We’ve rounded up some of the standout events from the upcoming London Cocktail Week (4-14 October) so you can focus your energy on enjoying its many delightful boozy offerings.
What was already one of the biggest dates in the drinks industry calendar is even bigger this year. London Cocktail Week has returned and has chosen to mark its 10th anniversary by broadening its showcase of the capital’s best bars, mixologists and drinks with an extended ten-day celebration. Because what’s better than a week of cocktails? Ten days of cocktails, that’s what.
Ten years already. Where does the time go? It’s been quite the journey since DrinkUp.London’s Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne founded LCW (as we in the ‘biz’ call it) as a pop-up in Selfridge’s to showcase London’s cocktail scene in 2010. Great oaks from little acorns grow: there are now over 300 bars taking part, tons of quirky pop-ups making temporary homes across London, and endless masterclasses where you can improve your shaking and stirring skills. There’s even a cocktail-meets-doughnut van courtesy of Maker’s Mark and Crosstown Doughnuts, for goodness sake.
As such, many of you will be looking forward to making yourself at home in the Cocktail Village at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane between 4-14 October. But, you also might be feeling slightly overwhelmed by the significant number of events on offer. That’s why we’re here to offer a helping hand by highlighting some of the most intriguing, exciting and engaging opportunities London Cocktail Week has presented for 2019.
London Cocktail Week: the events
Ten options are listed below, but before we start it’s worth noting that you will need to purchase your £10 festival pass and download the DrinkUp.London app to activate it to enjoy London Cocktail Week. This will give you access to £6 drink deals at participating bars as well as entry to the Cocktail Village, so even if you don’t have the chance to make it to the good times below, there’s still plenty to be had all around this fair capital city of ours.
Now, let’s check out some events!
All kinds of whisky-based shenanigans are to be expected
The Whisky House take over at Black Rock
Where?: Black Rock Tavern, 9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS
When?: Friday 4 October to Saturday 12 October
What’s it all about?: The fabulous Black Rock Tavern hosts brands like Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, Talisker, Copper Dog, Johnnie Walker and Roe & Co for a series of amazing events. The blend of pop-up whisky takeovers, experiences and late-night DJs across nine days will take place within the newly furbished first floor Blending Room and ground floor Tavern at East London’s specialist whisky bar.
Why would I like this, Adam?: There’s endless whisky-based fun to be had and a 185-year old interactive cocktail ageing tree trunk. Yes, you read that right.
An award-winning G&T in a sauna? We’re in.
Kyrö Gin Sauna
Where?: The Cocktail Village, 146 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU
When?: Wednesday 9 October to Monday 14 October (Wed-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-7pm)
What’s it all about?: Kyrö Distillery conceived in a Finnish sauna by a group of friends with a shared love of rye. That’s the kind of back-story that deserves to be celebrated, and that’s exactly what this feature is all about! Plenty of rye gin and, yes, an actual sauna, will be present in the Cocktail Village once again this year, as well as an opportunity to blend your own gin in a gin-blending masterclass. Tickets for the blending workshops can be found here.
Why would I like this, Adam?: Because there’s a sauna involved, for goodness sake. Plus plenty of Kyrö’s award-winning G&Ts.
Refreshment is guaranteed
That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Instant Refreshment Service
Where?: The Cocktail Village, 146 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU.
When?: Wednesday 9 October to Sunday 13 October (Wed-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-7pm).
What’s it all about?: That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Instant Refreshment Service means one thing: lots of delicious and easily accessible cocktails. You can help yourself to the independent bottler’s range of Craft Cocktails via a brilliantly Boutique-y vending machine, which will also be available on draft.
Why would I like this, Adam?: That Boutique-y Gin Company has made it clear its dream is for every attendee of London Cocktail Week to be fully refreshed at all times. This is a noble goal, and it involves consuming delicious cocktails. Which is the whole point of the entire enterprise, people.
Is this the death of the whisky tumbler? No, but it’s still lots of fun
The Glenlivet’s Capsule Collection
Where?: Tayér + Elementary, 152 Old St, London EC1V 9BW
When?: Friday 4 October from 4-6pm.
What’s it all about?: Ever had an edible cocktail capsule before? No? Well, here’s your chance. A partnership between co-owner of Tayēr + Elementary, Alex Kratena and Scotch whisky distillery The Glenlivet has resulted in this selection of glassless cocktails, which will attempt to redefine the way whisky is traditionally enjoyed. The edible capsules are 23ml in size, fully biodegradable and housed in a seaweed-extract casing courtesy capsule designers Notpla. Simply pop them in your mouth an enjoy three original cocktails inspired by the elements and flavours of The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve: Citrus, Wood and Spice.
Why would I like this, Adam?: You get to eat cocktails. There’s no need for glass, ice or cocktail stirrers here.
The ultimate Cointreau Margarita cocktail awaits
Alfred Cointreau at The K Bar in celebration of London Cocktail Week
Where?: The K Bar, 109 – 113 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LP.
When?: Thursday 10 October from 6-9pm.
What’s it all about?: A celebration of both the week and Cointreau’s 170th Anniversary, this event sees Alfred Cointreau (the clue is in the name) taking the reins behind the wonderful K Bar in Kensignton to mix up classic and twists on the iconic Margarita while telling the story of Cointreau.
Why would I like this, Adam?: You get to meet some drinks industry royalty and learn how to make the ultimate Cointreau Margarita cocktail.
Go wild in the isles, folks!
Where?: London Cocktail Club Shoreditch, Unit 12, 29 Sclater Street, London, E1 6HR
When?: Wednesday 9 October to Sunday 13 October (3.30-9pm)
What’s it all about?: If you’re somebody who’s looking for any excuse to get their 90s game show vibe on, then London Cocktail Club Shoreditch’s pop-up is the one for you. Inside the re-creation of a miniature supermarket you’ll get an opportunity to make a cocktail from JJ Goodman’s book ‘Kitchen Cocktails’ and sample cocktail recipes made from everyday ingredients like angel delight to Coco Pops. Best of all, you can whizz around the aisles Supermarket Sweep-style. So, choose your teams, grab your basket and indulge in some nostalgia! To book your ticket you’ll need to email email@example.com.
Why would I like this, Adam?: You can channel your best Dale Winton impression while enjoying some unorthodox cocktails.
Karaoke and cocktails is a good night by anybody’s estimation
The House of Suntory Masterclass & Cocktail Karaoke
Where?: Shochu Lounge, Roka Charlotte Street, 37 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RR
When?: Monday 7 October to Tuesday 8 October (6-11.30pm)
What’s it all about?: An evening of learning about Japanese culture while imbibing Suntory’s Roku Gin, Haku Vodka and Toki Whisky in the company of UK ambassador James Bowker sounds pretty great. But the Japanese distillery has turned a great night into an unforgettable one by also hosting ‘Cocktail Karaoke’. Simply you choose your base spirit (gin/vodka/whisky) and your favourite classic track then the team at Roka will create a Japanese riff on your song choice. How good does that sound? You can book your ticket here.
Why would I like this, Adam?: Two words: Cocktail. Karaoke.
How often do you get to create your own whisky?
The Blend by Chivas Regal
Where?: Mac & Wild, 9A Devonshire Square, London, EC2M 4YN
When?: Monday 7 October to Thursday 10 October (various slots from 6.30pm)
What’s it all about?: A chance to create a whisky you can call your own should never be passed up. That’s exactly what Chivas Regal is offering at a special masterclass at Mac & Wild, Devonshire Square, to celebrate the launch of The Blend campaign. The guided tasting sessions will provide a window into the life of a master blender as you learn the history of Chivas Regal and how to make your own whisky highball twists with UK brand ambassador Phil Huckle. But best of all, you’ll leave this event 200ml of your very own whisky, blended from a combination of floral, citrus, fruity, creamy and smoky flavours. Book your ticket here.
Why would I like this, Adam?: You literally get to make a whisky of your own. What are you waiting for?
Science is finally put to good use
The Essence House by the London Essence Company
Where?: 5 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
When?: Thursday 3 October to Saturday 5 October (12-10pm)
What’s it all about?: If there’s one thing you want from London Cocktail Week, it’s amazing cocktails. Thanks to The London Essence Company you can do just that as it treats you to a bespoke cocktail, matched to your palate using real science by some of the world’s top bartenders. The Essence House, described as an “interactive journey of flavour discovery”, is an experience curated by Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart, an expert in gastronomy and flavour perception, who will help you to get hands-on with botanicals, flavours and aromas over the course of a 45 minute session that includes that personal palate profiling experience and two cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options available). Tickets are available here.
Why would I like this, Adam?: You know you want tasty cocktails, and The London Essence Company know what you find tasty…
Over the last century, the Negroni has stood the test of time
The Experimental Negroni Club
Where?: Henrietta Hotel, 14-15 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8QG
When?: Friday 4 October to Sunday 13 October (12pm-close)
What’s it all about?: It’s been 100 years since the Negroni first entered our lives and we haven’t looked back. The Experimental Group, however, will actually be looking back to celebrate this illustrious history through the Experimental Negroni Club a partnership with Campari at the Henrietta Hotel. Vintage ingredients selected in partnership with the Old Spirit Company will ensure the recreation of cocktails served in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and to make the perfect vintage Negroni, which will be accompanied by a light show created by Frankie Boyle (not the Scottish comedian, thankfully).
Why would I like this, Adam?: We love Negronis. You love Negronis. Go forth and toast its brilliance the only way how. With a Negroni.