What do Bobby Burns, Tom Collins and Rob Roy all have in common? No, they’re not regulars at your local boozer, but classic mixed cocktails; drinks made famous for their meticulous preparation by proud bartenders. Since these tempting tipples were stirred, swizzled and shaken for the first time, the world’s penchant for mixing cocktails has bloomed, diversified and matured like a fine single malt. And there’s nowhere better to sip on a cocktail or three than in London, a city with one of the best cocktail cultures in the world.
8 – 14 October sees the artform of “mixology” celebrated once again for London Cocktail Week, the annual clambake of cocktail-crazy bartenders and their concoctions based in Seven Dials, Covent Garden.
It’s a Sea Breeze to register for the week’s booze-fuelled festivities – the £10 wristbands guarantee you a week of tours and £4 cocktails across the city. London’s finest barkeeps have been hard at work conjuring up bespoke cocktails in time for the celebration, and there are a host of £4 drink spots throughout the capital for you to find your favourite liquid fix. Best yet, if you work in the bar trade, registration won’t cost you a penny.
On top of the week-long specials in London’s watering holes, event organisers have mustered the world’s bartending elite for a staggering roster of cocktail-themed events, demonstrations and tastings. Being particularly proud of England and its rich history of gin-making, we’ll be sure to check out Tanqueray Todd’s Barber Shop for a bonanza of botanicals, stiff gin drinks and, if we dare, a close shave under Todd’s razor. For those with a sweeter tooth (and a taste for fine Jamaican rum), pop down to Smatt’s Rum & Ice Cream Shack to sip and lick your way through a decadent selection of rum-infused flavoured ice creams.
Thirsty? We’re due a drink, and couldn’t think of a more apt tonic than the gin classic, the Tom Collins. Get shaking with these simple steps:
2 shot Old Tom gin
1 shot Freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ shot Monin Pure Cane sugar syrup
Top up with: Soda
Garnish: Orange slice & cherry on stick
Method: Fill a glass with lots of ice. Pour in the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup, then shake vigourously for about 30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled glass, top with soda, lightly stir and serve with straw.