Highland Park Midwinter Social

THURSDAY 24TH NOVEMBER – FINNEBASSEN WITH SUPPORT FROM KIPP$

FRIDAY 25TH NOVEMBER – EELKE KLEIJN WITH SUPPORT FROM KIPP$

Highland Park, the Orkney Single Malt with #VikingSoul, is taking over The Boiler House for their Midwinter Social to celebrate the longer nights in anticipation of Winter Solstice. You will be transported into an Orkney-themed urban oasis where opposites clash to create a breath-taking environment, to enjoy an evening of feasting, socialising and enjoying Highland Park.

https-%2f%2fcdn-evbuc-com%2fimages%2f25771417%2f140041246404%2f1%2foriginal

Highland Park will evoke this Viking Soul by featuring a variety of food vendors curated by Root + Bone, tales from the distillery around the fire pit, torchlight tasting sessions, and more. World renowned DJs Finnebassen, Eelke Kleijn and Kipps will be providing the soundtrack to the evenings. Plus you’ll get a free drink on arrival to make sure your evening gets off to a good start. Actually, that’s not enough. We’ll throw in a second drink each.

Two complimentary drinks are included in the ticket price.

Get your tickets at:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/highland-park-midwinter-social-tickets-28940680354?aff=es2

Our Black Heart, Camden Town

Type of Bar: Live Music, Alternative
Damage: ££
Ideal for: Party, Live Music, Small Groups, Large Groups, Food

 

Time for something a little different.

With The Queer Alternative LGBTQ charity organisation hosting a gig featuring ace cock-rock-parody cover band The Dykeness in the venue upstairs, The Hoodooist thought it was time to return to his alternative teen years in Camden Town after a long while.

Really – the issue is more he can’t find a place to listen to Judas Priest with a decent Old Fashioned but THINGS ARE DIFFERENT AT THE BLACK HEART.

Our Black Heart Camden Town The Dykeness Cocktails

Because they’re awesome.

For all intents and purposes, Our Black Heart is a classic metal bar: nestled in a back alley, black walls, grime, neon signs over a pool table – but some core differences do stand out: for one, a larger selection of spirits than at most alt bars you’d imagine (QuiQuiRiQui mezcal, Glenrothes to Auchentoshan, Opihr and the Botanist gins), second, a short menu of classic cocktails and a pretty decent kitchen in the back to keep the booths and tables fed and watered.

In other words: The grown-up metal bar.

I will have to inform you though, there is a cocktail menu, but if you want something off-menu, do specify the drink and base spirit. An Old Fashioned will get you and Old Fashioned with house whiskey, or you can be charged one more pound to use a whiskey you know you enjoy.
Similarly, if you’re gonna ask for a drink that includes support-spirits like Campari, Aperol or vermouths – you want to make sure they’re in stock. The Black Heart does not tout itself as a cocktail bar after all.

Our Black Heart Camden Town Cocktails

Nikka From The Barrel Old Fashioned

Most of the cocktails today are off-menu, I should mention – except for one the Hoodooist once ordered an age ago that now made it to the menu, which is highly recommended: the Aztec Old Fashioned. Traditional sugar and bitters mixed in with QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan mezcal. Made the good old fashioned way with crushing sugar that takes longer, but ultimately more rewarding than using sugar syrup – you want to find bartender Nancy who is a total wiz and making these spectacular cocktails. Smoky, peppery – initially earthy to sugary with a long smoked agave finish.

Similarly, the Nikka From the Barrel Old Fashioned uses the Nikka From the Barrel cask strength Japanese whisky. A spicy and fruity nose opens to a palate that is powerful, warm and full bodied – laden with spices, fruits and oaky or toffee in the finish. The Auchentoshan Old Fashioned finds a much sweeter drink, with the sweet barley and vanilla really powering the cocktail.

Our Black Heart Camden Town Cocktails

After a quick bite of vegan buffalo wings (yes) and a dance in the gig space upstairs, it’s back to the bar for a Tequila Sour. While sipping on a neat Tequila Chamucos Anejo –  enjoying the smooth almond and cocoa flavours, the Chamucos Reposado Tequila Sour is served. One critique would be to tone down the citrus just a bit to let the chamomile and fruitier flavours of the tequila through. There was enough lemon to take away from the Chamucos’ more pungent flavours that would have beautifully balanced out the cocktail.

An Opihr Gimlet was an unwise choice on the Hoodooist’s part, it’s cardamom being overpowering. However the Auchentoshan Sour‘s vanilla was a sweet end to the evening before departing after the finale cover of ‘All I Want For Christmas‘ by The Dykeness and the Hoodooist made it back to the bar.

Our Black Heart Camden Town Cocktails

Service is swift and only at bar, and as I said, though there is a short cocktail menu, Our Black Heart does not tout itself as a ‘cocktail bar’, so you might have to explain the ingredients of a cocktail, though there is no shame in that. If, however, your goal is to drink an amazing Old Fashioned with Glenn Danzig in the background under the neon gaze of the Virgin Mary – you’ve found your spot in one of the last vestiges of Camden’s heyday.

 

Drinks: ** (For absence of support-spirits) – *** 
Atmosphere: **** (if a metal bar is what you’re looking for)
Service: ****

 

Our Black Heart

2-3 Greenland Pl, Camden Town
London NW1 0AP

http://www.ourblackheart.com/

Think Ink Pines by Kraken Rum, Hoxton

Type of Bar: Christmas, Winter, Pop Up
Damage: £
Ideal for: Rum, Party, Live Music, Small Groups

 

The Holiday Season getting a bit colourful for you?

Because, let’s face it, #BlackIsTheNewBlack – you might wanna check out the new pop up Think Ink Pines by Kraken Rum at 186 Hackney Road.

Make the Yuletide Brvtal with *real* all black pine trees, mistletoe and holly, wreaths, and poinsettias will also be available along with a range of dangerously dark Kraken Christmas Cards and Kraken Rum Cocktails.

Yes, from 9th to 13th December, get ready for Krampus with dark Christmas foliage and cocktails courtesy of Kraken Rum!
Visitors will walk into a world of black firs, nestled amongst which will be the festive Kraken Black Spiced Rum Bar serving five specially created Christmas Rum cocktails including the Squid Bite, Black Espresso, The Old Kraken, Perfect Storm and Kraken ‘S’pore’.

Think Ink Pines Black Kraken Rum Hackney Christmas Cocktails

Keep in mind that all cocktails are at £5. All come with the simplicity of £5 cocktails as well:

The Black Espresso – Kraken Rum with sugar and espresso, garnished with white chocolate shavings is a simple rum twist on your run of the mill Espresso Martini that does the job as one – smoothly sweet espresso with the spice is topped with a bar of white chocolate to nibble throughout the drink.

The Kraken ‘S’pore’ – a shooter of rum and sugar syrup with a crushed cracker rim and fire-roasted marshmallow. It’s exactly what it sounds like – it doesn’t make the rum any less harsh on the throat, but marshmallows are always fun.

Think Ink Pines Black Kraken Rum Hackney Christmas Cocktails

However, even at 5 pounds, some cocktails don’t work out well enough: The Old Kraken I was initially excited for with it’s drier twist – Kraken, white sugar syrup, Yellow Chartreus and aromatic bitters make a drink that’s rather imbalanced and bitter beyond comfort. As for the Perfect Storm, Kraken and Ginger Beer make a university house party favourite, but it’s just that – a house party favourite.

Finally, something to fit the season: the Squid Bite gives us Kraken Rum in hot mulled cider. Spicy, warm – the drink is rather sweet, with powerful apple and cinnamon and clove. It does demand a long time to drink though, so if you manage to grab a table, I’d relax with this one.

Think Ink Pines Black Kraken Rum Hackney Christmas Cocktails

So hang up those black stockings with Kraken Black Pines at:
Small (£15), Medium (£20), Large (£35) and Kraken X-large (£50) sizes. Pick up from the shop or reserve via Twitter #thinkinkpines.

Think Ink Pines is open from:

Wednesday 9th December: 12:30pm – 10pm
Thursday 10th December: 12:30pm – 11pm
Friday 11th December: 12:30pm – midnight
Saturday 12th December: 10am – midnight
Sunday 13th December: 9am – 4pm

 

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

 

Think Ink Pines

186 Hackney Road,
E2 7QL, London.

Barrio Central, Soho

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Mexican
Damage: ££
Ideal for: Food, Small Groups, Large Groups, Party

Soho classic Barrio Central is back! After being shut for renovation, the Poland Street hangout has reopened its door with a few new menu surprises!

Redecorated, the blue-green venue speckled with bright contrasting tiles is still serving Mexican Gulf inspired cocktails and bites, with a few twists here and there. Of course, downstairs is still a drinks-focused late night party hang out versus the dinner tables upstairs.

Barrio Central Soho Cocktail Bar London

Let’s get right to it! Over the Al Pastor tacos: Achiote marinated pork, cooked on the spit with slow roasted pineapple, white onions & coriander, with a spicy drizzling El Yucateco habanero sauce – a succulent, deeply flavourful bite with the sweet citrus of pineapple cutting right through – the Hoodooist and co. order a Wonky Donkey and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

Barrio Central Soho Cocktail Bar London

L-R: Wonky Donkey, Ol’ Dirty Bastard

The Ol’ Dirty Bastard is a firm favourite here: Santa Teresa rum, Four Roses bourbon and orange – a host of fruit from the rum quickly gives way to the orange and honeyed notes of the bourbon, ending with a zesty length of orange peel. A fun, lively twist on an Old Fashioned.

The Wonky Donkey leaves quite a bit to be desired, though. Casco Viejo tequila, elderflower, ginger and lime lengthened with soda leaves a rather flat drink at the end. The tequila goes missing (I even forgot what spirit was in the drink), and all you have left is something vaguely sweet and citrusy.

Barrio Central Soho Cocktail Bar London

Soon after, the Ceviche Mixto provides a fresh mix of seafood in tiger’s milk, with avocado, crispy sweet potato & serrano chili – a fantastic, lighter seafood dish after the heavier Al Pastor and smoky Lamb Chilli tacos.

Alongside, the new cocktails, (COMING SOON!) arrive – new designs by bartender Sophie Mackay, her newly designed cocktails have a more modern swing to them.

Barrio Central Soho Cocktail Bar London

The Bossa Beleza brings in the fizz! Abelha Cachaca, jasmine, ginger, mint, topped up with prosecco – the sweet cachaca and the prosecco dominate this drink, with the jasmine trailing as a faint, lingering finish. Better than that though, while on the South American track, is the Cuba Lima: Pisco ABA, peach, lemon, egg white. A classic tart Pisco Sour with a peachy twist. A fun, reliable drink, with fresh egg white. Always a reliable classic.

Barrio Central Soho Cocktail Bar London
The Cactus and Three Cheese Melt Quesadilla come in, cool and fabulously textured. With it, a classic from the Barrio Central menu, the Rumshackle: Santa Teresa rum, orange curacao, pineapple is an incredibly sweet and fruity cocktail, bright with the tropical rum and the powerful pineapple. A beautiful presentation, however.

Barrio Central Soho Cocktail Bar London

The Rumshackle

Service is absolutely on point, swift and polite. What I am looking forward to is more from Sophie Mackay‘s coming menu which frankly outshines the older Barrio cocktail collection. True, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard is a good classic, but Bossa Beleza and Cuba Lima knock the Wonky Donky, Rumshackle and Hand Grenade HiBall out of the water. The drinks coming up seem to be more balanced, with more focus on the spirits’ innate flavour profile to shine through without being overwhelmed with juices.

Barrio Central knows what it does and does it well: providing a chilled out spot to relax with a group of friends, no fuss or stuffiness. A party spot in Soho we’re glad to have back.

 

Drinks: ** (Classic menu) – *** (menu Coming Soon)
Atmosphere: ***
Service: ****

 

Barrio Central

6 Poland Street, Soho,
London W1F 8PS

http://www.barriocentral.com/

 

Your London Cocktail Week 2015 Guide!

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

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

 

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

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

cf120d333e32401ba19ba83ea9a6daf1

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

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

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

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

 

37fbb9ae10216bca09b2e7d12b6109c4

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

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

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

 

714aea9d9663da8032a4867153c34f98

24 HOUR BAR BUILD, SHOREDITCH – 10th October

N&C Showrooms, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PG

4 teams, 4 cities, 24 bartenders, 24 hours. Award winning bartending teams from around the world – London, New York, Paris, Singapore – come together to build 4 bars in 24 hours, competing to be crowned the World’s Best.

Team London (WOO!) will be led by Richard Woods of Duck & Waffle, working with Patron Tequila – against New York (Leo Robitschek of NoMad, with Grey Goose Vodka), Paris (Carina Soto Velasquez of Candelaria, with Bombay Sapphire Gin), and Singapore (Joel Fraser of the Cufflink Club, with Bacardi Rum).

From concept to cocktails in 24hrs, which city will you crown the World’s Best?

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

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

 

aa27377b62e062dd303860fc2682b294

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

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

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

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

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

 

d406dc49235541b975a50b318f657e7e

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

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

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

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

 

60fbcd7f605acf06fac94cc7b52a9db1

TOAST OF PARIS, HACKNEY – 8th October

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

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

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

 

9e140b7a98fb1b42c67e871097b1593f

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

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

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

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

 

1c94d46b6bb4b9d20f64b6f5971b2470

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

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

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

 

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

Check out Highball Hoodoo every morning of London Cocktail Week for more reviews of the LCW cocktail offerings, parties and events!

Get #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo each morning from 5th to 11th October!

 

 

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

Drink Shop & Do, King’s Cross St. Pancras

Type of Bar: Creative, Party, 90s, Quirky
Damage££
Ideal for: Afternoon Tea, Activities, Small Groups

 

Celebrating it’s 5th birthday, young entrepreneurs Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap have turned fun into a business venture – providing customers with everything from a quirky store to afternoon tea with cocktails and Lego and nipple-tassel craft classes, to a 90s themed basement club accompanied by classes to learn Beyonce dance moves (which let’s not pretend you haven’t practised at home already).

The site of the ex-Turkish-bathhouse, with its massive skylight and overhead discoball, houses two large bars (one above, one below) – serving up primarily spritzes and punches, has a primarily sweet menu. There is the occasional Negroni, though, so don’t panic yet!

Drink Shop Do Cocktails Tea London

The 5th Birthday party begins with a series of easy-serve drinks and bites – whilst building Lego robots, the Sun-blushed tomato, tapenade and sweet herb sandwich is competed with only by the Smoked salmon, cream cheese and chrain – and the dessert even better. Hazelnut chocolate brownie dense and flavourful.

Drink Shop Do Cocktails Tea London

The drinks were a hit or miss: the Duppy Rum Punch serves up Duppy Share Rum, fresh lime juice and gomme (which may have not been entirely necessary with the sweetness of the rum). It really relies on the inherent richness of the blended rum, and it’s powerful pineapple, mango and papaya flavours are tempered by the lemon.

The Happy was a bit of a stumble though, Evan Williams Bourbon meets elderflower and apple to make a confused intense hit of sour to the back of the jaw, followed by sticky, painful sweetness.

11902281_10153572861044559_7401494139386222090_n

The Birthday was a major improvement: Belvedere Vodka, lychee, lemongrass, ginger, chilli and soda. A mix of savoury chilli kick followed by a length of sweet lychee.

Downstairs, the Wild Spritz: Elderflower, Perry and gin was thick, and tasted more like a glassful of sugar syrup.

Drink Shop Do Cocktails Tea London

Though the myriad of events and the food do outweigh the skill regarding cocktails, I can see myself returning for an afternoon tea with a friend, but not quite for the drinks. The lengthy list of sweet drinks is almost patronising, and could do with either increased variety, or with catching up with 2015, the apple, elderflower and lychee combos are rather old hat and very SW postcode Chelsea (which, let’s face it, is the last to join the party at anything).

There are some fantastic spirits behind the bar I’d love to see used more often – like a great collection of mezcals that are not on the cocktail menu. Take the Birthday, for example: Replace the lychee with hibiscus, and the vodka with mezcal, for a more modern and mature cocktail.

Drink Shop Do Cocktails Tea London

The staff are wonderful – upbeat, polite and conversational, and most of all – fun. And the obvious passion they display for their work is palpable, and is contagious. From the events upstairs to the parties below, they keep the crowd alive and excited for their work. 

Drink Shop & Do is a beautiful space, run by brilliant creatives, and a wonderful place to learn new skills, or just let loose. To another 5 years of DSD!

 

Drinks: * (I recommend coming for the tea and food, though!)
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ****

 

Drink, Shop & Do

9 Caledonian Rd, King’s Cross,
London N1 9DX.

http://www.drinkshopdo.com/

FREE GIVEAWAY: Yelp’s Big Night In!

Yelp London Treat Yoself Free Giveaway
It’s a party at your place, and you’re the only one invited!
After the immensely successful VIP Ticket Giveaway on Highball Hoodoo to the excellent Yelp’s Mad Scientist Soirée (Review HERE) and the previous year’s Elite Summer Garden Party (Review HERE)Yelp is back with something a little different!
READY FOR ANOTHER CONTEST?!
It’s time to treat yo’self (and you can do it with your trousers off.) Yes, on Friday, July 31st, we will be running the first ever YELP’S BIG NIGHT IN! Who wouldn’t want to be fed, pampered and taken care of, for free, all from your own home, in the comfort of your PJs!
THE NIGHT WILL INCLUDE: 
  • Free laundry picked up and delivered right to your door from Laundrapp!
  • Your home beautifully cleaned by Hassle, for free!
  • Anything you want, picked up and delivered by Quiqup!
  • A service of your choice from Bizzby! We’d suggest free therapeutic massages, but if you need an errand run or want a personal trainer session before cracking into all that food, they can make that happen too!

SWEET! SO SWEET!

Want in?

– Make sure you have an active Yelp profile (meaning photos or reviews added) in case we have an overabundance of RSVPs!

– Check to make sure you’re free on Friday, 31st July, since the credit must be used on that date.

– RSVP on THIS EVENT PAGE now! (Winners will be notified on Friday 24 July.)

–  Only those with a real photo and name on their Yelp Profile will get a spot.

– Again, if the event goes over capacity, those who are recently active on Yelp (meaning adding great REVIEWS, PICTURES or LISTS) will be given priority, so make sure you keep your Yelp Profile up to date with all the places you’ve been to lately!

That’s it!

We’ll be choosing 30 winners next week to all participate on the same night. There’s never been a night in like this before and you know you would love to win a spot!

And remember… treat yo’self!

Discount Suit Company, Aldgate

Type of Bar: Basement, Speakeasy, Tiny
Damage£
Ideal for: Small Groups, Party

 

The street’s covered with clothing stores, and a discount suit store is hardly unique in these parts – except for one: The Discount Suit Company, housed in an ex-suit store basement, houses some of the more imaginative cocktails in the are.

Run by the Umbrella Project (also responsible for the Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green – Review up Friday 17th July ’15!), the DSC is a very intimate basement space, candlelit – though surprisingly loud – so I’d recommend booking a table in advance if you’d rather have a conversation down at the couch.

Like both bars by the Umbrella Project, the DSC keeps a a beautiful bar-back and short cocktail menu (off menu classics can be prepared), and for the summer, expect light cocktails focusing on sweet and slightly spiced flavours. The Hoodooist is walked through the menu by the fantastic Connor behind the bar:

 

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

Koffie?

Koffie? Wow, I’d love one of these every morning. Genever, Ristretto liqueur, Fernet Branca, cold brew coffee, orgeat, egg yolk. Surprisingly light (you’d expect something heavier with the yolk, but the creaminess is not as thick as you’d think). The bitter Fernet Branca is barely perceptible, just to help balance the sweetness of the ristretto liqueur and orgeat. The almond in the orgeat works well with the bright floral notes of the Genever. Very short, but a beautiful drink.

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

Connor preparing the Pollo Loco

The bright green Pollo Loco is exactly what this summer asked for, Tequila Blanco, St. Germain, Absinthe, lemon, cucumber, honey water. Senses assaulted by waves of honey water and cucumber, the vegetal green of the cucumber tempered by the St. Germain – finally the tequila’s pepper and agave lingering underneath. All the while being a light summer cocktail.

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

The Grapes and the Grain

The Grapes and the Grain: Gin, Pisco, Velvet Falernum, grape juice, lime, honey water. Tropical without being tropical, this cocktail has pronounced flavours of the ginger, cloves and sweetness in Velvet Falernum, with the sweet honey water and a fruitiness that can only be ascribed to the grape juice. From underneath these the Pisco emerges, a light singe and more fruit.

Another light summer drink, but lacks the same intensity of the Pollo Loco, and begins to lose character quickly – but a good way to end to a night of drinks with something cleansing and relaxed.

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

The Dane-ted Love

Next up, Bartender Connor’s favourite, the Dane-ted Love. Now we’re back in business: Akvavit, Amaro Montenegro, lemon juice, lemongrass syrup. The otherwise powerful rose notes of the Amaro Montenegro are surprisingly calm in this cocktail – instead the spice and fruit notes of the Amaro are lengthened by the lemon juice and akvavit, and the citrus drink is sweetened lightly by the lemongrass.

On the topic of sweetness, The Royal Rhubarb goes all the way: Rhubarb vodka, cherry aperitif, vanilla syrup, rhubarb bitters, topped up with Prosecco. No surprise that it’s rhubarby – the cherry and the drier notes of the aperitif (gonna guess it’s Bold London Spirit?), its clove and cassia, and the dry Prosecco, help round out the flavour of the cocktail by adding a little bit of oomph.

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

The Royal Rhubarb

The Captain Cobbler, really, is the one drink the Hoodooist wouldn’t order again – Dark rum, Amontillado sherry, kumquat, ginger and honey marmalade, pink grapefruit and IPA head. I’m sure there is an audience who’d enjoy this, but it came off as a confused, sweet muddle.

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

The Captain Cobbler

The Discount Suit Co.’s cocktail game is strong, as usual – fantastic in fact, for a short menu – and recognise that simplicity is key. Of course, a short menu can be limiting, so whisky cocktails are gonna be classics ordered off menu – which shouldn’t be a problem with this fantastic team – fun, conversational, swift, gotta love the guys behind the bar.

Discount Suit Company London cocktails Aldgate

The House of Ban-Boo

The Discount Suit Co. is another testament to the Umbrella Project’s skill at good bar concepts: aiming for simplicity, while understanding the customers and serving up quality at fabulous wallet-preserving costs (particularly handy close to the university as it is). Love this joint.

 

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

 

Discount Suit Company

29A Wentworth Street,
London E1 7TB

http://www.discountsuitcompany.co.uk/

Fu Manchu, Clapham North

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Late Night, Chinese
Damage££
Ideal for: Food, Party, Small Groups, Large Groups

 

Seconds away from the tube, Arch 635 has been revamped to become a ‘restaurant/bar/nightclub’, with an Edwardian/Opium Den twist, named after the controversial character of Dr. Fu Manchu.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Flowering Lily & Jasmine Cha

I have pointed out problematic themes in the past, such as the issues faced at the Powder Keg Diplomacy, Wandsworth (Click HERE for Review) – and will do so here as well.

Those who know the inspiration of author Sax Rohmer’s infamous villain know that the Doctor isn’t just an antagonist, but introduced in the book ‘The Mystery of Fu Manchu’ as the “Dr. Fu Manchu, the Yellow Peril incarnate in one man” – a character that did not help the widespread Sinophobia present in the UK in the early 1900s. The portraits of actors in yellow-face in the corridors might supposedly be ironic, I don’t quite see the point. If it is one designer’s glorification of a character they like, it’s pretty dated.

Outside the embarrassing yellowface, Fu Manchu also happily invited Dapper Laughs to perform at their venue. Make if it what you will.

Anyway, décor-wise, the arch is kept primarily empty to allow space for partying and socialising, while the banquettes circling the room provide raised seating for diners, guarded by decorative wooden Chinese panelling. Expect much calmer music in the afternoons, and in the late evenings, some soulful or deep house, and nu disco for your dim sum by candlelight in the purple-hued room.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Mai Chai

Cocktail-wise, the drinks are a large variety, and themed as well – though not many on the short and neat side.

What you want to order is the Blood of Fu Manchu – at first glance it might *just* seem like a twist on the Bloody Mary, which it essentially is – but will surprise upon first sip.  Eristoff vodka, Chinese 5 Spice, 10 yr old Port, ginger puree, oyster sauce and chilli powder, topped up with tomato juice. Much like the Asian Bloody Mary by The Manhattans Project (Click HERE for Review!), it takes inspiration for East Asian ingredients to make an absolutely fantastic cocktail. The salt of the oyster sauce really does the trick to balance out the Port and ginger puree’s sweetness, and the result is a well-balanced, spicy funfest that the Hoodooist highly recommends out of the Fu Manchu menu.

 

Another high on the list would be the Mai Chai – Ron Zacapa 23 rum, with Kraken Black Spiced, Orange Curacao, lime and Chai Tea syrup – beginning with the smooth Ron Zacapa and hints of orange, building into the spicier flavours of Kraken, finally coming to rest on the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom of the chai syrup. Sweet/sour, smooth, a kind of simplicity some of the drinks on the menu could learn from.

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Dragon Fruit Paloma

The Dragon Fruit Paloma, an amped up take of the Mexican classic, Sauza Hacienda tequila, Cocchi Americano vermouth, lime juice are mixed in with muddled Dragon Fruit provide a laid back, bright and refreshing. Sauza is either a strange, or very intentional choice of tequila – a very mild, almost characterless tequila on its own (got a few fruit notes, with a white pepper finish), it vanishes in this cocktail. Perhaps making it sneakier?

The cocktail is primarily lime and Dragon Fruit, the vermouth makes and appearance with and orange undertone, and ending on a quinine bite.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

L-R: Lady Jasmin, Blood of Fu Manchu, Chai Tea-Ni

The Lady Jasmin twists the classic White Lady by using Jasmine syrup with the Bombay Sapphire gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, eggwhite and Angostura bitters. Pale, frothy and textured, garnished with a purple orchid, the drink is similarly demure, and gentle. Sweet, but almost imperceptibly so with the laid-back nature of jasmine. If you’re cautious around powerful drinks, this would be right up your street, though it left the Hoodooist neither here nor there. The Lady Jasmin does what it sets out to do, and serves you exactly what it told you it would.

 

Slightly less reserved than the Lady Jasmin, her feistier sister, the Yuzu-Tsu, brings Japanese yuzu tea paste to Cariel Vanilla vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, egg white and Angostura bitters. Fragrant in two separate ways, the nose is powerfully vanilla, but the taste brings the yuzu’s fragrance out strongly. Tart, yet still somewhat in line with the Lady Jasmin’s gentleness. The same look and texture as the Lady, but garnished with a dried slice of citrus. One should probably use an aromatised yuzu spray to lessen the powerful vanilla nose a bit, but if one doesn’t mind it, it shouldn’t pose any issue.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Kwang Su Boulevardier

The Kwang Su Boulevardier, now that sounds right up the Hoodooist’s street: Nikka From the Barrel Japanese whisky, with Antica Formula vermouth, Campari, and Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters. Loving the first three, the Hoodooist has somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the Aphrodite bitters, which bring powerful cocoa, Arabica coffee, ginseng, ginger and chilli to the fore. In this cocktail though, there are hints of cocoa and a very distant (if you’re looking for it) spice from the bitters.

Otherwise, it begins on a light note – from the Nikka – then moving onto the Campari taking centre stage, and then settling on the warm winter flavours of the Antica Formula’s spices and bitter orange.

Now, it depends on the bartender you have – a colleague received a bland, tasteless drink, whereas the Hoodooist’s turned out surprisingly layered – so I’d imagine you want bartender Wayne to make this for you! A decent aperitif.

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The two, very different, Kwang Su Boulevardiers.

 

Finally, because there must be one, avoid the Green Tea-ni. Do not be enamoured by its promises of earthy Matcha. Because what you will get is painfully sour and confused appletini of sorts, with Bombay Sapphire gin, apple, an overwhelming amount of lime juice, and sugar syrup. One sip from the table was all that was stomached before being set aside.

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The dim sum is slightly modernised and moves away from ‘traditional’ dim sum in some ways. Whether one reads this as a step forward or back is up to the reader.

One to recommend would be the Tai Chi Bo Coy Gow scallop and spinach green dumpling. Similarly, the otherwise simple Lor Pak Gou turnip cake is turned up to eleven with Chinese sausage and prawn.

One that you must absolutely order is the Monkfish and lime phoenix-eye dumpling, this Fung Yan Gow starts off with the powerful flavours of the monkfish, and slowly build up to a lime crescendo – loved this. One of the less traditional offerings would be the Chi Si Hoi Sin Kou cheese-stuffed cuttlefish and prawn balls – which, though a more Italian, works spectacularly.

 

The lobster, prawn and bamboo shoots Lung Har Gau, though, one shouldn’t spend their hard-earned £9.50 for.

Do not forget the great selection of teas! The flowering Lily and Jasmine work a treat.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

Must haves: Monkfish Fung Yan Gow

The more quiet times of day, 5-8 PM means quick and attentive dinner service, however once the crowd pours in for the club nights, ordering a drink can be bit of a task – but servers do their best to help, but might need a slightly thicker skin to move through the crowd.

As one can expect from a club night, drinks are made quickly, and the wait can be long, so as seen with the Kwang Su Boulevardier above, unpredictability is a factor to be taken into account.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

Custard dumplings!

London needs more venues that can provide a clubbing experience with cocktails – and a longer food menu certainly doesn’t hurt. One hopes Fu Manchu is a precedent to further venues of the sort to grow in the city, if only to satisfy each friend on a night out.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere: Casual racism and misogyny, fun for the whole family!
Service: ****

 

Fu Manchu

15-16 Lendal Terrace,
London SW4 7UX.

http://fumanchu.co.uk/

5cc Singer Tavern, Old Street

Type of Bar: Basement, Speakeasy
Damage££
Ideal for: Party, Small Groups, Large Groups, After Work

 

Way back in the day, the reviewed the 5cc‘s other branches in a blog post (Click HERE for Review!) – but the launch of the new Singer Tavern, 1 City Road venue demands another look with a total change of the 5cc vibe!

Which I mean, kinda like its Hoxton brother, this venue is much bigger than the elder siblings – more than enough space to easily fit a 100 guests, with massive booths, couches, and even a semi-private room. And space to dance! Walking down the stairs from the Singer Tavern (yes, Singer as in the sewing machine company, and the venues décor won’t let you forget that) – the Hoodooist is greeted with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins blasting on the stereo – a volume level that never really goes down, which makes it great for a night out – not so much for private conversation. Come here for an evening out with a group of friends, not on a first date.

 

This manifestation of 5cc takes on the crypt-like surrounds of the Bethnal Green venue, as well as the modern décor of the Farringdon branch, with the Hoxton spot’s upbeat tempo – definitely an after-work spot.

_DSC5322-Edit

As for the cocktails, we’re seeing many updates from the slightly more demure 5cc standards.

The Montgomery is one of the most classic cocktails served: a Dolin dry vermouth based gin Martini using No.3 Gin – served short and fairly wet (at least for the Hoodooist). Easy drinking for a Martini, No.3 has to still be one of the Hoodooist’s favourite Martini gins, simple, crisp citrus with powerful juniper. The Dolin is a game changer though, with a potently floral and sweet flavour – which made this drink rather divisive at the table, some enjoying it, others turning away pretty quickly. If you’re a Martini fan, consider the sweetness of the Dolin, and go for it if it works for you!

 

5cc Singer Tavern cocktails

The Saints & Sinners

Along the short and Martini-esque route, the Saints & Sinners is closer to a dry twist on a classic Hanky Panky. Dictador aged gin and Lillet Blanc, mixed in with Fernet Branca and vanilla bitters, garnished with an olive. I… have no idea what this cocktail is trying to achieve. Now, the Hoodooist has used the Dictador aged gin in a basic gin Martini with Lillet Blanc before with pleasant results – however this goes in a totally different route. If you haven’t come across this gin before, it made the controversial decision to age the gin for 35 weeks in rum barrels to provide a rounder, sweeter flavour. Instead we get this bizarre confused mix of dry flavours that were just difficult to decipher. Universally abandoned at the table.

5cc Singer Tavern cocktails

Then came the East End Old Fashioned: Elijah Craig 12, lapsang souchong cordial, chilli and orange bitters. I think the lapsang souchong cordial and chilli were meant to complement the Elijah Craig 12’s slightly spicy and fruity character, but instead, making the tea a cordial left the cocktail a bit flat. There seemed to be a hint of spice that stops short. Unfortunately, it comes off a bit ineffectual and unmemorable.

For a longer drink though, the Knock Out does the trick: ELLC Demerara rum, lime, strawberry and blackberry cordial, topped up with soda (seemed more like ginger beer?). Now, if you’re thirsty, this would be it. It may not be the Hoodooist’s style, but it does its job and a sweeter thirst-quencher. It’s nice to see the East London Liquor Company’s Demerara rum! With a hint of vanilla and woody flavour, the rum works well with the ginger beer – and surprisingly well with the berries. If you want a simple long drink, this would be it.

Finally, Frida’s Tropical Margarita: 1800 coconut tequila, lime, pineapple and chipotle cordial with coconut and salt rim. When it says ‘tropical’, it ain’t kidding. However, again, the cordial-isation of the ingredients leaves it a bit flat, and what was agreed on was that the most exciting part of the drink was the coconut rim.

 

5cc Singer Tavern cocktails

The Knock Out

The Montgomery and Knock Out seem to do exactly what they mean to – but also have the simplest combinations when you look at them. The two cordial drinks, the East End Old Fashioned and Frida’s Tropical Margarita, somehow go a bit flat on flavour. The Saints & Sinners, at first glance, has a problematic combo of flavours (The Minestrone Cocktail effect, as Alessandro Palazzi would put it).

So with a keen eye, you’d actually be able to spot what would work and what doesn’t – though probably easier said then done, as witnessed by the East End Old Fashioned, which sounds good in theory.

 

However, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a cocktail tailored to your tastes, since the service at the bar is wonderful – although do keep in mind that this is a bar that can certainly get rather busy! But like we all know, a busy bar means a more effervescent atmosphere to find yourself partying in, and a space to dance is what too many cocktail bars in London are lacking.

 

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

 

5cc, Singer Tavern, 

1 City Road, Old Street
London, EC1Y 1AE.

http://www.5cc-london.com/