I’d like to open this post by seeming ‘in the know’; by exclaiming ‘ahhh, good old London Cocktail Week’.
Truth is, I’d never actually been before this year. As a cocktail drinker, I’m a little ashamed. Hosted by DrinkUp LDN, the whole concept is to show off the best the city has to offer in terms of cocktails. For a fiver, you get yourself a pass that means you can pick up £6 specialty cocktails in bars across the city all week. Genius.
For its third year running, London Cocktail Village popped up in Old Spitalfields Market, where vendors set up stands to sell their wares. By wares, I mean cocktails, of course. And if you’re lucky, they might even give you a little free sample.
This year, I broke my London Cocktail Week virginity on a Saturday evening, on my own, with camera in hand and an empty stomach (top tip for next year: don’t go on an empty stomach. I felt the first two cocktails go to my head preeeetty fast!).
Seriously though, my night was the dream. I arrived at 5.30, had a wander, drank some cocktails, had a big ol’ chat with April from the Grand Marnier team and was home by 9pm, where I ate pizza, tucked myself into bed and watched a film. Perfect ‘night out’.
As much as I like my sleep, I do like cocktails a lot too, however. Here are a handful of highlights from this year’s London Cocktail Week…
Grand Marnier’s Grand Margarita & Grand Tonic
Okay, so, Grand Marnier, like the recently-blogged Campari, isn’t a spirit I’ve had the pleasure of dealing very much with in the past. But it turns out this bitter orange liquer goes down a treat as a twist on some of your favourite cocktails. It gives a margarita a whole new dimension, and is also great served with just tonic water – who knew? However you serve it, it was nice to get to know this underrated spirit a bit better at London Cocktail Week…
Monin’s Espresso Martini
Walking past the Monin stand, I just had to stop. Because, honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was at London Cocktail Week or Hogwarts. That steaming cauldron, a giant bear and the full on goth decor definitely caught my eye. YES. HI. With nitro-fuelled smoking espresso martinis, my evening just got that little bit more magical…
The super-colourful Hennessy stand
How to turn a stand into a work of art – lesson 1. Make it look like this. Loads of colour and space for people to stand really made the Hennessy bar stand out, and they were definitely giving out lots of their boozy slushies as a result!
Chicken & Cocktails
Because when you’re drinking hardcore cocktails, a gal’s gotta eat, yeah? And what better (unless you’re veggie, obv) to line your stomach than some classic Southern fried chicken. No, not Chicken Cottage style – this is a slightly more upmarket serving. And it was a perfect match with a Southern Comfort cocktail – which you could buy alongside your chicken for just a tenner. Top deal!
Jagermeister gets all fancy
There’s a lot more to this digestif than your local students’ union would have you think, y’know. I mean, for one, this stag looks like a super dignified gent. The branding has always been more on the ‘alternative’ side, with it being a popular brand with festivals and the like – however, at London Cocktail Week, it showed its flexibility as something you can put in a cocktail to give it that cheeky little warm kick.
If you were at London Cocktail Week 2017, what were your highlights?
*I went along as a guest of Grand Marnier – all other drinks I paid for myself!
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