With London Cocktail Week having kicked off, what better way than to celebrate than making your own concotions. Drink supremos Schweppes are hosting a secret bar experience in central London. Located in the quiet enclaves of St Martin’s Courtyard, guests will have the chance to learn the art of cocktail making with some of the best mixologists in the business.
For nine days, the pop-up bar will invite cocktail fans to explore the work of original alchemist, Jacob Schweppes and over 200 years of bubble-making. Guests can take part in the Schweppes Laboratory Experience, where they will be able to create their own sparkling drink. London’s experimental mixologists Smith & Sinclair will be sharing some of their secrets with the chance to see colour-changing gin and tonics to inhalable gin clouds. After mixing up a storm, participants will then head into the Schweppes secret study to relax with a new drink from the brand.
The pop-up is taking place during London Cocktail Week, which sees hundreds of the capital’s bars and restaurants taking part, offering masterclasses, workshops, tastings and £6 cocktails.
- Schweppes Alchemy Bar is open at 21 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard, WC2E 9AB. Nearest stations: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. Open from 2-11 October 2017. Over 18s only. Tickets: £10 (includes three gin and tonic cocktails, plus immersive cocktail-making class. For booking, visit Eventbrite.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.
Anyone that follows my Instagram profile may have noticed I love cocktails. So it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of London Cocktail Week – an annual celebration of mixology. This year sees the team from Drink Up London hosting LCW for a sixth year in a row from 5 to 11 October 2015. For those who don’t know, LCW sees hundreds of venues across the capital get involved with special drinks promotions and events.
The main way to get the most of LCW is to buy a £10 wristbrand, which entitles you to £5 cocktails at participating venues. Last year, a large group of girlfriends and I picked up our wristbands from one of the LCW hubs and after trying one of the in-house cocktails, went on an epic bar crawl around Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia, taking in about 7 or 8 bars. Many of the venues had one special LCW drink available so it was a night for experimenting (and mixing spirits… oops). I recommend to start early and also make sure you enjoy a good meal beforehand or during.
You can order your wristband online or buy one from the hub at the Vinyl Factory, 51 Poland Street in Soho, where there will also be bars and special events, or the London Cocktail Week Village at Old Spitalfields Market.
Here’s just some of my highlights during this year’s London Cocktail Week…
A one hour cruise from King’s Cross’s Granary Square on a canal boat. Daily throughout LCW. Price: £30pp.
Cocktail masterclasses from the bartenders at Happiness Forgets in Hoxton. Daily throughout LCW. One hour long. £20pp
Eat and drink your way through Soho on a guided walk by local chef Michelle Francis, who will share the history, architecture and culture of the area along the way. Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October. £69.50.
Pop-up bar for whiskey fans in Kingsland Road. Daily throughout LCW. Free entry for LCW wristband holders.
Chambord Black Raspberry Liquer are hosting a party at Brixton’s Sovereign Loss on Thursday 8 October. Featuring live music and Prohibition-style cocktails. Free entry for LCW wristband holders.
Enjoy cocktail courses paired with British American tapas in the Green Room at the House of Vans underneath Waterloo station. Thursday 8 October. £38.50.
Bringing the event to a close with a knees-up and oysters at the East London Liquor Company near Victoria Park. Sunday 11 October until midnight.
And here’s some reviews of participating bars…
- London Cocktail Weeks runs from 5 to 11 October 2015. For more information, visit Drink Up London.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.
London is world-renowned for its nightlife and bars, so it’s no surprise that cocktail drinking is quite the popular pastime amongst Londoners. Happy hour… or not, like many others, I love to catch up with friends over a Mojito or two after a stressful day at work. For me personally, a cocktail is more glamorous than my usual tipple and the flavours just can’t be outdone by a regular spirit and mixer.
From 6 to 12 October, the country’s biggest drinks festival London Cocktail Week is returning to the capital for the fifth year in a row. Events and offers will be taking place at over 160 bars, with 176 bespoke events including tastings, master classes, pop-ups and parties. To have access to unlimited £4 cocktails and free sampling and cocktail demonstrations, as well as the Cocktail Tours, all you need is a £10 wristband.
The main hub during the festival will be the Ketel One Hub in Seven Dials, near Covent Garden, where you can pick up your wristband and meet the LCW team who can help you plan your drinking. There will also be experts giving out tips, tasters and masterclasses.
Just some of the bars taking part include South Place Bar & Grill, Bourne & Hollingsworth, Callooh Callay, Almeida Restaurant & Bar, Dirty Martini, London Cocktail Club, Altitude Champagne Bar, Floridita, Barts, Hix Oyster & Chop House, Bobo Social, The Lucky Pig, McQueen, Reverend J.W. Simpson, W Lounge and many more.
- London Cocktail Week runs from Monday 6 to Sunday 12 October 2014. To get your £10 wristband, visit one of the LCW hubs in Seven Dials, Spitalfields, Kings’ Road or London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the London Cocktail Week website.
Just some of the LCW events on around town…
- Baileys Martini Café, 39 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DD
Baileys Original Irish Cream are hosting a pop-up mobile bar atop a Baileys branded bike, stationed outside 39 Monmouth Street in Seven Dials, Covent Garden. Members of the public will be able to sip on complimentary tasters of the ‘Flat White Martinis’ from 4–8pm (8 – 10 October) and 12-8pm (11 October). For more information, visit the Baileys website.
- Mr Fogg’s, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD
The launch of Cointreau Noir (a unique blend of Cointreau and Rémy Martin cognac) on Thursday 9 October from 4-6pm.
Bottomless Tipsy Tea on Sunday 12 October from 2-6pm. Guests will have the chance to refill their alcoholic teapots as many times as they want within their two-hour booking. The ‘tea’ will be accompanied by sandwiches and cakes, as per your usual afternoon tea. LCW price is £60 instead of the usual £70. For more information, visit Mr Fogg’s website.
- The Cowbell pop-up, 9 Shorts Gardens, WC2H 9AT
The winning trio from Monkey’s Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge will be wowing drinkers during London Cocktail Week with their pop-up The Cowbell. Every night a different Glasgow DJ will be on the decks, while street food duo Deeneys will be offering their The Macbeth haggis toasties. As well as plenty of opportunities to drink amidst a Glasgow party vibe, there will also be talks and other entertainment on nightly. Open daily during LCW from 12pm-11pm. For more information, visit the LCW website.
- Underground Punch Pong League – Underground Mash Up, Art’s Theatre Stage, 6-7 Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JB
Usually this event involves bartenders pitted against each other in a beer pong tournament, but with London Cocktail Club’s Black Pearl Punch instead of beers. For LCW, editors and journalists from the trade press will battle it out instead on Monday 6 October from 5-7pm. Free. There will be drinks on offer with a LCW wristband downstairs at the Covent Garden Cocktail Club. For more information, visit the LCW website event page.
- Bulleit Bourbon 1950s Diner, London Cocktail Club, 224 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8EB
The Bulleit Bourbon Diner will take residency at London Cocktail Club on Shaftesbury Avenue during LCW bringing a taste of 1950s Americana. As well as a jukebox playing 1950s classics, roller-skating waitresses, there will also be a Bulleit cocktail menu to accompany classic diner dishes such as corn dogs, deep-fried pickles in Bulleit Rye batter and fries with Cajun salt dusting. Open Monday-Saturday during LCW. Opening times vary. For more information, visit the LCW LCC page.
- Maggie’s, Fulham Road, London, SW10 9QL
Eighties nightclub Maggie’s will be hosting a Malibu Beach Party in conjunction with the popular rum brand on Wednesday 8 October from 8pm-3am. Free entry before 10.30pm. Guests will be greeted with flower garlands, beach hats and sunglasses before taking part in beach games such as limbo and coconut shy. Pina Colada and Malibu Watering Cans will be the main drinks on the night. For more information, visit the Maggie’s website.
For Metro Girl’s review of London Cocktail Week 2012, click here.
Like many women (and some men who don’t always admit it for fear of sounding girlie!), I love a good cocktail. I’ve been a connoisseur of mixed drinks since my late teens and am always up for trying something new. Now, fellow cocktail lovers like myself, will know the average London price of cocktail has been climbing steeply over the years. These days, you’re probably looking at £8-£12 in an average West End bar for the likes of a Dirty Martini or a Woo Woo.
Known for having some of the best nightlife and bars in the world, it’s only apt that London should have a cocktail festival. The organisers of London Cocktail Week wisely chose October (8th-14th) to have it as a pick-me-up as we start realising that winter and dark nights are fast approaching. The week-long festival centres of Seven Dials in Covent Garden, but has venues all over the capital taking part.
Due to my working pattern, I only got to go to London Cocktail Week on the last day on the Sunday, which unfortunately for me, meant there weren’t as many bars open due to it being a Sunday. As we picked up our £10 wristbands – which entitled us to £4 cocktails in all participating bars – from the pop-up LCW office in Shorts Gardens, we were informed the festival had proved so popular that some bars had actually run out of ingredients and had to stop taking LCW customers! The wristbands also give people access to use the vintage routemaster buses, which were bringing revellers around some of the venues.
Aside from the obvious cocktail offers, there were also discounted meals, tastings and masterclasses dotted around bars, restaurants, hotels and pop-ups. Coco de Mer in Monmouth Street, Seven Dials had teamed up with Cointreau to offer customers cocktails as they perused luxury lingerie.
As I only had a few hours on my hand, we ended up at Barrio Central in Poland Street. The Latin bar and restaurant had conceived a new cocktail – an Island Negroni – an incredibly strong concoction of Blackwell’s rum, chocolate notes and sweet orange. It was tasty, but after one, I couldn’t resist a Mojito, quite possibly my favourite cocktail yet.
The festival gives people the opportunity to taste drinks and visit bars they perhaps wouldn’t normally do. So while I only got to experience a little of London Cocktail Week, I definitely plan to make more time for it next year and not on a Sunday!
- For other events going on in London this autumn, visit my blog guide to what’s on in town.