Friday, 26 September 2014

Event Review: Cocktails in the City London

Back at the end of July I had a sneak peek of the Cocktails in the City event in London and I was blown away by the standard of the bars represented and the diversity of the cocktails on show. Last week, I attended the main event in the Grand Hall in St Pancras, just opposite the grand Renaissance Hotel in London, and was equally impressed.

Stepping into the Grand Hall felt like the beginning of a good night out - dim mood lighting, open space and music loud enough to provide atmosphere but without drowning out conversations. With DJ's pumping tunes from start to finish, Bubble Dogs providing delicious food, Smith and Sinclair sampling cocktail jellies and Harvey Nic's with nail, hair and beauty technicians on hand to provide SOS makeovers, it wasn't just about the tipples.

The tickets for entry were just £12.00*, which included a recipe and information booklet, plus one complimentary cocktail - a steal considering you have to pay to get into some London venues before you even reach the bar. All other cocktails on the night were an affordable £7.00 each and with the best of the best bartenders from top London bars under one roof, why traipse across London on buses and tubes when you can stay in one place?

Powder Keg Diplomacy working their magic.

Having spied a few new cocktails added to the recipe book since the preview event, the already substantial offering was even more appealing and it wasn't simply a case of duplicating what I'd already tasted. In addition, there were four cocktail workshops (at no extra charge) giving insider tips on making cocktails at home, identifying different styles of cocktails, cocktails of the USA and the best of British cocktails.

The perfect aperitif? Powder Keg Diplomacy does it again.

To begin the evening we visited the team from Powder Keg Diplomacy after enjoying their tipple so much at the press event.... one old favourite didn't hurt! Let's call it an aperitif that gave us time to read the cocktail recipe book - crucial for planning your evening to ensure maximum cocktail pleasure.

Then it was over to meet the team from Rivington Grill - in Shoreditch and Greenwich - for their Allez Islay; a cocktail of The Botanist Gin (from the island of Islay), celery bitters and a spray of Bruichladdich (single malt, also from Islay) stirred with ice and served with a spritz of lemon. Clean and simple yet with a complexity from these quality ingredients - a powerful start to the evening.

After our aperitif, we headed up to the balcony for the 'Cocktails at Home' masterclass - half an hour of tips to make use of what you've got at home to create high-standard cocktails. Don't have a cocktail shaker? Use empty baked bean cans. Don't have a strainer? Use a sieve or simply use a chopstick to hold back the ice when pouring. Fancy spritzing some lemon to finish your cocktail? Why not use a simple spray gun rather than a fancy diffuser.

The aim of the session was to encourage us cocktail amateurs to think outside the box when experimenting at home. Keen volunteers made martinis, mojitos and french martinis in front of a crowd, which showed just how easily it can be done. I've got my baked bean cans and chopsticks lined up ready!

The Teddy Hook Punch from the team at Punch Room.

Amongst the many cocktails I was able to 'sample', I fell head over heels for The Teddy Hook Punch from the Punch Room team at the Edition Hotel. Drinks at Punch Room (nestled at the back of the hotel,  and in the style o a manor-house library) are by reservation only so as someone who rarely makes reservations anywhere, it was a treat to get a glimpse of their style. A luxurious punch made from Martini Gran Lusso, grappa, lemon juice, hibiscus tea and basil water, this was so much more than the tropical fruit punch of family get togethers. I may just have to make a reservation after all.  

The Teddy Hook Punch from Punch Room.

So that's it, the party is over for another year, and in just their second year in London, the Cocktails in the City team have put on a spectacular show. If you're north of the border, you're in luck, Cocktails in the City is yet to visit and on October 23rd, the party continues in Edinburgh. For more details about the event, and how to buy tickets, visit the Cocktails in the City website.

*Please note I did not pay to attend this event so big shout out to Katie at Cutlass Comms for the invitation.

1 comment:

  1. Las Vegas restaurants are amazing. From the first step in, I felt nothing but positive vibes. We were here for a charity event on St. Patricks Day and it was absolutely amazing.