London Cocktail Week: Review – Drinks & Drinks

Hix Sipsmith MartiniIt’s Sunday and it’s time for London Cocktail Week to draw to a close. I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last few days checking out what has been going on, and this is just a quick recap of some of the highlights of my trip.

Hendrick’s put on a stunning show, transforming an old petrol station into a tranquil haven in Clerkenwell. In a private event, ‘The Quintessential Anthology of Gin’, myself and some fellow companions were able to taste Hendrick’s in all it’s parts. From the carterhead still product, along to Hendricks at 80%ABV and even a sneaky tasting of Battersea Cordial!

The Zacapa seminar with Lorena Vasquez, the master blender, was a great delight and was followed by Glen Hooper talking about reviving the digestif with Rum. A quick meander across town to The Cuckoo Club for a session which covered Juleps and Sours, as well as Manhattans and Cobblers, and more!

Del Maguey Range
A visit to the Savoy, Beaufort bar, had to be put on hold due to the wait to get a table, so a visit to Brian Silva at Rules Restaurant was a nice relaxed change in the otherwise hectic schedule. Which then involved running across to Purl for a session on La Clendastine and Butterfly Absinthe. Followed by a Molecular Mixology talk with the Purl team, in which they covered foams, airs, liquid nitrogen, serviceware and more. It showed that the guys are really passionate about what they do, and a Tanqueray martini with an Earl Grey foam was rather splendid!
Casita Cocktail
The week also showed that London knows how to put on a party, I ended up in Barrio Central twice this week, once after a dinner with Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge in which a lot of meat and Bourbon was consumed. The other for the Santa Teresa tiki party, which was a perfect warmup for Rumfest. On both occasions there was a great vibe, along with great drinks.

The week included a few spirit tastings, firstly the Drinks Jamboree meant I got to try a few new and old favourites. Highlights included the Del Maguey range of Mezcals. The El Dorado rum, as well as seeing what Ian from Sacred Gin was upto. For Rumfest, a lot of rums were up for tasting and the Elements 8 spiced rum was an example of the best spiced rum I’ve ever had. The Montaya Platino light rum was the only light rum of the show that I could happily sip alone, without it needing mixing. The Zacapa XO was delightful, and only slightly surpassed by the El Dorado 21. Appleton had a nice lounge area where a few Rum Old Fashioned were tried, and even a tot of the Appleton 30 which was remarkably drinkable. The week was rounded up with a night in Casita, a proper shoreditch favourite of mine.
Four Roses
That’s the brief version of the last few days, a few bars and other drinks along the way have been left out! It’s been hectic, but an amazing experience, and I hope that 2011 will see another London Cocktail Week. Thanks for the hardwork put in by everyone.

Also thanks to some fellow bloggers I’ve been lucky enough to meetup with, including: The Cocktail Lovers, Gin Monkey, The Cocktail Geek, 52 Martinis, Drinks Link, London Cocktail Guide, The Floating Rum Shack , Bitters & Twisted, Whisky For Everyone. It was great to see everyone, and have a drink with you all.


  1. Forest says:

    nice rundown on the week! i second that fun was had at the Hendrick’s event…and I also came home with a bottle of the Elements 8 spiced rum myself. (now the big question is should I have a little sip of it this evening or give myself a rest after the busy last few days, hmmm….i wonder what I’ll choose?) :)

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