November: FONO with Monkey Shoulder

Canon you say? With popcorn? Well that could only be epic right? Especially if you throw in a few cocktails, and especially if one of said cocktails was designed by the crazy talented Tom Walker of the American Bar at The Savoy! Following on from our epic evening with Monkey Shoulder whisky last year, the night themed around Tom’s cocktail: the popcorn flip returned. One metric tonne of popcorn. One new home in Shoreditch. The lovely glass-half-full-not-empty @fullpint reports on our evening: If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you’ll be blissfully unaware that the lovely people from Monkey Shoulder have been running a series of themed pop up nights, ‘For One Night Only’, in and around central London. Last year saw a barrage of events, with something like ten in the space of around fourteen weeks. You’ll forgive your humble reviewer for being hazy on the exact figures, as many cocktails have been consumed since and the brain cells responsible for storing that data have well and truly gone to the big cocktail bar in the sky. This year the events are less frequent, but bigger and most definitely better. The one I was lucky enough to attend with the LCS was their ‘Pop Corn Flip’ event. This one, like many of the others, was in some railway arch or other in trendy Hoxton. The evening began with the usual clipboard/name check routine, and once past that we were presented with three poker chips and a protective boiler suit. Having been to the event the year before, I took this in my stride, popped off my boots (a trick learnt from last year) and donned the suit in double quick time. My +1 however, was now terrified…. “You said we were going to a cocktail night, not some Breaking Bad convention!”. Once suited (and re-booted) we were allowed to enter the main room. The first thing to hit you is the popcorn. And I mean literally. In the face. That will be the popcorn cannon then, being operated by some glee faced little monkeys. Their aim was good, and all guests were welcomed with a similar blast of popped corn. After recovering from the shock, you notice that you are in a large set of railway arches with around 150 other boiler suit toting cocktail lovers. There was something slightly unnerving about...
read more

November: Reyka Remix

November took us to a warehouse in Hoxton for the UK launch of Reyka vodka. Hailing from Iceland and named after the Icelandic word for steam (inspired by their awesome hot springs), Reyka partied the only way they knew how and transformed the space into the land of ice. Northern lights, immense vodka cocktails and…did someone say something about a polar bear? Member Matt Bone put pen to paper to bring you the following report: Honesty is a virtue”, or so, at least, my grandmother told me. Therefore I have to start this little tale with a confession, Reyka Vodka and I have met before. It was a cold, wet and terribly windy night in Reykjavik (the only kind I’ve ever known) in a wonderful bar called Kaffibarinn, where the resident Frenchman behind the stick said that I just had to try it. So I did, followed by a Reyka Martini, followed by collecting a bottle at duty free. So heading along to the Reyka Remix event with the London Cocktail Society was like meeting up with an old friend, only in warmer weather. Despite the best efforts of London Underground and my inane lack of direction, I arrived at Arch 402 in Hoxton (sans my plus 1, who was still dying from our night out the evening before) to be greeted with confirmation of my LCS status on the list and a handful of pebbles. Walking into the venue, the woolly jumpers on the wall, corrugated iron huts and a blast of “The Glacier” (a dry ice machine turned up to 11), it felt right. But enough about ambiance, which is all very good for setting the mood, it was time to spend some pebbles. Heading down the wall of jumpers lead to a wonder block of ice, bottles of Reyka and a very nice man filling glasses with both. I skipped the Icelandic Bitters (which I’ve had before and are very interesting, you should try them!) and went for a straight up vodka on the rocks to reacquaint myself with Reyka. Much like the land it’s from, Reyka is unusual. While most vodka has a bite to the aftertaste, Reyka has a burn similar to a whisky, leaving a rather fresh and almost menthol-y feeling. It is different and that is a good thing because the country it is from is as mad as a box of...
read more

October: Menu Launch at Megaro Bar

When the folk at newly opened Megaro invited us down to try their brand new cocktail menu I jumped at the chance. Held on a suitably rainy Tuesday night, it was a pleasure to hide away in a beautiful basement bar, with loads of lovely members and some damn fine cocktails. One of our members @Charlotte_Fi shares her experiences of the bar, the cocktails, and the evening. After a long summer of gin and tonics in the garden and one too many Pimms beside the BBQ, the invite to sample the newly expanded menu at Kings Cross cocktail bar, Megaro, announced the beginning of autumn not a moment too soon. Open since July, Megaro had decided it was time to revisit the cocktail menu and launch a bigger, better beast. After months of deliberations and mixing, the new menu was ready and waiting for tasting. Luckily for us, the best people (or should that be guinea pigs?) to call in were the London Cocktail Society for the first night’s service. As the bar has been set up, and is being run by some familiar faces from behind the bar at the Zetter Townhouse, the menu had quite a lot to live up to and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Located beneath Karpo, the basement bar feels intimate without being diminutive, and the various booths and old cinema seats allow private liaisons throughout the room without anyone feeling like they’re sitting on someone’s lap…unless they wanted to… We started at a table by the bar with a Perry Mason and the Perjured Parrot made from Four Roses Small Batch gin and a Borsh Mary 1.2 with Mamont vodka. Perhaps a strong choice to kick off a Tuesday evening, but selected canapés were on hand to provide some welcomed sustenance, with full info on provenance and ingredients on request. The first of the canapés was inhaled with little questioning I’m afraid, but the following salmon cream cheese cigars and venison sausage rolls were exactly what was needed to accompany the cocktails; perfectly formed and absolutely delicious. Having finished the first round, we opted for the signatures Hokkaido Collins with Nikka Pure Malt Black, and the Fig French 75 with fig infuse Martell VSOP and Perrier Jouet. Both were spot on, although the Collins definitely won the popularity contest, and the accompanying scallop ceviche with orange and pea purée was worth a return...
read more

October: Cocktail Hour with Talented Mr Fox

The lovely @ginandjess reports on our fantastic evening with the guys from Talented Mr Fox. What better way to spend an evening during London Cocktail Week! After a little summer hiatus, the welcome return of London Cocktail Society landed, fittingly kick-starting London Cocktail Week with a sneak peek preview of Talented Mr Fox’s residency at One Leicester Street, the not-long-opened boutique hotel, bar and restaurant with Michelin starred Chef Tom Harris at the helm. Talented Mr Fox is the latest outing by cocktail pioneer Matt Whiley, formerly of Fluid Movement, the group behind Worship by Whistling Stop and Purl. Lucky members whose names had been drawn out of the coveted LCS hat were promised a taste of a got-to-try-that menu weaving elements like radish tonic and pistachio gin distillate into the drinks list. If Purl and Worship were anything to go by, this would be a London Cocktail Week highlight. Behind an almost unnamed hotel entrance hidden in the steam of China Town’s dumpling houses and throng of tourists, the darkened bar is nestled upstairs, a cosy hideout brought alive by Matt’s team behind the bar adorned with distillation devices and handmade bitters, liqueurs and distillates. Their intriguing drinks list was devised to complement Tom Harris’ menu at the hotel restaurant, which focuses on ingredients which have been cured, smoked and pickled in house…and offal. No challenge too big, it seems, as Matt has even distilled pig’s blood to add to his cocktail ingredients. In usual LCS style, our gathering of cocktail enthusiasts were ready to get tasting and investigating our menu for the night: Dog Nose Dry – Moonshine Kid’s Dog Nose hop gin, choice of TMF Bottle Age, Sherry, Sauternes, Port or American Oak. Have a Word – Few Gin, Dandelion Flower Spun Yellow Chartreuse, Lime, Maraschino Nuts about Bees – Moonshine Kid Pistachio Gin, Diplomatico Blanco, Soy Honey, Citrus People’s Republic – WS Cream Gin, TMF Strawberry and Radish Tonic, Pepper White Ape – Moonshine Kid Corn Whiskey, Kamm and Sons, Antica Formulas, Sweetcorn The White Ape was a particular favourite, with a garnish of pickled sweetcorn which satisfied my pickle back addiction, and was a delicious partner to the oysters we indulged in from the bar menu. As always, it was great to catch up with everyone and meet a few new faces. Job done, this was definitely a London Cocktail Week...
read more

June: Bombay Sapphire at Graphic

In June we were very lucky to host a weekend event at Graphic bar in Soho. Sean Ware, Bombay Sapphire brand ambassador and long supporter of the LCS (he hosted our second ever event when he was working at Callooh Callay), talked us through Bombay Spirits and the gin category in general. With a bespoke cocktail menu on offer utilising some of Sean’s brilliant home made ingredients, tables set up with Bombay’s aroma kits, tasting glasses and plenty of water (it was 1pm in the afternoon after all!) all that we needed was our lovely members to turn up, and turn up they did, in their droves! We were given a rare opportunity to taste the difference between a steeped gin (botanicals in the belly of the still) and a vapour infused gin (botanicals sit in a basket above the belly and the gin is infused as the vapours pass through the basket – the way that Bombay spirits are distilled). Produced in the Bacardi Brown Forman labs in America, it was really interesting to see how the different methods of distillation produced different qualities in the gins. Then it was onto a blind tasting of a number of different styles of gin. In the order that they were tasted we sampled: Bombay Dry (vapour infused) Three Corner Dry Gin (only 2 botanicals) Bombay Sapphire (vapour infused and 2 additional botanicals to Bombay Dry) Sipsmith (traditional steeped London Dry) Monkey 47 (47 different botanicals) Whilst tasting the various spirits we utilised the Bombay aroma kits designed by aroma expert Dr George Dodd, which split the aromas found in gins into 28 separate commonly found constituent parts. Sean guided us though how using these kits can help when nosing and tasting gins Some tweets from the day and beyond: @miss_glassy: Just about to get stuck into some gin tasting with @BSapphireGinUK and @The_LCS (@ Graphic) 4sq.com/MxbYKI @miss_glassy: Punch and a gin wheel at @The_LCS instagr.am/p/L7y-bNq9uB/# @Di9it8 Sean with @The_LCS @graphicbar & @BombaySpirits #gin #london @ Graphic instagr.am/p/L71hr1ARr0/ @Noodlefish: Fascinating afternoon with @BombaySpirits w/ @The_LCS – forgotten how much I like Bombay Dry! @miss_glassy: Couldn’t help but try out a gin cocktail of course @The_LCS instagr.am/p/L8ICWFq9nd/ @Noodlefish: @swarebar Thank you. And thank you to @graphicbar for hosting and @GinMonkeyUK for organising @Di9it8: Thanks to @swarebar #ginscents #ginflavours @BombaySpirits HT to @graphicbar for venue & @The_LCS for organising on.fb.me/LPI6IQ @cocktaillovers: Thanks @swarebar...
read more