London Cocktail Week has burst into life and the fun won’t stop as the festival continues for the rest of October.
City A.M. takes a look at the best events, takeovers and bars that you shouldn’t miss.
Access to all the events requires a London Cocktail Week wristband, priced at £15 – a bargain at twice the price.
The Last Dance at Sea Containers
The best bartending team in the world? That might be the case at Sea Containers on October 15, with Declan McGurk (formerly of the American Bar at The Savoy) and a team of renowned faces from London’s hospitality scene joining forces for an exclusive, unmissable cocktail experience.
The Last Dance will see McGurk and pals mixing up a storm, with drinks including a stirred, savoury cocktail mixing Glenfiddich 23 year-old Grand Cru, Beermouth and black miso distillate chestnut mushroom amongst a host of others. Supported by luxury spirits brand William Grant & Sons, it’s set to be an most extraordinary experience, curated by the Global Bartending Talent Agency. Even better? Part of the ticket price goes to The Drinks Trust to support the industry.
The Last Dance, October 15 (tickets priced at £50 or £25 for those in hospitality trade, drinks included over two hours, with a £10 donation to the Drinks Trust included)
Cafe Belsazar at Hicce
Coal Drops Yard’s Hicce is playing host to Cafe Belsazar for the month, bringing the craftsmanship of the German wine-based vermouth to King’s Cross. The signature £6 cocktail is the bittersweet ‘Mr. Weiss Guy’ (geddit?), made with Belsazar White & Suze alongside Lixir blood orange and cinnamon tonic.
Masterclasses are available from Belsazar’s ambassador Adam McGurk.
Suntory Bar Shun at the Mandrake
Far-flung travel might be a little challenging at the minute, but The House of Suntory are bringing Japan to Fitzrovia. Guests can try the Shun Gimlet at the Waeska bar, choosing either Haku vodka, Roku gin or Toki whisky as a base before picking between a host of gimlet flavours – for a remarkable £6. Those looking for a more immersive experience can take advantage of the bars tasting sessions – a 90-minute exploration of the best of Japanese spirits complete with a round of bespoke cocktails to finish.
Whisky connoisseurs are in luck, too – James Bowker, The House of Suntory’s UK ambassador, will lead a tasting session of some of the land of the rising sun’s finest drams, accompanied by dishes from the Mandrake’s acclaimed restaurant. Kanpai.
Suntory Bar Shun: Tokyo x London, throughout October
Tasting sessions last 90 minutes, £25 pp
Suntory and Tsukuriwake: Tasting Japanese Whisky sessions are held every Wednesday, £50 pp
Hennessy Supper at TOLA Peckham
From Peckham to Cognac: every Thursday, Peckham’s TOLA will be transformed into an eating and drinking paradise, with Hennessy braised meats matched up with a Hennessy cocktail in a real feast for the senses.
All month, the bar – which has built a beautiful roof terrace – will also be offering the Pineapple Express as their £6 signature serve: a delicious long drink featuring Hennessy VS cognac, caramelised pineapple, vanilla, fresh lemon juice and bitters. Beats Peckham Springs water, that’s for sure.
Havana Club x Hot 4 U Brunch at Swift Shoreditch
Throughout October, Swift Shoreditch is collaborating with popular pop-up kitchen Hot 4 U to create a series of one-off brunch menus in celebration of London Cocktail Month. The bar itself is a beaut: white tiling, a lovely long bar, and building on the success of the first Swift in Soho.
The brunches will showcase Havana Club’s exclusive Pro Edicion portfolio which features four unique expressions that have each been created in collaboration with some of the world’s best bartenders. Hot 4 U was launched in spring of this year, with Matt Scott and Eddy Tejada – previously of CUB and St John, respectively – the brains and brawn behind the operation.
Havana Club x Hot 4 U Brunch at Swift Shoreditch (price TBC)
Live music (!!!!) at Homeboy
Remember live music? Combine that with cocktails and you’ve got a great night out that might almost feel like BL – that’s Before Lockdown. Join Islington’s Homeboy on Thursday October 15 for a special evening of live music from Irish singer/songwriter Rebekah Fitch alongside Homeboy’s signature cocktails, and their LCW special, Homeboy Henny Coke.
Rebekah Fitch at Homeboy, 15 October
Cocktails, including the Homeboy Henny Coke and the Very French 75, available all month
Positive dinners at Publik.
After the successful takeover of Kensington bistro Le Petit Sud, Greg Almeida and Charles Montanaro are relaunching as Publik. and have partnered with Belvedere vodka for a host of ‘Positive Dinners’ throughout October.
Pairing cocktails with specially curated three-course meals, focussed on sustainably foraged and farmed ingredients, this sixteen-seats-only dinner is not to be missed.