Limited-edition menu sees competing gin cocktails with House of Pink vs House of Orange.
I’m a great believer in drinking to suit the seasons – I would never dream of mulled cider in summer and an Aperol Spritz must always be accompanied by warmth and sunshine. So whenever I hear the words ‘summer drinks’, I don’t need much convincing. Furthermore, when I heard that Dirty Martini were using my tipple of choice – gin – in their new summer menu, I didn’t need much incentive to try it out.
This summer, the cocktail bar chain has created a contrasting summer drink menu, featuring the competing House of Pink vs the House of Orange. Each ‘house’ features three cocktails each, with the common ingredient being either Beefeater Blood Orange or Strawberry Pink Gin. I’m fairly well acquainted with pink gin, but not so much with the blood orange so was keen to experiment. I’ve only been drinking gin regularly for a few years and often find friends declaring they ‘don’t like it’. However, I’ve always insisted that a cocktail or a flavoured gin will be far from their memory of gin, as its such a versatile drink. On my visit, I was accompanied by one of those said friends who didn’t think she liked gin, but was open-minded. With my encouragement, she tried a ‘Strawberries & Dreams (strawberry pink gin, pineapple, strawberries and a coconut foam), which she was pleasantly surprised by how sweet and lovely it tasted. Meanwhile, I opted for a ‘Summer Lover’ (Blood orange gin, passoa, fresh passion fruit, vanilla, citrus, egg white and Prosecco), an even fruitier twist on the Pornstar Martini, which I really liked.
My friend had soon developed quite the taste for the pink gin, as had I for the blood orange, so we let those ingredients dominate our next cocktail choice. My pal decided on the ‘I Lychee Like That’ (Strawberry pink gin, watermelon, lychee and strawberries with dehydrated dragon fruit), with the lychee and dragon fruit giving an exotic twist and refreshing taste. However, I went for the uber delicate ‘Life’s a Peach’ (Blood orange gin, Frangelico, peach, peach schnapps, eucalyptus, citrus and egg white), which was a surprisingly boozy and fragrant drink. Finally to finish, we kept it simple with pink and orange gin and tonics. Having stuck to blood orange cocktails, I mixed things up and went for the strawberry pink gin served with pink grapefruit and mint, which was sweet, but light. Meanwhile, the blood orange gin is accompanied by orange slices and fresh rosemary, with the herb really elevating the gin flavour.
Overall, the summer menu is a treat for gin lovers and even those who think they don’t like gin… you may be surprised! I’ve been back to the St Paul’s branch to enjoy the summer menu more than once, and I’m sure I’ll have to squeeze in one last visit before the season ends.
- Dirty Martini’s Summer Drinks menu is available from 3 June – 1 September 2019 at all branches. London branches include Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument, St Paul’s and Minories. For more information, visit the Dirty Martini website.
- Dirty Martini’s Bottomless Gin Brunch is available from 7 June – 1 September 2019 at Bishopsgate (Fri, Sat & Sun), and St Paul’s, Hanover Square and Minories (Fri and Sat). Featuring Bottomless G&Ts, Prosecco, choice of three Martinis or beer for 90 minutes, alongside a birdcage of sharing food.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar reviews, click here.
If you know your gin, then your taste buds are required to help find the world’s best gin. Graphic Bar in Soho are hosting the Gin Off 2018 awards to hunt down the finest ‘mother’s ruin’. Sixteen of the planet’s most exciting brands will be competing for the top honour in a series of heats.
Each gin brand will put forward a mixologist to create a cocktail that makes the most of their tipple. The rules state the cocktail must be served in a disposable vessel, so expect to see drinks served in quirky alternatives, such as an ice glass or hollowed-out cucumber.
The Gin Off has been taking place annually since 2015 and Audemus Spirits’ Pink Pepper Gin have reigned supreme for the past two years. For 2018, Audemus have stepped out of the competition, leaving the field open for a new champion. Brands big and small are taking part this year, including Haymans, Beefeater, Fords, Marylebone, Copperhead, Nordes, NGinious, Brooklyn, Scapegrace, Nicholson, Daffy’s, Vidda, Boxer, Thomas Dakin, Monkey 47 and Bols.
Round 1 has already taken place on 30 April, but there’s three more rounds before the semi-finals and final take place in November. For this exciting competition, it’s the guests who have the power. Each gin lover is given a polling card before going on to sample four different cocktails and voting for their favourite. The overall winner will be crowned with a Copper Still trophy and will be featured on the Graphic Bar’s 2019 cocktail menu. Graphic Bar is a stylish, contemporary bar located in Soho and boasts a selection of over 300 world-class gins.
The remaining fixtures in the 2018 Gin Off are:
Round 2: 21 May – Haymans, Daffy’s, NGinious, Scapegrace.
Round 3: 25 June – Bols, Nordes, Monkey 47, Brooklyn.
Round 4: 30 July – Copperhead, Marylebone, Boxer, Fords.
Semi-final: 24 September.
Semi-final: 29 October.
Final: 26 November.
- The Gin Off takes place on Mondays once a month until November 2018. At the Graphic Bar, 4 Golden Square, Soho, W1F 9HT. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Tickets: £10 (include 4 gin cocktails). From 6pm-9pm on relevant dates. Tickets available through Eventbrite or email email@example.com. For more information, visit the Graphic Bar website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in October 2018, click here.
Alfresco drinking is one of the best things about London in the summer (in my opinion!). When the weather is good, there’s nothing better than relaxing with a cocktail in the fresh (fresh-ish – we are in London after all!) air. This summer, the urban scenic surrounds of the Grand Union Canal is playing host to a new drinking destination.
Setting up camp on Paddington’s Floating Pocket Park is a new pop-up venue from the team behind Lockhouse. The Botanical Bar will serve a range of gins and gin cocktails, with workshops and tastings on offer for dedicated gin lovers. Some of the signature concoctions on offer include ‘We’ve Got The Whole World Gin Our Hands’ (Beefeater 24, fresh lavender and lemon balm), ‘Dr Greenthumb’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Island In The Sun’. Among the many gin brands will be Beefeater London Dry Gin & Beefeater 24, Plymouth and Monkey 47, while the mixers come from the London Essence Company. Non gin drinkers are also catered for with mocktails, Perrier Jouet Champagne, soft drinks and Cornish ice cream.
Gin-tastic events @ the Botanical Bar
- Gin Tasting (Thursday 20 July and Thursday 10 August)
Find out your perfect G&T as you’re guided through ‘beautifully balanced botanicals, tantalising tonics and gorgeous fresh garnishes’ so you can make one at home. Learn tasting techniques so you can detect the best quality gin. Tickets: £25pp.
- Cocktail Masterclass (Thursday 3 August)
Learn how to mix up classic cocktails or Botanical Bar originals with talented mixologists. Event includes a welcome drink, before you take part in a fun, interactive masterclass. After you’ve learned your skills, there will be a farewell shot to finish. You can also enjoy 15% discount of a meal at Lockhouse. Masterclass lasts 90 minutes and costs £25pp (inc 5 drinks).
- Botanical Bar @ Floating Pocket Park, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington or Edgware Road. Open Thursday and Friday until 18 August 2017 from 12pm-9pm. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website or Lockhouse website.
This month sees the return of Taste of London, a celebration of food and drink at the capital’s Regent’s Park. The team behind Mr Fogg’s bars will be setting up camp, bringing their inventive drinks and a bit of 19th century chic to the festival.
Mr Fogg’s Safari Camp will recreate the nostalgia of Mr Phileas Fogg’s African adventures with British colonial-style tents and world-class drinks. Inside the tent will be an array of antiques, vintage maps, globes and taxidermy collected on Fogg’s voyage Around The World in 80 Days. Guests will be transported to the wilds of Africa with flora, fauna and botanicals. Outside the exotic camp, there will be alfresco drinking opportunities with parasols for those who wanted to sink a cocktail or two under the sun.
Among the cocktails on offer will be AFrican Good Time (Don Julio Blanco tequila, fresh lime, pear purée and homemade lemon verbena tea syrup); Rum-bling Around the Serengeti (Zacapa 23, coffee cream, camel milk and vanilla syrup); Rye Brettania (Bulleit Bourbon Rye whiskey, ginger liqueur, fresh lemon, chilli honey, sprayed with Islay whiskey); and Hakuna Ma-Tanq-a, Good Fellow! (Tanqueray No. TEN gin, fresh lemon, banana purée, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice and soda water).
For those who like their tipples a bit simpler, there will also be a separate Gin & Tonic bar for the traditionalists. Fogg’s barmen will be giving lessons in how to mix the perfect G&Ts, with the choice of Tanqueray No. TEN or London Dry gins, several flavoured tonics and botanicals, including juniper, coriander, grapefruit, chamomile and lime.
- Mr Fogg’s Safari Camp will be at the Taste of London from 15 – 19 June 2016. Tickets start from £16/£28. Regent’s Park, NW1 4NR. Nearest station: Regent’s Park. For tickets, visit the Taste Of London website or visit Mr Fogg’s website.
For a guide to what else is on in June, click here.