At the start of this month, dozens of bars prepared themselves for London Cocktail Week, each one serving their unique signature cocktail for the exceptionally reasonable price of £4. I found out about this from my girlfriend who thought it’d be a fun thing to do - as indeed it was.
We kicked it off at Shaker & Co. Shown here is their Teenage Blues cocktail with a portion going to support the Teenage Cancer Trust. My personal favourite was their Benedictine and grapefruit cocktail ‘Le Pamplemousse’. Amazingly, these guys opened their bar for the first time on the very first night of the week - if they call that a ‘soft launch’, I can only wonder what numbers the guys behind them are used to.
We spent a lot of our time there having too much fun with their Canadian bartender (your name escapes me now, sorry!) and the flamboyant drinks he made for us afterwards. Nevertheless we finally headed out to Centre Point, ascending to the 34th floor of one of the oldest skyscrapers in London to visit the Paramount bar.
The tour continued on Tuesday around Camden. Coco Bamboo offered spicy mint mojitos (i.e. your regular mojito but with Bacardi’s new Oakheart spirit). The Hawley Arms offered a rather non-descript Jack Daniels-based drink - I doubt Amy Winehouse loved the place for its alcohol.
One of the star bars was a gin and real ale bar, The Colonel Fawcett, who gave us this fine Tom Collins with added Chambourd. I’m not normally a gin fan but I do love raspberry, and this turned out to be a great cocktail that’s a little too easy to drink! If you go, check out the menu - the chocolate and chestnut cake with hazelnut ice cream is fantastic and everything you could possibly ask of a dessert.
Our final bar was Cottons, who have supremely knowledgeable staff who love rum and making interesting cocktails. One favourite was a malty cocktail made with condensed milk, Jamaican Dragon Stout (it is a rhum shack after all) and a few other additions blended together into a deliciously creamy drink. It’s like a mudslide made with Bournvita.
At the end of the night I asked our bartender to make a cocktail that met a particular taste profile I wanted. The good news is it was one of the most delicious alcoholic beverages I have consumed. The bad news is, I was too drunk to remember it or think about writing it down. It’s too bad; I guess I’ll just have to go there again…
The London Cocktail Week lasted until the 16th of October. While we only managed two days, maybe next year I’ll be able to last the whole week. After all, if you don’t come out never wanting to touch a drop again, you probably haven’t gone far enough.