London Cocktail Week roundup: top picks

Cocktails, Events

London Cocktail Week, run by DrinkUp.London, takes place from 5 – 11 October 2015.

Here are my top picks for the things you mustn’t miss.

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The Tanqueray Art Deco Bar

If this is anything like last year’s pop-up, it’ll be a cracking place to sit back, enjoy a brilliant G&T or fancy LCW cocktail, and soak up the atmosphere. This year, it’s situated in the World Class London Cocktail Week Hub in the heart of Soho.

Gin Mare and Oysters

Gin Mare team up with the Wright Brothers of Spitalfields for an evening masterclass of gin and oyster pairings. True decadence, and you’re right next to the Spitalfields LCW hub, so check out the goings on there afterwards. Tickets include 4 cocktails and 6 oysters.

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East Meets West

Expert Bartender Jackie Lo, from Shanghai, explores an oriental take on Dodd’s Gin, which is lovingly crafted in Battersea. Ticket price includes cocktails, distillery open house, and a copy of Ian Buxton’s book 101 Gins to Try Before You Die. Tickets available here.

Literature & Liquor

Head to Mussel Men on Kingsland Road on Saturday for the second Oyster & Gin thing we’re loving this week. Be entertained with the literature of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Ian Fleming, Dickens and more, coupled with 4 Edinburgh Gin cocktails, and an Edinburgh Gin Oyster Garden. Fancy.

New London Craft Gins

A session with author of 101 Gins To Try Before You Buy, Ian Buxton, and the lovely team from Merchant House. Ticket includes a cocktail and a copy of Ian’s book. The only way to spend your Tuesday lunchtime.

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Gin Mare at Juniper Club

Events, Tasting notes

Last Monday I popped along to Juniper Club at the super cool Graphic Bar in Soho. For those who don’t know, Juniper Club (formerly the Juniper Society) is held fortnightly at the specialist gin-meets-art bar, with a different brand showcasing its wares each time.

Last week was the turn of Spanish brand Gin Mare (42.7% ABV). Starting with its signature serve (1724 Tonic (named after the height at which the quinine is picked on the Inca trail – but that’s another story all together), orange peel and rosemary), brand expert Sarah Moorhead took us through the history of Gin Mare, which took over three years to develop. Made with eight botanicals from across the Mediterranean – Spanish juniper, Arbequina olive, three different types of citrus, basil, rosemary, thyme, coriander and cardomom – each of which is individually macerated (rather than being stilled together), it’s a truly unique spirit.

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The citrus is heavier on the nose than the palette, which is why the orange peel in the signature serve works so well and helps to lift the almost oily texture. Rosemary is the stand-out flavour for me, although in a Martini, the olive comes into its own.

In a nutshell, this is a quality, smooth and versatile spirit which tastes fab with savoury flavours and really packs a punch. Make mine a double.

Gin tasting at The Allium, Bath

Tasting notes

Whenever I visit Bath, it’s become customary to stop at the Abbey Hotel’s Allium Brasserie and Art Bar for a G&T.

With a ‘gin of the month’, all the gins you’d expect from a hotel bar, plus several others to boot, there’s always something new to try. Add to that a range of tonics, gin-based cocktails and mixers, and you’ve got yourself a very happy afternoon.

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On this occasion, we elected to try five. With a bit of advice from resident gin expert and Bar Manager, Bella, we ended up with Langley’s No. 8 (41.7% ABV) with Fentimans tonic (which my mum’s husband has proclaimed his new favourite gin), Gin Mare (42.7% ABV) with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic (which is my mum’s new favourite), Origin – Klanac (47% ABV) with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic (which is a Croatian gin, and my boyfriend’s new favourite), a No. 3 (46% ABV) and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic, and a 6 O’Clock (43% ABV) and 6 O’Clock tonic to match.

While I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite, this only goes to show just how varied the gin world is. From a classic gentleman’s gin like Langley’s, to an oh-so-quaffable 6 O’Clock, to the Mediterranean and aromatic Gin Mare, there’s got to be something for everyone.

As for me? I’ll be hunting down some more of the Klanac, with its sweet, soft, fruity notes and grapefruit and basil kick. Delicious.