Challenging drinks

Over the years I’ve acquired a fair few bottles of random booze – many of my own production. Nice to drink in themselves, their complex or strong flavours can sometimes be hard to balance in a cocktail. Which is why I was so pleased when Cassis Bistro invited me to their Challenge the Barman night – ie, a group  of drink writers bring along whatever is lurking in the back of their booze cabinet that they don’t know how to use and the barman invents a cocktail with said ingredient. Continue reading

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Down Mexico way

Mexico's #1 selling Mezcal

As a freelancer I don’t get to go on holiday as much as I’d like, so I love it when generous friends and relatives bring me back souvenirs from  abroad – it’s a breath of exotic climes in a gift bag. On the down side, it was always a toss-up whether I’d be given an objet d’art or an objet dire. Continue reading

Premium Bonds

Bonds bar

Bonds bar

As a drinks blogger I rarely get invited to visit restaurants, so when Bonds asked me along to a bloggers dinner last month, I accepted with alacrity. As if the promise of fine dining wasn’t enough, the invite also offered inventive cocktails…sold.

I mentioned in my acceptance that I’m interested in food and cocktail pairing and that’s when things got even more exciting. Inspired by this casual comment, Bonds new bar manager, Brian Calleja (formerly of L’Atelier de Joel Rebouchon), constructed a cocktail menu just for little ol’ me.  That’s quite a challenge when you think about it, as the drinks needed to work with each course regardless of what I ordered but Brian definitely rose to the occasion. Continue reading

Five good bars to drink Martinis

A Martini at the Seven Stars pub

A Martini at the Seven Stars pub

Initially I was going to write a post on London’s  five best Martinis  but realised that was somewhat superfluous. It’s been common knowledge for decades that London’s best Martini’s are to be found at old school hotels and bars (such as Rules, Dukes, the Connaught, the Dorchester et al) originally catering for thirsty Americans – as any listings site will tell you. There’s not  much change from a twenty pound note at such joints, but you will get impeccable service and a fine drink made exactly to your taste.

However, if you fancy a night out that doesn’t need a second mortgage, you might like to check out the list below. These bars may not serve the absolute best Martinis in London but they all have something to offer besides leaving change for your bus fare home. Continue reading

Five winter warmers

Jerry Thomas fixing a Blue Blazer

Jerry Thomas fixing a Blue Blazer

‘Tis the season to be merry, fa la la and all that. Just why any one season deserves that accolade over another I couldn’t say but winter certainly is the one to be warm and merry. That’s why I’m sharing my top five hot drinks recipes, to help keep you insulated over the bank holiday. Continue reading

A drop of Christmas spirit

Paolo makes a Blue Blazer at the Hide

Paolo makes a Blue Blazer at the Hide

The week leading to Christmas has finally arrived which naturally means a lot of going out and, umm, ‘socialising’. Unfortunately the blizzard threatened by the Met office has also arrived, meaning most of us would rather stay home with a vat of mulled wine. Lucky then, that many bars in London have created warming Christmas drinks to help the more hardy reveller beat the chill – here’s my pick of the best: Continue reading