As the month-long cocktail party begins to take over the city, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to celebrate the world’s largest cocktail festival. So, put on your sipping hat, dust off of your party trousers, it’s time for London Cocktail Week 2021!
To the average person, October means Halloween, falling leaves, and half term. But to boozy fans in the capital, October means one thing, the arrival of London Cocktail Week. That’s right, once again the festival of drinks is actually taking place over the WHOLE MONTH. And this is the first one we can properly enjoy without major restrictions in what feels like forever. From limited-edition menus, pub quizzes, expert-led tastings, and late-night parties, it’s set to be a month to remember.
So, what’s on the menu for London Cocktail Week 2021? All kinds of boozy fun. Too much to talk about in just one blog, that’s for sure. So that’s why we’ve picked out some highlights. If you’d like to see the dates each event is running and book tickets, just follow the links. Happy London Cocktail
Week Month 2021, everyone!
Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire AND Distillery Masterclass
The acclaimed Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up is also back with a month-long celebration of whiskey and cocktails. It’s a full calendar of entertaining, engaging, and educational cocktail masterclasses, food pairing experiences, and tasting events showcasing rare and exceptional spirits. There are even award-winning Indian single malts from Paul John and rare cognac from Domaine Sazerac de Segonzac. One of Kentucky’s finest will also treat the capital to a masterclass that promises to further your whiskey education while tasting 5 samples from the world’s most awarded distillery. And all this Buffalo Trace brilliance will be taking place in The Proofing Room at Milroy’s of Spitalfields, a glamorous basement cocktail space as well as a members club and a whisky bar.
Barley & Beats: a pub quiz inspired by whisky, music, and culture
Enough time has passed since the endless quizzing period that was the first lockdown and so now you’re probably all itching to test your brain with some new challenges. And if you’re a whisky fan, then this is the ultimate pub quiz: Black Rock Tavern presents Barley & Beats in collaboration with Johnnie Walker, hosted by brand ambassador Ali Reynolds and accompanied by an incredible soundtrack. In teams of up to six, you’ll tackle questions themed on a flavour of whisk(e)y – sweet, smoke, fruit, and spice, as well as your favourite tunes. There are some great prizes up for grabs, including drams, cocktails, and a Black Rock bar tab for each week’s partner whisk(e)y. Your £10 ticket even includes four drinks throughout the night (£3 tickets available without drinks included), so get brainstorming on those team names and get booked in!
Monkey Shoulder and Callooh Callay swag shop
Want to enjoy great drinks while supporting a worthy cause? Well now you can because Monkey Shoulder whisky will take over the popular Shoreditch cocktail bar Callooh Callay from 18 to 24 October to raise money for Hospitality Action. You can even buy trainers and caps via the onsite Monkey Shoulder Swag Shop to support the charity. Get your branded merch on. Then on Thursday 21 October, the famed Monkey Shoulder World’s Loudest Silent Whisky Tasting event will return, bringing malt and music together in a silent disco-esque fashion. Free to join 15-minute sessions offer drinkers the chance to dance through a truly unique whisky tasting of three different Monkey Shoulder cocktails. Through their headphones, partygoers will enjoy a mix of beats and deets as a live DJ shares fun facts with each new cocktail.
The Art of Aperitivo at Quaglino’s
If anyone invites you to pop by for a little taste of dolce vita, it’s tempting. When multi-award-winning bartender Simone Caporale from SIPS, Barcelona does it, it’s a no-brainer. Hosted at the legendary Quaglino’s, the Amaro Santoni Experience promises to be an evening of aperitivo cocktails, live music, and fun hosted by Caprolae and one of the most talented bartenders in the UK, Quaglino’s head mixologist Michele Lombardi. It’s for one night only on the 26 October and requires a reservation, so we’d advise you to get it booked before it sells out.
A journey into the world of Hine Cognac
Step into the world of Hine Cognac for two nights only (12 and 19 October), and your reward will be an evening of Cognac cocktails, tastings, and food pairings. The Cognac with a British soul is taking over The Mezzanine at The Henrietta Hotel for both nights, inviting you to try Hine’s London Cocktail Month exclusive cocktail, canapés prepared by the Italian Supper Club, and four of the Cognac house’s expressions: H by Hine VSOP, Rare VSOP, Homage XO, and Antique XO. You’ll discover the secrets behind the spirit’s elegant fruity and floral style with your host, brand ambassador Quitterie Perrachon, who will also highlight the brand’s origin story and intriguing Dorset roots. This is an indulgent evening not to be missed.
Lush Life book club At Oriole
For those who would like a leisurely exploration of drinks, this is ideal. Lush Life, the podcast and online how-to guide for living life one cocktail at a time, will host a book club at internationally renowned cocktail bar Oriole. Taking place as a series of four live events throughout the month of October and hosted by Lush Life founder Susan Schwartz, authors of some of the most interesting and popular cocktail books are invited for an in-depth Q&A and discussion. A welcome drink on arrival, as well as further cocktails inspired by the authors’ works are available to guests, who will learn about cocktail history, recipes, and the people behind them. Here’s the schedule:
Shaking it up with Bond, James Bond (Wednesday 13 October, 6-7pm) – sponsored by Ketel One and featuring special guests Mia Johansson, Bobby Hiddleston & Edmund Weil, authors of Shaken: Drinking with James Bond and Ian Fleming.
Mother’s Ruin in the Hottest Hotel in London (Tuesday 19 October, 6-7pm) – sponsored by Tanqueray and Kentucky Tourism and featuring special guest Olivia Williams, author of both Gin, Glorious, Gin, and The Secret Life of the Savoy.
The Brand Ambassador as Author (Tuesday 26 October, 6-7pm) – sponsored by Tanqueray with special guests Jason Clark, author of The Art and Craft of Coffee Cocktails, and Pippa Guy, author of Let’s Get Fizzical.
Epic closing party – Aberfeldy at The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green.
The perfect way to wrap up a great month will be taking place at The Sun Tavern, which has partnered with Aberfeldy for a big old closing party with Huey Morgan (Fun Lovin’ Criminals, BBC Radio 6) on the decks! Following a whisky tasting evening on Wednesday 27 October, where guests are invited to explore the Highland Scotch whisky, the Sun Tavern will then reward festival-goers for supporting bars across the month with a last evening of shenanigans to see the week off in a way only the industry knows how. On Thursday 28 October, you can enjoy a three-strong cocktail menu from Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, along with a DJ set until the early hours, to give the world’s largest cocktail festival the send-off it deserves.