Your London Cocktail Week Survival Guide
London Cocktail Week is the world’s biggest cocktail festival, and it’s back in London this week celebrating the great and good of the cocktail scene. It’s offering an unrivalled collection of the best London bars, bartenders and fabulous cocktail culture, and you can grab yourself a piece of the action by downloading the DrinkUp.London app and claiming your £10 digital festival pass instead of the usual wristband (designed to beat the queues of last year).
The app gives you a city-wide guide to the festival and — most importantly — allows you to find your nearest participating bar and get your hands on all those signature £6 cocktails. You should also head straight to The Cocktail Village which has taken over Spitalfields market: it’s an immersive maze of bespoke pop-up bars from the biggest names in drinks and where most of the action will be happening. It’s £5 entry from 2–8 October and we’ve pulled out some of the most exciting things happening there – and elsewhere around town – for the occasion. Enjoy.
Tanqueray No. TEN aqua shard Terrace
No need to head to the tourist-heavy Shard, for LCW means the glamour of the Shard comes to Spitalfields with its pretty Tanqueray terrace. Showcasing a blend of drinks created by aqua shard’s bar manager Luca Missagalia, we think the signature Tanqueray No. TEN Grapefruit G & Tea of Earl Grey, grapefruit juice and vanilla sounds scrummy, and aqua’s very own bar team will be there mixing them up for you as you talk all things Tanqueray with their brand ambassador.
The terrace is decorated with a beautiful hanging display of the fresh fruit used in Tanqueray No. TEN’s distillation process and it’s all set against a backdrop of a mocked-up late-night London skyline evoking the view from aqua shard – it’s almost as if you’re there…
The Cocktail Village at Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
Try a Café Courvoisier
Come over all Parisian by getting to grips with some crowd-pleasing coffee and Courvoisier cocktails doing the rounds specially for LCW. A spin on the espresso martini, the combination makes a lot of sense, adding the sweetness of cognac to coffee’s characteristic bitterness to make an altogether more grown-up version of everyone’s favourite pick-me-up. Rebecca Asseline, Global Brand Ambassador for Courvoisier, says: ‘The Cafe Courvoisier is a sumptuous tasting experience unlike any other. By bringing the worlds of coffee and our renowned Cognac together, we are creating something for all occasions whilst also raising a glass to the Parisian tradition of Pousse-café’ (those famous layered cocktails). Catch it at The Alchemist, The Bloomsbury, Hush, Kosmopol and Kouzo but you’ll find us downing them amongst the palms at The Lanesborough.
The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, SW1X 7TA; and other locations
The Sipping Room
Enjoy a whole host of limited edition creative concoctions and complimentary mixology masterclasses at The Sipping Room over in E14. Bringing LCW to West India Quay for busy Wharf workers, Drake & Morgan’s The Sipping Room are joining forces with Diageo and Snow Queen Vodka to host a series of complimentary mixology pop ups from 6–8pm across October – the perfect way to wind down after work. Learn how to mix and muddle, with plenty of tasting along the way: Bulleit Bourbon on the 4th and Snow Queen on the 6th (plus more classes throughout Oct).
Of course, as a digital pass holder you can also take advantage of the £6 cocktails on offer across most of their venues (The Sipping Room, The Drift, The Anthologist, The Folly, The Otherist, The Parlour and The Refinery Bankside), the most imaginative of which has to be the Stick a Pork In Me, I’m Done cocktail of Bulleit bourbon, homemade bacon and salted caramel syrup and fresh espresso coffee.
The Sipping Room, 16 Hertsmere Road, E14 4AX
Tia Maria + Coffee Project
We’ll never tire of coffee cocktails, and fellow boozy coffee lovers will be happy to hear that the Tia Maria + Coffee Project is back at London Cocktail Week again. Throughout the whole week you’ll find the Tia Maria + Coffee Project Bar within the ever-buzzing Cocktail Village serving up its tremendous coffee cocktail menu of cheeky serves – such as the Iced Popcorn Frappe and Mint Americano. Yummy.
The Cocktail Village at Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
Schweppes Alchemy Bar
Schweppes have come over all scientific with their pop-up Alchemy bar in Covent Garden, where guests are invited to explore the curious world of alchemist Jacob Schweppe. Try taste pairings from the past and bubbly cocktail combinations from some of London’s best mixologists – including Tony Conigliaro – at this funny little bar within a bar. Guests looking to delve deeper into the science of cocktail making should book the special Laboratory Experience, where you’ll be handed the keys to a hidden bar to take part in a cocktail-making session spanning the periodic table and learn how to bottle bubbles. We hear there are some edible G&T-flavoured bubbles too, which sounds intriguing.
The Schweppes Alchemy Bar is open from 2nd–12th October. Book here.
Schweppes Alchemy Bar, 21 Slingsby Place, WC2E 9AB
To honour Jagermeister’s German roots and bring some Berlin vibes to the week’s proceedings, the brand has teamed up with artist and chef Dale Evans to create a long, lazy, Jager-inspired brunch. Held on Saturday 7th October at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, you’ll be served a modern German feast alongside a range of surprising Jagermeister serves, perfectly matched to each dish. If you’re a fan of the famous digestif but can’t make the 7th, never fear: over in the Cocktail Village there’s a full Jagermeister-Platz, where the bar team’s new liquid creations will make you rethink anything you ever thought you knew about Jager. We like the sound of the Root56 Reloaded – Jagermeister, ginger syrup, orange and lemongrass bitters topped with soda and garnished with mint, lime, lemongrass and cucumber by Florian Beuren.
Brunch tickets can be purchased here for £15 a head.
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 2–4 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU
Our favourite Hackney cocktail bar Every Cloud is getting in on the LCW bandwagon with a beautiful Nectarine White Lady using Beefeater gin for the discounted £6 price. Their barman Felix Cohen is so good he competed in the London Cocktail Week competition to find London’s signature cocktail; Every Cloud’s entry was the Lady Marmalade of marsala wine mixed with sharp marmalade, lemon juice and sugar syrup for a refreshing aperitif. Pick these – and more – up at their lovely little E9 space and try, just try, not to stay and try the whole menu of classics with an up-to-date, botanical twist.
Every Cloud, 11A Morning Lane, E9 6ND
Get tatted up with Sailor Jerry’s
Sailor Jerry is calling on all Londoners to channel their inner sailor with free tattoos – yes, real ones – during LCW. They’ve partnered with cool east London tattoo parlour Cloak and Dagger and as such, Sailor Jerry is offering all festival-goers who hold the digital pass a free tattoo inspired by the father of American old-school tattooing, Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins. Head over on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th October early doors to claim yours (first come, first served – participants must obviously be over 18). It goes without saying that drinking before inking is discouraged, so choose from a range of Collins’ unique flash-art style designs and then visit Sailor Jerry’s Americana Nights Bar in the nearby Cocktail Village for a post-tattoo cocktail of Spicy Ginger Ice Tea Punch, Ginger Daiquiri or Spiced Sailor’s Cider from the vintage airstream bar.
Cloak and Dagger Tattoo Parlour, 34 Cheshire Street, E2 6EH
Grand Marnier are having something of a revamp since Campari acquired the brand, and their presence at LCW says as much. Shake off all memories of it gathering dust at the back of your parents’ drinks cabinet, because Grand Marnier is back in town with its refined orange eccentricity. Visit their bar in the Cocktail Village, where much grandiose awaits – it’s guarded by oversized white lions, just to set the scene. Mixologists will help tutor you in how best to enjoy the iconic French spirit, but we’re here for The Grand Sidecar: Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Cogna and lemon juice shaken with ice and strained for a perfect marriage of bitter orange and intense cognac well suited to the golden era of cocktails.
The Cocktail Village at Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
Sager + Wilde x The Botanist
Sager + Wilde are usually best known for their immense pasta and terrific wine list, but this week it’s all about gin instead, as they’ve teamed up with The Botanist Islay Dry Gin for a spot of foraged feasting from 3rd–6th October. Head to their East London restaurant for an immersive drinking and dining experience inspired by Islay, where four plates of wild, seasonal ingredients like venison ragu, cocoa tagliatelle and pine oil will be paired with specially curated and foraged The Botanist cocktails. For anyone unable to make the dinners, try the pop-up bar in the outdoor courtyard, where brand ambassador Abi Clephane will be hosting informal masterclasses throughout the week. Digital pass holders will also be able to purchase The Botanist Crab Apple Gimlet for £6, which sounds just divine.
Tickets are priced at £45 each and can be purchased here.
Sager + Wilde, 193 Hackney Road, E2 8JL
Our/London x Blixen
Our favourite East London vodka distillers Our/London are popping up at lovely Blixen in the main market space to celebrate the launch of their Our/Infusions in time for LCW. Find out how to make your own infused vodka like London’s top bartenders and really take your cocktail game to the next level. They promise an amazing seasonal spread of botanicals, from which you can pick and choose to create your perfectly bespoke infusion, and Our/Vodka brand ambassador Fliss Gransden will be there to hold your hand. On the 4th, guest bartenders from Four Seasons Mumbai will be sharing special Indian ingredients and on the 6th guest bartenders from Mash Copenhagen will bring some Danish flora and fauna over for some Scandi-cool.
Blixen, 65A Brushfield Street, E1 6AA
Tequila & Mezcal Fest
Finish the week strong at the Old Truman Brewery, where a full-on Tequila and Mezcal Fest is happening on Saturday and Sunday. Digital pass holders can all claim a free Patron Autumn Margarita (Saturday) and a free Don Julio Paloma or Tommy’s Margarita (Sunday), which is enough to tempt us there, frankly. But there’s more: once there you can sample over 50 of Mexico’s best agave spirits, sip on classic Mexican cocktails from Barrio, attend spirit seminars, and you really must try the Tequila Quarter Masterclass by Jose Cuervo. Also in attendance are some of London’s finest taco restaurants, so head over for a rather sizzling selection from Temper (who are doing their goat tacos), Café Pacifico (street tacos with pork, chorizo and beef) and Barrio’s delicious Mexico City al pastor tacos. Ok, fine.
Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QR