Monday, 13 October 2014

London Cocktail Week #LCW14

I first heard of London Cocktail Week last year but never got the chance to get involved, so when my friend suggested it this year, I jumped at it. For those of you that haven't heard of it, the organisers mark it as "a unique celebration of our capital's unrivalled cocktail culture. For seven days, 200 of the best bars throw open their doors to offer £4 cocktails to wristband wearers, plus there’s pop-ups, parties and tastings galore. A festival to inspire, educate and unite cocktail lovers across our brilliant city". 

A festival to 'educate'? Perfect! It is a legit way to get cheeky with come cocktails! 

We decided to make the most of it - start East and spend the afternoon (and evening) working our way into Central London and then back down to SW. 

Rachel, Charlie, Me  "cheers"

It is such a clever event, as it allows you to try bars and cocktails you never normally would. So for me, it meant exploring Shoreditch and finding out that after years wrongly snubbing egg whites in cocktail, it makes it really frothy and it delicious! 

First up for us was Hixter near Liverpool Street, with the Autumnal Orchard - a tasty blend of Tanqueray gin, sweet vermouth, apple juice and elderflower cordial. This was one of my favourites actually - good cocktail and loved the comfy sofa chairs and the super soft blankets. 

chilling outside Hixters 

Next up, was Barrio East which had such a funky, colourful vibe and the food looked incredible (I have told the Boy that he needs to take me there for a date night). If I am honest, the Island Jam cocktail was a little to sweet for me thanks to the vanilla syrup and raspberry jam, but the setting was great. They also do a daily happy hour until 8pm!

camper van seats at Barrio East 
adding the finishing touches 

Our third bar on our "cocktail Safari" as my friend Charlie dubbed it, was the Golden Bee in Shoreditch which was a right find! We found this totally by accident as we looked up and saw this cool roof top bar and just headed there with no idea what bar it was. Relaxed and unpretentious this was quite a cool spot although the cocktail however was Jack Daniels based which none of us liked except Frenchy, who courageously took it for the team and finished ours off! 
poor Frenchy HAD to drink all the cocktails  - so brave 

Bar four, The Hoxton Hotel was where I discovered that egg whites in a cocktail isn't as gross as what I first thought. We were unsure though so just ordered a couple of cocktails between the 5 of us!

egg whites in your cocktail not only provide protein... but froth! 

Bar number five was a quirky pop up, kind of like in a warehouse, but had a mini butterfly house inside! The cocktail was pretty dam good too, with rum, bitters and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice (I know it was freshly squeezed, because they let me have a go at the mangle that presses the cane).

butterflies and cocktails - nice touch 

loving the fresh sugar cane and rum 

Our next stop wasn't strictly a bar but one of the hubs where you picked up your wristbands so that we could collect our free drink! I have no idea what was in it but it was so tasty... it was garnished with a little ground nutmeg on top, which got me thinking "What! This aint no cake!"... but it actually works so well!

Cocktail number 7 was a monkey shoulder whisky based cocktail at the Cow Bell on Monkey's Shoulder in Seven Dials which quite frankly was rotten! But then I have never liked that whiksy! I am glad that we only got 2 to share again.

dry ice was served at the pop up hub 
on the bus, chilling a pineapple 

Our penultimate watering hole was definitely our classiest watering hole... seeing as we were knocking about in the Mayfair area we decided to head to The Palm Court at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair, a luxurious hotel bar with the comfiest sofas! Might as well, seeing as we probably couldn't afford a cocktail there normally! The place smelt so fresh too! You know you're in a posh place when the air smells sweet! The cocktail, the Ellie Rose (named after the bar manager's daughter) was so good and decorated with a dry flower (which judging by its crunchiness, I am not sure is edible).

Our final stop of the night was Salvatore's Bar at the Playboy club! Surprisingly there were loads of female customers! The cocktails were sweet, served with dishes of caramelized nuts and the owner even manged to get us a table! We loved it there! They even stored my pineapple in the cloak room for free (don't ask about the pineapple)

the grand palm court

more sweet cocktails - sugar overload! 

All in all, London Cocktail Week is AMAZING!!! It is such a clever (and a LOT cheaper) way to try out new places and cocktails! When cocktails average about a tenner in London, you're reluctant to try anything new so I end up sticking to the same mojitos and martinis every time without trying anything new.

drink up! 

Me and the girls are already planning next years - although rather than doing it all in one day/night, it would be best if you choose an area and go over a couple of days, after al it is on for a week. 

Although bursting with restaurants and bars, I also felt that the Seven Dials area was pretty hard to do on a Saturday night as everywhere was busier than a shoe sale and some places weren't letting any more people in.

I can't wait for London Cocktail Week 2015!!!

X x X

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