This year’s London Cocktail Week will take the form of a month-long celebration. Far from admitting defeat in the face of adversity the organisers have brought back the annual booze fest in a format so ambitious it stretches the definitional limits of the name ‘London Cocktail Week’.
More than 200 venues across the capital will take part, offering events and £6 signature serves to wristband holders. During this difficult time for the hospitality industry it’s basically the duty of cocktailists everywhere to turn out and do our part so with that in mind here are the most unmissable workshops, tastings, and pop-ups to enjoy this October.
Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green
In the centre of the Venn diagram where hip-hop, taxidermy animals, and classic cocktails intersect is Satan’s Whiskers. Every Tuesday from 5pm, this East London favourite will offer their signature Margaritas – made with Patron Tequila and poblano chilli liqueur – and tacos courtesy of veteran street-food mongers Dos Mas. Margs will be £6 but when you go to Satan’s it would be silly to leave without ordering a few classics and something blended that comes in a hurricane glass. Booking is essential.
Victory Mansion, Stoke Newington
For six nights in October London made gin brand Fords will be popping up to offer Martinis and oysters. Punchy, citrussy gin martinis and sweet, salty oysters is one of life’s great pairings and well worth celebrating. Perfect for autumn as native varieties are just coming into season. The first stop on the tour of some of London’s best bars is Victory Mansion on Stoke Newington High Street but from there it will head to Ever After, Sager & Wilde, Hide Bar, Homeboy, and Opium. Would it be a bit much to go to all six? No, that would be heroic.
Oriole Bar, Farringdon
The normal way to simulate the conditions on the island of Islay involves drinking whisky in front of a powerful fan while a friend throws buckets of water at you. But at bar Oriole you can get even closer to the real thing with a virtual reality tour of Laphroaig distillery. £10 gets you a whisky on arrival, a Laphroaig cocktail, and a chance to see where one of Scotland’s most distinctive malts is made. It’s a divisive dram – evocative of iodine, ash, and occasionally tropical fruit – but beloved for its power and character. The bar itself – the younger sibling of the scene defining Nightjar – is a fantastic place to spend an evening.
Selfridges, Marylebone; Disrepute, Soho
Venerable Champagne house Moët & Chandon will be popping up on the ground floor of Selfridges. The temporary bar and concept store will serve sparkling cocktails developed with some of the capital’s best bartenders amidst an exhibition of iconic London photography. Do some shopping, drink the Champagne. What could be better? At 17:43 participating bars around the city will also offer complimentary cocktails to celebrate the year of Moët & Chandon’s founding. Among those involved are Coupette in Bethnal Green and Disrepute in Soho. Has to be worth a look.
A dinner with vodka is definitely more positive than one with without. Simple maths. For four nights in October this shiny Kensington spot will offer a three-course dinner with cocktail pairings. Expect seasonally focused dishes and cocktails with fresh ingredients like greengage and pineapple weed. The polish rye vodka brand remains the best of those ‘super-premium’ vodkas that sprung into existence in the late ‘90s and is well worth reacquainting yourself with if it’s been a while. Sure to book up quickly.
Tayēr + Elementary, Old Street
Yes, another Martini pick – but these aren’t Martinis as we know them. Tayēr + Elementary was one of the best bars to arrive on the London bar scene last year and is home to that pork sando with jam and XO sauce that everyone rightly goes on about. Every week in October the bar will serve a different Martini in collaboration with Hepple Spirits. Each one will be inspired by different varieties of tree, which is exactly the sort of thing founders Monica Berg and Alex Kratena would think of. Week one is sandalwood, then juniper, douglas fir, and finally rosewood. Not to worry if you can’t make it down to Old Street in person to find out if you like rosewood Martinis, they’ll be shipping out giftboxes of all four serves to drink at home. Available from their online store all month or until they run out.