Over the last 12 months there’s been a substantial surge in collaborations and cross-country camaraderie in the drinks industry. On the beer side, we’ve seen events such as Beavertown’s magnificent, ambitious Rainbow Project alongside smaller scale tastings and takeovers at the likes of The Bottle Shop and Mother Kelly’s which have been greatly received. Meanwhile, the bar industry has been having a big love-in of late, and huge credit should go to Rebekkah Dooley and the London Sessions team for bringing brilliant bartenders together from all over the world.
Many of The London Sessions events are aimed at those working within the industry, but there’s plenty for the general public to get involved with too. Sign up to the mailing list here to stay in the know. I’ve been dropping in to Peg + Patriot in Bethnal Green for their Woodford Reserve sessions, most recently for a bar takeover by the team from Le Mary Celeste in Paris.
Peg + Patriot has been a regular haunt for me since it opened, with eclectic cocktail lists backed up by magnificent service in a relaxed space, so I’m always happy to have excuses to return. Incidentally, they’ve just launched a referendum-inspired menu, a Peg + Patriot Poll Card, that showcases drinks from their various bartenders after voting on their favourites. At present, I’m torn between Redneck Caviar (Alan Sherwood), Fisherman’s Daughter (Constanca Cordeiro), Lack of Faith (Natal Płaszczyca), and Naked Sazerac (Matt Whiley), but I’ll have to do a bit more research before I consider myself fully informed.
Le Mary Celeste’s Woodford Reserve menu for the night was introduced as a “guest filibuster” in keeping with the voting theme. Tête barman Hyacinthe Lescoët and assistant manager Diane Vanderbroucke campaigned well and won us over with Monsieur Boileau Au Café (Woodford Reserve, Saumur Champigny Wine, Lemon, Creme de Cacao, Ramazotti) and Raindog (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Lemon, Amaro, Capillaire, Mint).
By chance, I was in Paris with friends the week before the London Sessions event, and we paid a visit to Le Mary Celeste. It’s a beautiful, well-lit bar not far from Le Marais. Their excellent cocktail list is backed up by a great wine selection and an enticing food menu (with an oyster bar front and centre). For a perfect evening in the area, start at Miznon in Le Marais for Tel Aviv-inspired food and a lively atmosphere before moving on to Le Mary Celeste for some sipping and shucking, Candelaria for guacamole and mezcal, and Little Red Door for clever cocktails from their “evocative menu” (at the time of writing).