A look ahead at some of the highlights of this year’s London Cocktail Week
This October, DrinkUp.London is celebrating ten years of London Cocktail Week (LCW) with a mammoth ten-day festival, taking place from 4 to 13 October. Festival goers can soak up the capital’s thriving cocktail scene with access to over 300 bars serving £6 cocktails, unlimited free entry into The Cocktail Village, the brand-new Cocktail Week Hub and first access to pop-ups, parties and events across London.
At the heart of LCW is The Cocktail Village, which is once again returning to Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery. Here, highlights include House of Suntory’s Izakaya Alley, a re-creation of a bustling Japanese street; Bourbon & Bites, a collaboration between Maker’s Mark and Crosstown Doughnuts; and The Fentiman’s Rum Bar with Laki Kane, which sets out to transport visitors to a tropical island escape with matching cocktails to boot. Returning for 2019 is the iconic Monkey Shoulder Mixer Truck, which will be dispensing a range of whisky cocktails and playing host to the world’s loudest silent whisky tasting, while for those sticking to a low or no-ABV lifestyle, the world’s first No-Groni bar by Seedlip, featuring Æcorn, will be offering the deliciously bitter flavour of the Negroni, without the booze.
Guests can also head to the Passoã sunset-inspired pop-up stand for some much-needed sunshine. For LCW, the passionfruit liqueur brand will be championing the Pornstar Martini, the UK’s best-selling cocktail. A selection of Pornstar Martinis will be on offer, including the original plus some unique twists. The experience is complete with summery deck chairs, passionfruit piñatas full of prizes and an interactive booth.
Returning to the place it all started for London Cocktail Week, the Cocktail Week Hub will pop-up for the first time during this year’s festival. Think sampling bars, masterclasses and a cocktail equipment and book store. A downstairs speakeasy will serve a daily menu of cocktails made by the world’s best bartenders. Each day will see a different themed takeover. On Sunday 6 October, La Maison Wellness will be devoting the space to living like a healthy hedonist, with a range of non-alcoholic cocktails and demonstrations, and from Monday 7 October, World Class will be taking over the hub with a different spirit in residence each day.
For LCW 2019, Hendrick’s Gin will be opening the doors to its Hendrick’s Gin Tini Martini Townhouse, taking guest on a journey of unusual experiences, with tini pianists, microscopic games and Tini Martinis. A roster of bartenders from the world’s best bars, including Singapore’s Manhattan Bar, Paris’ Little Red Door and Amsterdam’s Super Lyan, will be battling it out to create the best Tini of the week.
Laphroaig has teamed up with British steakhouse Hawksmoor for a one-off supper celebrating the single malt scotch whisky’s distinctive smoky flavour. Edrington Beam Suntory whisky whizz David Miles and the talented chefs at Hawksmoor have created a menu of smoked food, drams and cocktails with an emphasis on quality and flavour. Held in Hawksmoor Guildhall’s private dining room, the three-course menu features inventive pairings, from smoked salmon and soda bread with Laphroaig Quarter Cask to sticky toffee sundae with Laphroaig Lore.
The London Essence Company will host The Essence House on 3 to 5 October, a three-day consumer experience that pairs the science of palate profiling with the art of top-flight bartending from industry heavyweights Maxim Schulte, Lorenzo Antinori and Liana Oster. The interactive event will offer ticketholders a personalised journey through flavour and a bespoke cocktail scientifically matched to their palates. The distilled botanicals and flavours in London Essence’s range of tonics, sodas and gingers will be paired with Ketel One Botanical, Tanqueray No Ten gin, Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, Seedlip and Belsazar vermouth in an exclusive partnership with Diageo Reserve. London Essence has also teamed up with Evogro, a unique plant growing system which means that each bespoke cocktail can be topped with a fresh garnish, grown on-site and perfectly paired to the flavours in the drink.
Elsewhere at LCW, batched cocktail specialist Tails Cocktails will be offering guests the chance to try batched versions of this year’s winning Bacardí Legacy cocktails. The first cocktail was created by 2019’s Bacardí Legacy Global Champion Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn, co-owner of Backstage Cocktail Bar in Thailand. Entitled Pink Me Up, it presents a twist on a Bloody Mary, blending Bacardí Carta Blanca rum, fresh tomato, basil, oregat syrup, lemon and olive brine. The winning Legacy cocktail from the UK, Rum Reverie, created by Bristol-based Chelsie Bailey of Filthy XIII, is the second cocktail being batched. It combines Bacardí Reserva Ocho rum, cream sherry, apricot liqueur, lemon and orange zest.
The celebrations are taken further as premium soft drink, tonic and mixer brand Franklin & Sons invites consumers to experience a world of flavour discovery through the interactive Flavour Discovery Maze. Held at Rockwell on Trafalgar Square for the duration of LCW, the experience encourages guests to craft their own G&T, personalising their drink with a unique tonic, spirit and garnish. Other bars showcasing a special Franklin & Sons serve across LCW include Little Bat, Callooh Callay, Shrub and Shutter and Playa. Each venue has created a unique cocktail using one of the four tonic waters from the Franklin & Sons Flavour Collection. A Flavour Discover Map will be available at each venue and at the LCW Cocktail Village.
Bar takeovers for LCW 2019
With the World’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony taking place at the beginning of October, a number of innovative, pioneering cocktail bars from around the globe are in London for a short stay, inspiring an array of pop-ups and takeovers for LCW.
NYC bars The NoMad and Eleven Madison Park are taking over Claridge’s on Sunday 5 October, hosting an exclusive cocktail debut ahead of the anticipated opening of the hotel’s bar and restaurant Davies and Brook in November. Guests will be offered the first ever taste of six cocktails that will be on the opening menu, including classic serves with signature twists and a focus on local London ingredients.
On Sunday 6 and Monday 7 October, Sexy Fish, the Asian-inspired restaurant and bar in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, will play host to a one-off cocktail pop-up with one of Asia’s best bars: Star Bar. Head bartender Tatsuya Yoshida will work with Sexy Fish’s bar team to serve a one-off, London-inspired cocktail menu incorporating Suntory whisky and gin, and a variety of Japanese ingredients, as well as Suntory flights.
Asia’s current best bar The Old Man, Hong Kong will be bringing its Hemingway-inspired cocktails to The Bloomsbury Club for one night only on 4 October. With a name, drinks menu and overall concept paying tribute to Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize winning fictional work, The Old Man and the Sea, Agung Prabowo and his team have concocted some truly inventive cocktails with an Asian touch.
Fitz’s, the cocktail bar at Bloomsbury’s Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel, will be taking part in LCW this year by collaborating with Katana Kitten, an award-winning Japanese-inspired bar from New York. Katana Kitten’s Masahiro Urushido and Fitz’s Sean Fennelly will be playfully working Japanese ingredients into some time-honoured touchstones of British drinking. The event is presented in association with Pernod Ricard’s Artisanal Brand Company, whose aim is to showcase some of the best bars in the world.
For more information and details of events and bars taking part, visit www.drinkup.london.