. The PR company sure did know what they were doing when they handled the Buffalo Trace event here, but hell, Buffalo Trace always does do the best LCW pop ups, so it’s bound to be busy.

You know when you know you’re at the best place? Yup, that feeling right there. We started off with a Rosemary Sazerac. Buffalo Trace, rosemary gomme, atomised absinthe that is sprayed over the drink. THIS SOLVES IT. The problem that so many bartenders have with washing a glass with absinthe when making a Sazerac, this solves it, preventing from there being too much or too little. The absinthe still comes through, mainly through smell. The Buffalo Trace with its smoothness and light flavour of the rosemary. A beautiful drink.

The Maraschino Manhattan is equally brilliant. Though it uses a notoriously sweet vermouth – Antica Formula – the Manhattan still manages to be served Perfect instead of Sweet. Success.

We ended with a trio of Picklebacks – first with pickled gherkin juice, then beetroot, then cucumber.

Cucumber was out least favourite; gherkin the most familiar; and finally beetroot being surprisingly pleasant, and in fact – wonderful. I look forward to finding a way to do this again! Time to start pickling beets. All in all – Buffalo Trace really succeeded in organising this event, with a wonderful bartended from the Cadogan Arms. A fabulous piece of work.

Pickle Jar's 'Maraschino Manhattan'

Pickle Jar’s ‘Maraschino Manhattan’

8PM: I honestly wish I stayed at the Pickle Jar. Why? Because I made the unfortunate decision of stopping by the Bistrot Bruno Loubet.

Serving up ‘The Fallen’ meant to be somehow reminiscent of Biblical fallen angels (yeah, I know.), Martell VSOP and St. Germain is primarily orange citrus, followed by a slight ginger – ending with elderflower in the background. The mediocre drink aside, this happened:

Anastrophe&Cheese: “We’ll have a second for him, as well.”
The Hoodooist (immediately): “No, I’m fine, thanks, cancel that!”
5 minutes later;
Server: “Hi, yes here is your drink. I already made it, and I can’t keep it aside since it will lose the flavour, so you have to have it. Or you have to pay for it anyway.”
The Hoodooist: “But we asked to cancel it as soon as it was mentioned.”
Server: “Well, I already made it in that time.”
Anastrophe&Cheese: “We literally cancelled it instantly.”
Server: “Well, nothing I can do.” *shrugs indignantly and leaves*

NOTE: BBL invited us back with an apology for the service, and a full review can be found HERE

8.30PM: We entered St. Bart’s Brewery for a minute, where a drink was served when all we asked for were the ingredients to their Kentish Stinger (Cider brandy, Pinot Noir, sugar). Nonetheless, the bartender apologised and didn’t mind taking it away when our faces betrayed our opinions. One could have a sherbet or a Tokaji instead of this, really, if it is your thing. Incredibly sweet and should be served short, in personal opinion. But a fantastic display of good service, in comparison to the Bistrot Bruno Loubet incident.

COLD's 'Cristal Clear Martinez'

COLD’s ‘Cristal Clear Martinez’

9PM: City of London Distillery (C.O.L.D.) is a comfy, dark, leather becouched basement venue at Fleet Street that distills its own citrusy (primarily pink grapefruit) gin, with a gin institute as well.

Serving up a ‘Cristal Clear Martinez’, Cocchi Americano, City of London Dry Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, dash of Regans Orange Bitters, maraschino cherry garnish dropped in. This is excellent, but also very sweet, even in comparison to most Martinez’. The orange bitters really does come through with the grapefruit of the CoL gin; combatting with the thick sweetness of the Cocchi Americano and Luxardo Maraschino. Further down the drink, the cherry gets a chance to release its sugars into the drink for further sweetness. Somehow still a wonderful drink regardless of its intense sugariness.

This paired with the incredibly knowledgeable and polite servers who are genuinely concerned about you and your drink is highlighted by the horrible service at BBL earlier. Servers here at COLD are wonderful. We went on to have more drinks and samples which I will cover in a full review next week or so.

Midnight: The Hoodooist is typing this up and contemplating how perhaps the hospitality of a venue might trump everything else about it. Feeling at home is what makes a bar what it is (Click to see Hospitality Rant HERE), and not living up to that ruins what you stand for. And it isn’t about being a reviewer; it’s about being a customer, and indeed a guest. Anyone of you bartenders and servers could be entertaining angels unawares.
Alright! That’s our recap of Day Four 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.

Come back tomorrow for our NEXT RECAP of LCW ’14, and #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo!

London Cocktail Week ’14, Day TWO: Cellars and the City

Welcome back to the recap of the second 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 7th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled the City and London Bridge – which seems populated by basement bars and aging cellars. So on with the show!

 

2PM: Marching up from lunch at Borough Market, we find ourselves at Silk & Grain; we’ve been hoping to pop by for a while.

Silk & Grain adopted the concept of aging cocktails and made it their bar signature. Cocktails, or spirits, are whipped up in batches of 3 litres and aged for a week or two in their cellar – which our server was kind enough to give us a tour of – in different containers depending on the desired effect.

The Silk & Grain Cellar, with 'Elle' Presidente Casks

The Silk & Grain Cellar, with ‘Elle’ Presidente Casks

The LCW drink on offer was the ‘Elle’ Presidente: Bacardi Superior, dry vermouth, Cointreau, pomegranate syrup aged in a barrel. An intense fragrance of Cointreau; the drink’s first sip is notably strong and almost difficult, but the second is far mellower, with a rich mouthfeel (especially in comparison to your usual El Presidente, courtesy of the aging). After that surprising development, we assumed perhaps it needed a while to breathe after being released from its cask. Other than that, one can expect the pomegranate of the usual El Presidente, and light notes of the Bacardi Superior’s blue cheese come through.

A sample of their barrel aged Manhattan provides a much smoother, and indeed much sweeter Manhattan, where the Rye whisky takes a back seat to the intense fruitiness Martini Rosso vermouth. Finally, a sample of the smoked then bottled vodka brings the almost caramel coffee sweetness of the heavily charred cask with it before being mixed into a Moscow Mule.

The ‘Elle’ Presidente might not be entirely my style, but Silk & Grain is still worth a stop to develop one’s understanding of the aging process of spirits and cocktails.

 

Silk & Grain's 'Elle' Presidente

Silk & Grain’s ‘Elle’ Presidente

3PM: Merchant House London hosts an LCW pop up for the recently launched Burleigh’s Gin, notable for its intensely woodland flavours and earthy crispness. The multiple drinks on offer at the pop up are meant to either bring out the gin’s forest flavours, or emphasis it in more complex cocktails.

One such drink was the Woodland Martinez, Burleigh’s mixed in with red vermouth, homemade mushroom bitters and absinthe. Slightly bizarre sounding at first, intuition led me in the right direction with this one – absolutely adored it. The mushroom and aniseed really come through on the nose and rich texture; the floral aspect of the gin is emphasised here, with the wet undergrowth coming right after, resting lightly on the mushroom – which was distinct, yet subtle. Finally, the absinthe adds a bit of kick at the end, but a light one. There’s something mysterious and almost disquieting in this cocktail, and what a beautiful drink it is. I do hope it makes it to the Merchant House’s permanent menu. HINT HINT, NATE.

Merchant House's 'The Woodland Martinez'

Merchant House’s ‘The Woodland Martinez’

6PM: Yes, there was a second lunch involved. 6PM found us at The Bar at Roast, London Bridge, where servers seemed to have forgotten what they were serving for LCW. Atmosphere was that special kind of bland, followed by an equally bland dry Manhattan called something silly like “The Mad Men Manhattan”. Wild Turkey Bourbon (in a Manhattan?), dry vermouth, barolo chinato, Abbots bitters. In terms of Manhattans, one has certainly had better, fairly disappointing. Perhaps here we have an example of personal biases more so than the other drinks.

 

The Hide Bar's 'Under The Influence'

The Hide Bar’s ‘Under The Influence’

7PM: We’ve found ourselves at Tanner & Co, but when asked what the LCW drink is, the server describes it as “Rum and apple juice” (apparently that makes a punch these days). So we cross the street to The Hide Bar. The Hide presents both a hot and cold version of ‘Under The Influence’: Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum, Campari, topped up with blended mulled wine with vermouth base – the complexity of which is understated in the drinks description. Whereas the cold version came off medicinal and bitter, the hot was a spectacularly complex and pleasant drink – the initial rum sweetness giving in to the spiced red wine with a subtle Campari aftertaste. Served very short, rightfully so, it can be very intense. Worth a stop, during this cold week.

 

Cecil's Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up

Cecil’s Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up

8PM: Here we are at Cecil’s Paris in London Grand Marnier pop up. We’ve been plotting to go to Cecil’s for a while now, just for an excuse to wear white tie more often. And oh my, is this a pop up you HAVE to visit before the end of the week, and was certainly the highlight of the evening.

Spectacular service first of all, by the same company who provided the excellent service at the House of Peroni launch last week (Click HERE for review). But the list of cocktails provided for the pop up all stood out wonderfully. To the point where we were happy paying full price to try to them instead of the LCW drink on offer.

L-R: Grand Sidecar; Cold Claret Punch

L-R: Grand Sidecar; Cold Claret Punch

The effervescent and fun environment of Cecil’s charged by the live jazz band had a distinctly Parisian feel to it as the Hoodooist held onto his Cold Claret Punch; Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Cherry Marnier, Bordeaux red wine, botanicals, spices and lemon juice. The initial powerful Bordeaux calms down out through the drink, as the other flavours and scents grow. Nonetheless, you can’t mistake the intensity of the wine, followed by the cherry and Grand Marnier. In the past I have not been a major fan of wine cocktails, forget cold ones – but this changed my mind entirely – what a spectacular long drink to relax with (EVIDENCE THE HOODOOIST CAN DRINK LONG DRINKS!).

Brand Ambassador Julien Lafond with Grand Marnier Quintessence

Brand Ambassador Julien Lafond with Grand Marnier Quintessence

Being introduced to the wonderfully hospitable Brand Ambassador of Grand Marnier, Julien Lafond, we ourselves were introduced to a bottle of the Grand Marnier Centenaire – released in 1927 to mark the 100th year of the great House of Grand Marnier. And no surprise it is still being sold, the Centenaire is a spectacle. Petite and Grande Champagne cognacs meet orange eaux de vie to build an award winning spirit with a spicy candied orange bouquet and a wonderfully layered falvour, opening on the intense orange, moving to the sharper cognac, and finally resting on a simmering aftertaste of orange zest. (I made a typo of ‘zest’ as ‘sex’, so we can guess how much I adored this liquor).

And just when we thought Mr. Lafond couldn’t be more of a star, a bottle of Grand Marnier Quintessence finds its way to the table. As he walks us through the complexities of its production and history, a shiver runs through the Hoodooist as he pulls the cork. Assaulted by almond and vanilla scents, as well as the expected orange, snifters are sniffed and drinks drunk to reveal an elegant opening of an older cognac’s sweet notes of caramel, vanilla and almond, giving way to first a light citrusy body, and to a long length of orange zest. An amber masterpiece of liquid engineering.

 

L-R: Grand Marnier Centenaire; Quintessence

L-R: Grand Marnier Centenaire; Quintessence

Our evening ends with a conversation with our generous hosts, and at Midnight: The Hoodooist prepares his third day’s LCW14 assault. Await me, Shoreditch, I am coming for you.

Alright! That’s our recap of Day Two 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.

Come back tomorrow for our NEXT RECAP of LCW ’14, and #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo!

London Cocktail Week ’14, Day ONE: Nikka, Courvoisier, & the Savoy, Oh My!

Welcome one and all to the recap of the first 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 6th: Where the Hoodooist and friends tackled the Seven Dials and a couple of tasting events, wielding the mythical Hoodooist Manual, written in an indecipherable text known as ‘my terrible handwriting’. If found, return to the nearest bar, I’ll find it eventually.

a.k.a., Ole' Scribbly.

a.k.a., Ole’ Scribbly.

1PM: Hello, Flesh and Buns. Notorious for its questionable (read: sexist) choice in bathroom décor in some vain attempt to shock, the drink put forward was equally tasteless. The Hokuto Sour brings Japanese whisky, Yuzu sake, chocolate bitters, egg white and lemon to make something that is certainly more of a palette cleanser. All notes scream yuzu and lemon, although halfway through there is an echo of the chocolate bitters. I may have gotten a bit of the whisky on the sides of the tongue, but it was barely there. I’m just glad I only paid 4 pounds for it.

Nonetheless, the kinako donuts were pretty fantastic.

Flesh and Buns' 'Hokuto Sour'

Flesh and Buns’ ‘Hokuto Sour’

2PM: The Nikka ‘51.4’ Bar. The Japanese whisky pop-up serves several pre-mixed cocktails featuring the ‘Nikka From the Barrel Whisky’. Either you order a flight of 4 mini-cocktails for 4 pounds, or buy a bottle of a premixed cocktail for roughly 55 quid. The latter option might seem odd until you realise that some of the drinks being imported from Paris and Italy (or you know, improvise from the ingredients).

In any case, the flight was a marvellous idea; let’s have a quick run through:

The Nikka '51.4' Bar's Cocktail Flight

The Nikka ‘51.4’ Bar’s Cocktail Flight

Let’s begin with the Nippone: from Paris’ Le Mary Celeste, and winner of the Nikka Perfect Serve 2010. Nikka meets Amontillado sherry and two dashes of Spanish bitters for a bit of kick. Through the initial hit of Nikka, the nose opens up to the fruity Amontillado. The smoothest of the drinks, and certainly one I can see myself relaxing with, can best be described as a seductive island of Nikka in the midst of an Amontillado sea. A success.

The Bamboo Crane: from Paris’ Le Mavel, and winner of the NPS 2011, brings Nikka with Pedro Ximenez sherry and Bonal Quina. Okay, on the nose, the smell I can only describe as downright erotic. I want this as a parfum, leather, heat, perfection. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for flavour. Texture is gritty, the initial sherry sweetness gives way to vanilla, finally to the quina – which if used wisely (as at NOLA, click HERE for review), can be an effective ingredient – characterised here as a sudden burst of bitterness.

The Professor Cocktail #30: from Rome’s Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, bring together Nikka with Vermouth del Professore and Chinotto citrus liqueur. Mellow, the vermouth blends well with the Nikka for a subtle, silky drink with an intense fruitiness. The Chinotto is present with a slight bitterness at the end.

Finally, the Robbie Burns-San: courtesy of London’s own Bam-Bou! Nikka, Italian sweet vermouth and Benedictine; a sharp assault of Nikka mellows out, only to be followed by a sudden, unexpected wasabi-esque burst of spice in the sinuses, leaving a warm aftertaste of plum and stone fruit. Surprising, teasing, and one that most accurately reflects the flavour of neat Nikka. I quite liked this, but the Nippone above still wins it for me.

Courvoisier Global Ambassador, Rebecca Asseline

Courvoisier Global Ambassador, Rebecca Asseline

3PM: Grab a coffee and charge to the Hyatt Regency’s Churchill Bar for Courvoisier’s Cognac tasting and pairing masterclass.

Hosted by the lovely Rebecca Asseline (above), global ambassador for Courvoisier, the session provided information on the making, and indeed complex architecture, of the most honourable Chateau Courvoisier. A perfect opportunity for the Hoodooist to evolve past shots of Cypriot pomace brandy to a more sophisticated understanding of cognac.

Exploring first the VSOP Courvoisier, a blend of grapes from the Grande and Petit Champagne regions, brings out the heady combination of vanilla, dried fruits, and summer flowers.

Although I certainly took more to the XO, blend of Borderies, Grande and Petit Champagne grapes, with their intense, sweeter bouquet of crème brûlée, candied orange, and iris flowers – especially when paired with crème brûlée as dessert – bringing out the sweetness and intensifying the length of the brandy.

Courvoisier & Creme Brulee Pairing

Courvoisier & Creme Brulee Pairing

The Churchill Bar also presented us with what was similar to a sweet herbal Cognac Julep – Courvoisier VSOP, sugar syrup, rosemary, thyme, Angostura bitters and lime. After enjoying the delights of Courvoisier, it felt a bit odd to be given a cocktail that really drained the uniqueness from it, to be replaced with a bit too much sugar syrup. Toning down the sugar here would provide a spectacular Spring drink.

Courvoisier VSOP; XO; and cocktail

Courvoisier VSOP; XO; and cocktail

Finally, 5PM finds the Hoodooist at the Savoy Hotel’s Martini Museum and American Bar. Situated at the entrance of the American Bar, earning its name for being one of the fewest bars back at the turn of the 20th Century for serving ‘mixed’, or ‘American’ drinks, the Savoy presents the immortal Martini, with a Savoy twist.

The 5 o Clock Martini is a bergamot fix on a wet gin Martini, with all ingredients constructed primarily for the London Cocktail Week, but readers should know that unlike the rest of LCW, the 5 o Clock Martini is full price at 10 GBP – it is just limited edition for this week.

The Savoy Gin, distilled only this weekend by Portobello Road Gin, meets Cocchi produced dry vermouth with added bergamot; and Bitter Truth goes for a bergamot Savoy bitters. Yeah, the Savoy pulled out all the stops. You will be asked if you want a sprig of bergamot in your drink, I recommend keeping it aside until halfway through the drink, and then drop it in.

The initial bergamot assault is unmistakable and almost cloying, both on the nose and palette. But after removing the sprig of bergamot, seems to mellow out a bit, having you realise the gin is actually quite subtle (for a gin, that is), floral, and not too citrus. An interesting Martini worth a try if you’re in the mood, very intense, even when served wet.

The Savoy's '5 o Clock Martini'

The Savoy’s ‘5 o Clock Martini’

6.30PM: The Hoodooist had an academic event to find himself at. This was not easy to get to, as one can imagine. In any case, he bloody well made it, and managed to not make a fool of himself.
Alright! That’s our recap of Day One 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.

Come back tomorrow for our NEXT RECAP of LCW ’14, and #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo!