The day kicked off with the Drinks Jamboree at Shoreditch Town Hall. Lots of lovely people with lovely things to taste but Chase Raspberry liqueur was the stand-out for me. Mmm, like alcoholic jam.
Resisting the temptation to buy the entire Chase range, I indulged in a bottle of Diffords Daiquiri bitters but at £5 a pop it’s not actually that indulgent. Can’t wait to try that one out – apparently a few drops in a Daquiri will liven it up. We shall see.
Also came across an easy but lovely way to use absinthe. 1 part absinthe, 2 lime cordial, 4 water. garnish with cucumber – this is very important as the cucumber, lime and aniseed all complement each other wonderfully. Very refreshing.
Next I flew down to the Cuckoo Club on Swallow Street for a Creative Cocktail Surgery with BBF. This was perhaps a little but of a whistle-stop given they only had about 50 minutes – the three techniques for creating drinks are evolution, substitution and using old formulas. Basic enough principles I suppose but good to have it clarified in my head. One of the recipes they shared with us was absolutely corking:
2 Cazadores Tequila
I then had to go the theatre and as this was in Southwark, popped to The Hide bar after. Not on the LCW trail but I’ve meant to go here for ages and I’m so glad I did. The bar itself is a little grown up seeming but the drinks are top-notch.
Bar manager Paolo is an absolute gem and a walking encyclopaedia of drinks knowledge. The special of the day was a Blue Blazer which I’d never actually tried before and was a theatrical treat as made by Paolo. Pure class.
One of the great tips from Paolo was for Grappa. I’m often put off Grappa by the raw, musty odours and taste. Paolo suggested briefly infusing it with tea and then making it into a sour. Sounds delicious:
50 ml tea- infused Grappa
25 ml lemon
25 ml simple syrup
15 ml egg white
He then made me a Rhubarb Negroni which was a drink I’d been meaning to taste since July – worth the wait.
I’m keeping it brief today as have many contacts to follow up from the Jamboree before heading off to the Hendricks carriage and Purl. I wonder if I have time to squeeze in a late brunch and should it be at Saf, Rivington, or McQueen?
I’ll start by confessing I still haven’t made it to any of the bartenders brunches yet. For some unfathomable reason, I just can’t get started in the morning this week… and after the fun-packed day I’ve had I don’t see Friday morning being any different.
My first port of call was the Hendricks carriage in Clerkenwell. Anyone can swing by for a gin and tonic and a game of croquet (and on Saturday there is a big bartenders croquet-off – should be fun) but I was there with the London Cocktail Society for a guided tasting in the carriage of curiosities.
My next event was at Purl in Marylebone so I took the opportunity of stopping off at Selfridges to check out Hix champagne bar. The daily special was a tequila, lemon and chocolate bitters concoction that I took rather kindly to. We also stopped for a Don Julio tasting at the reserve bar and a peek in the drinks shop. Friday’s featured spirit is Zacapa rum.
The first event at Purl was a tutored tasting of La Clandestine Absinthe. This was extremely interesting so I hope to do a post just on absinthe shortly. One quick tip from this though: absinthe make a delicious base for a caipirinha. Try it.
And the final slot of the day, and my favourite of the week so far, was the Molecular Mixology session at Purl. Again I really ought to write this up separately (maybe if i give up my day job I’ll have time) as there was so much information given but we tasted instant infusions of cranberry and vanilla vodka, LN2 freezed Cosmopolitan lollipops, sherbert for glass rims, dry ice Martinis and much more. By far the most fun event of the week.