Shake it up

Although I love inventing cocktails and seeing people enjoy what I’ve created, I hate public speaking and generally being the focus of attention. So I had mixed feelings last year when, as the main event at our Christmas party, I was challenged to a ‘shake off’ with the other founders of the The London Cocktail Society. On balance, I’d have more happily downed a bottle of Master of Malts’ 100,000 Scovilles – Naga Chilli Vodka. In one. 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

London Cocktail Society at 69 Colebrooke Row

Interior 69 Colebrooke Row

Interior of 69 Colebrooke Row

Ok, this is a post of two halves. The first deals with a new venture I’m involved in. The second with that near legendary gem of a bar, 69 Colebrooke Row.

And we kick off  with the first half. The new venture is the London Cocktail Society which had its inaugural meeting on 8 September.  The society, (well, it’s more of a club really but we couldn’t call it the London Cocktail Club as some darn fools had already nabbed that moniker) is a friendly little group that meets monthly in bars across the capital. Continue reading

Have Martini, will travel

Travel Martini Kit

Travel Martini Kit


 I’d decided last-minute to visit friends in Bristol and, having been rather extravagant lately, National Express’ advertising beguiled me into travelling by coach. So cheap, so fast… seemingly. 

Once the spell of a £5 deal had worn off, I was painfully aware that embarking on a 2.5 hour coach ride at 6pm on a Friday night was not going to constitute a TFIF moment.  Emergency measures were required to make this ordeal endurable. Continue reading

A Purl of a bar (update)

The Piano Room at Purl

The Piano Room at Purl


Update 21/08/2010: Oh dear, Purl still good but be warned booking now essential…this will noticeably limit my future visits 

Update – 9/08/2010: I made a return visit to Purl this week and retract all reservations I harboured from the first. The Martini was probably the best I’d ever had, there’s some new exciting drinks such as the Street Urchin (served in a beer-scented, brown paper wrapped bottle and served on newspaper strips) and the Cherry Julep (garnished with the most delicious bourbon soaked cherryso good I’m going to try to make these myself)

What’s more, further even more exciting menu changes are to come. We had a couple of sneak previews of the latter and I won’t spoil any surprises, but I will say I can’t wait to try the finished versions. All Purl’s early promise has now been achieved while, happily, losing none of the theatre, fun or irreverence. If you haven’t been yet, go soon! Continue reading

Celery Martini

Celery Martini

Celery Martini (in the bath)


I recently bought some celery bitters for a  clear Bloody Mary Martini recipe I’m developing. I’m still waiting for the other components to mature ( horseradish vodka and black pepper vodka – sadly the home-grown tomatoes fell victim to high winds and my total neglect),  so in the meantime had to find an alternative way of giving them a  road test.  Continue reading