April: Adam Elmegirab at the Grosvenor Hotel

As any cocktail enthusiast knows, bitters are a staple ingredient in many of the tastiest recipes.  Such is their importance, we even made our own a while back.  Being big fans of this category, we jumped at the chance therefore when Adam Elmegirab, producer of a range of fine bitters offered to come and speak at an event for us. Hailing from Scotland, this was a rare opportunity to hear Adam speak and quite frankly we couldn’t wait till the day came. Usually our events focus on the single product in question, but given the role bitters play in ‘seasoning’ cocktails alongside other ingredients, it made sense for the evening to look at how they work in cocktails. Gin was selected as the obvious spirit of choice given that both products are produced using botanicals. This meant we needed hefty supply of cocktail ingredients, and so we were delighted when Adnam’s, Caorunn, Lillet, and Fentiman’s all agreed to sponsor the evening with their fine products. Adam presented a passionate, amusing and incredibly informative talk on the history of bitters, his own experience setting up a business, and of course the mixing of his products.  Rarely has a presented managed to deliver such a volume of information and kept the crowd as engaged as Adam did.  It turns out he is just as good at public speaking as he is at making bitters!  We were also to learn that he is a dab hand at fixing up delicious cocktails as well. A range of drinks were presented on the evening, each showcasing the flavour profile of the different spirits/bitters.  Things kicked off with a range of simple serves which attracted much discussion about how delicious such easy to make drinks can be; Gin, Dandelion and Tonic 50ml Caorunn Gin 100ml Fentiman’s Tonic 3 dashes Dandelion and Burdock Bitters Build over ice and garnish with a fresh apple slice Spanish Gin and Tonic 50ml Adnam’s Copper House Gin 100ml Fentiman’s Tonic 3 dashes Spanish Bitters Build over ice and garnish with a lemon zest Gin-Gin beer 50ml Adnam’s First Rate Gin 100ml Fentiman’s Ginger Beer 4 dashes Aphrodite Bitters Build over ice and garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig Horse’s Neck 50ml Adnam’s Copper House Gin 100ml Fentiman’s Ginger Ale 4 dashes Boker’s Bitters Build over ice and garnish with a lemon spiral Next up were some more complex...
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April: Monkey Shoulder Chocolate Trail Challenge

In January, some of our members came along with us to a preview of some of the events that Monkey Shoulder had planned for the year in conjunction with Anonymous Artists. During the evening we tasted a number of variants of a cocktail: The Malt Jockey (recipe below). The variations lay with the type of chocolate bitters used. And, after a vote, the favourite of the tested recipes was barrelled, to be unveiled at a future event. The time to try the aged Malt Jockey came in early April, at a temporary installation in Soho which popped up for the Easter Weekend…   Malt Jockey Ingredients 40ml Monkey Shoulder 30ml sweet vermouth 10ml maraschino liqueur 2 dashes chocolate bitters Method Stir and strain, garnish with an Orange Twist. The Monkey Shoulder Chocolate Trail was the best incarnation of an Easter egg hunt EVER. Small wooden eggs were hidden in the foliage, which, once found, could be traded at the bar for a cocktail, designed by the guys from London Cocktail Club. Each drink was paired with a different chocolate from the fantastic Nico B which complemented the cocktail wonderfully. For more info, and recipes from the trail head over to my piece on Gin Monkey. Running for just four days, LCS were incredibly lucky to be given exclusive access to this trail of wonderfulness on the Saturday evening. With brand ambassador Dean Callan on hand to talk us through the whisky, and Olivier Ward from Anonymous Artists to talk us through the various cocktails, we were given a whistle stop tour of the product, its production method, and where it got its name from, all whilst sipping on whisky and cocktails – fab!   Then the 12 members lucky enough to have gained a place at the event split into pairs and were set the challenge of coming up with their own cocktail and chocolate pairing. With a huge number of potential ingredients on offer, from the foliage on the walls, to the fresh fruit and various bottled liqueurs, the challenge for most of our members was to narrow these down to just a few key flavours. With some assistance from Dean, Olivier, myself and the lovely bartender working that evening, the members played around with the ingredients and tweaked their recipes before presenting them to us for judging – not an easy task at all.   Surprisingly varied...
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March: Kamm & Sons at Detroit

March saw us venture into the subterranean bar that is Detroit in Covent Garden. The spirit in the spotlight was Kamm & Son’s Ginseng Spirit (formerly known as Kammerlings). Upon arrival our members were treated to a Kamm & Sons on the rocks before settling into the ‘bat cave’ to hear owner and founder Alex Kammerling talk us through his most unusual spirit. Alex gave us a quick intro as to what his spirit is (it is neither gin nor aperitif, instead falling into its own band new category of ginseng spirit), his inspiration behind the brand, his experiences in setting up an entirely new brand, and the challenges he faced in the process. A fascinating story presented by a brilliant bartender who gained important insights into the industry through his time tending stick and working as an ambassador for world renowned spirit brands: Martin Millers Gin and Grey Goose Vodka. The Kamm & Sons cocktails on offer were fantastic! Most designed by Alex himself, at the credit-crunch busting price of just £5, the consensus was that they were too good for their own good…in every sense of the word it seems as ginseng’s meant to be good for you! Alex took the opportunity over a few cocktails to chat to our members in a more informal setting about his plans for the future…very exciting! All I can say is that there are interesting things a-foot! All in all a great evening with brilliant cocktails and great company. Recipes for a few of the drinks are below: The Grosvenor Glass Small cocktail glass Method Stir with cubed ice Garnish Lemon peel Ingredients: 75ml Kamm & Sons 20ml Punt e Mes 5ml Islay whisky The Tipping Point Glass Rocks Method Build over cubed ice Garnish Orange zest Ingredients 30ml Kamm & Sons 30ml Chase Marmalade 15ml Punt E...
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February: Beefeater Distillery Tour

We pulled out all the stops for the end of February and managed to secure a private distillery tour of the Beefeater distillery near the Oval cricket ground. Arriving on a beautiful day in the sunshine, we assembled in the distillery with master distiller Desmond Payne and brand ambassador Tim Stones to begin our tour. We went through the journey of the gin as it passes through the distillery, from the vats that hold the grain neutral spirit (GNS), to the rooms full of botanicals (they smelt amazing), and the still where the gin is distilled. It was a fantastic tour, especially as we had Desmond on hand to show us around and impart some of his wealth of gin distilling knowledge. We were then very lucky to have some time in their amazing bar (if I won the lottery my living room would be modeled on it!), where Tim made us some Beefeater cocktails. It was a brilliant day, combining gin geekery with cocktail loveliness. If you didn’t make it along keep an eye out as we’re hoping to arrange further tours in the...
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February: Four Roses at Shaker & Co

Shaker & Co, a fairly new bar in Euston has a wonderful basement which is given over to different brands every month. In February it was the turn of Four Roses to make their space their own. Cue a speakeasy style bourbon den complete with crates and hay bales and prohibition style cocktails. Brand Ambassador Dan Priseman was on hand to talk us through the history of bourbon and what happened to production during, and after prohibition. Whilst the Four Roses story was evident throughout, what was brilliant was that Dan talked us through the Bourbon story in general imparting some of his vast knowledge of the spirit category. One of our members Sarah has written a brilliant blog about the evening which is well worth a read:...
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