It has been a busy year for the three bartenders who, in February 2011, won through to the final stage of the annual Bacardi Legacy competition. Metinee Kongsrivilai from The Bon Vivant in Edinburgh, Zdenek Kastanek from Quo Vadis in London and Jody Monteith of consultancy The Liquorists (pictured) were named the three “most promising” …

The cosy, narrow restaurant Charlotte’s Bistro in Chiswick, south-west London, is best known for its food but owner Alex Wrethman is starting to shout more loudly about the bar area at the front after the arrival of bar manager Laura Marnich (pictured) in April last year. She previously worked at London bar Sketch for two-and-a-half …

There are not many bartenders who would be brave enough to face a panel of drinks writers and accept the challenge of making a cocktail with any ingredient presented to them. Even when those ingredients ranged from crab-infused cachaça to salt liquorice vodka liqueur, Pavel Kabina hardly paused before attempting to come up with a …

Midwinter may have passed and Christmas is nearly upon us, but there is still plenty of time left for some seasonal cocktails. From Marian Beke’s drink with aromas of marzipan and pine at the Nightjar or fruity cocktails sparkling with gold leaf at the Trafalgar Hotel’s Vista bar, there are festive ideas at many of …

A year ago, I was picking my way through the icy streets of a snowbound London with two friends while a guide took us on a tour of sights associated with Charles Dickens. We were carried along on the warm glow from a Courvoisier punch at the start of our walk and the promise of …

I have been a judge at numerous cocktail competitions over the past 10 years or so but this week’s El Jimador Bartender Cup was definitely one of the craziest. In less than two hours, I and the three other judges worked our way through 30 cocktails and 15 shots made by finalists from across Europe. …

This year, Halloween falls on a Monday but this has not scared off bars, pubs and clubs from running parties and promotions – in fact, it’s allowed many of them to turn it into four days of freaky fun, including special drinks menus and cocktails. “Halloween becomes a bigger and bigger event in the calendar …

The tiki revival has already seen the cocktail umbrella begin to regain its place in Britain’s bars, but Hendrick’s Gin is taking that revival further – and doing it in its own quirky style. One of the highlights of London Cocktail Week last week was the pop-up bar which took over two floors of an …

The winners of the Chambord Rendezvous cocktail competition were announced last night at an event for the bar industry. It was the second year that the competition had been run by Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands to support its black raspberry liqueur, and this time there were nearly 300 different recipes submitted. The venue was One Mayfair …

In Britain, the seasons are notoriously unpredictable, and we have only four of them. In Japan, they have 24 seasons, from the beginning of spring in early February to the “major cold” in late January, each starting on “sekki” – days that divide the solar year into the 24 equal sections. These have provided inspiration …