3-9 OCTOBER 2016 It’s that time of year again! Time to get moving, shaking and stirring with copious amounts of alcoholic concoctions in your hands in the vibrant British capital, because London Cocktail Week is finally here.
Held every fall for the last 7 years, this annual cocktail-goers event had become nothing short of a London institution, and we couldn’t be happier to see its return again this year. LCW is a whole week-long festival dedicated to cocktails, held across the city with more pop-up bars and special promotions than you can imagine.
And this year, there are two main hubs for the festivities: the Central London Glasshouse Street centre near Piccadilly Circus and the off-the-tourist-track Cocktail Village in Old Spitalfield Markets. Here you’ll find over 40 pop-up bars, trucks and even bicycles from the biggest names in the drinks industry, creating the most fascinating settings for your drinking adventures. And if you shell out the £10 for an official wristband, you can get special cocktails for just £5 from many of the pop-up bars as well as 200 participating bars all over London and access to exclusive parties and other pop-ups, too. Sounds pretty special, right? So here are my top picks:
#1 First up, the Bombay Sapphire vintage pop-up train bar is top of the list. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s London’s first train-carriage pop-up bar and it’s coming to Old Spitalfields Market this LCW. Step aboard and have your tickets ready to be checked by Cahoots’ most innovative of bars before beginning your gin journey to Laverstoke, the home of Bombay Sapphire’s secret distillery. This pop-up bar takes the art of gin and tonic to a new level, with a menu inspired by the adventures of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. ‘The captain solves a mystery’, made with Bombay Sapphire, Smer picon, Kamm & Sons and Martini Fiero and ‘the captain meets a tropical stranger’, made with a healthy dash of limoncello, pineapple and pomegranate juice, 2 of my favourite options. Guests will even be issued with a night watchman ticket on the train, allowing you to take the night tube to Cahoots in Soho for a complimentary cocktail after 11pm any night of the week.
#2 Then, there’s the Patrón Cocktail Lab Takeover from Patrón Tequila in the Cocktail Village for you to sink your teeth into. The answer to what do you get if you put seven award-winning international bar tenders, a healthy budget and lashings of tequila together for 7 consecutive days (and the answer is pure magic, of course). The aim is to channel pure serenity and the essence of nature, with herb-based cocktails, as well as the regular staples. Try Jose Luis Leon’s ‘Chipotle Punch’ – he’s one of the most famous bartenders in Mexico, and for good reason (just be prepared for a fiery kick!) and feel like you’re travelling the world without getting on a plane with this international bartending cast and menu.
#3 And speaking of planes, we also love the ‘Departure Lounge’ pop-up by Angostura and Luxardo. This aeroplane-themed bar is your ticket to the famous concoctions of the London Cocktail Club this LCW. Slushie cocktails, aviation passports and even a photo booth to get your passport pictures ready in this other-worldly cocktail experience. We’re big fans of the London Cocktail Club enterprise, so we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this Cocktail Week.
#4 And if you’re still looking for another tipple after all this, take one for the road with Spartans Cocktail Taxi. This one is more of an investment for the future than a top-tip just for this week, though. London’s first cocktail delivery service, it doesn’t get any better than this. This big green VW Camper Van cruises around London delivering the best cocktails (and bartenders) that the open road has to offer, made right in front of you – and they even deliver across the city 24 hours a day. So try them now, remember them for later. We’re definitely calling up this service for a 3am cocktail delivery when the city bars close on a Friday night in future… London Cocktail week doesn’t end on the 9th of October in our hearts and in our minds, after all…
Click HERE for the full list of pop-ups
Where: Old Spitalfields Market, London, E1 6EW
When: October 3rd till 9th – Mon 5pm-9.30pm, Tues-Sat Midday-9.30pm, Sun Midday-7pm