Well that was a struggle. I’m definitely getting old. This was my quietest London Cocktail Week yet, mostly due to other commitments (Vulfpeck at Brixton Academy is a solid excuse). Nevertheless, I still managed to squeeze in some boozy events and bump into a few familiar faces in the cocktail village. On the Monday, I ventured over to Scout’s new home in Hackney Central to take some photos with Luke Whearty (Operation Dagger) who was over for a few days promoting his new bar Byrdi (opening in Melbourne next year). He made some beautiful drinks and snacks for me to shoot as you can see below. How good does that Seedlip-based Ricotta Ramos look?
On Tuesday, I sped over to the Napoleon Hotel after work for a cheeky cocktail at Black Rock for their Patron x Three Amigos takeover. Shingo Gokan & co from Speak Low were in the basement making delicious drinks like the zingy Passion Dance featuring Patron Silver, passion fruit, yuzu shrub and shiso, and the refreshing Batanga Sin Cola.
A short walk took me to a beautiful space in Shoreditch that had been taken over by Starward Whisky and Australian-chef Andrew Wandless for the week. For £65, guests were treated to a five course feast paired with cocktails inspired by Melbourne’s five boroughs. Starward’s drinks curator and ambassador Alex Hart was on hand to present and explain the drinks, and founder David Vitale also made it over to chat about Starward’s journey and vision. It was all fantastic, but I was particularly fond of the harissa-coated cauliflower with pickled nectarine, and a gorgeous bowl of mushroom gnocchi. On drinks front, the “Golden Hive” featuring Starward Solera, smoked honey, yuzu, umeshu, peach bitters and lemon was probably the winner. If you would like to see more photos from the event, click here. Give Starward Solera or Wine Cask a try if you get the chance!
Wednesday finally saw The Cocktail Village open in its new location on Brick Lane. Spread over three spaces in the Old Truman Brewery, 40+ cocktail experiences and street food trucks had more room to breathe than in previous years at Old Spitalfields Market. Highlights included the Fever-Tree x Black Rock whisky ginger bar (+ ice carving workshop); sipping rye in the Kyro Distillery sauna followed by a game of molkky; a very enthusiastic Bulleit Bourbon tasting in the back of a truck; another stylish House of Peroni installation; St.Germain drinks appearing from foliage; and Monkey 47′s interactive jungle. A shout out also to Popdogs for much needed sustenance in the form of cheesy chips and sexy sausages.
And that was pretty much it! Congratulations to the Drink Up London crew for another successful year – it is such a well-oiled machine and they deserve huge credit for putting it all together and creating such a buzz for seven days in this mad city.