Last weekend in the beautiful listed building One Mayfair, Cocktails in the City returned to London. After the massive success of last year’s summer event in Bedford Square Gardens, I was very intrigued to see how the event would work in an indoor location.
Bigger and better than ever, this year’s event has moved to an international scale, as the bars featured included venues from Paris and Amsterdam.
Over 20 bars and far more cocktails were available over the evening, and the theme seemed to be evocative, original and creative collaborations, far beyond what you would find in a standard bar.
This year, four of us attended the event together, so we could try more of the drinks,a nd get a more rounded impression of what was on offer.
While I would not want to be forced to choose a ‘favourite’ this time, I wanted to share some of the drinks and bars that the group were most impressed by. We did our best to try as many as possible, but we’re only human dammit!
So, our Cocktails in the City highlights were:
Chase Vodka and The Whip, Mayfair with the Rhubarb Radler
This was the first bar we visited, and we couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome! Such friendly chaps, we will definitely be visiting The Whip at the first opportunity, a hidden-gem of a cocktail bar upstairs in The Running Horse, Mayfair’s oldest public house.
The Rhubarb Radler was great – different enough to showcase their talents, but still very approachable. Mixing Chase Rhubarb Vodka with Wild Goose gooseberry beer, lemon and bitters was a great combination, and I will be experimenting with rhubarb flavours in future.
Lanique Liqueur and Dishoom with Edwina’s Affair
This one was promoted brilliantly by Lanique‘s brand ambassador, as she talked us through what was different about their rose flavoured liqueur. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but unlike the perfumey quality of most rose flavoured products, this was a much nicer flavour.
The cocktail was well-balanced, pretty, had a lovely hit of mint and was one you could drink all night (if there weren’t dozens of others to try). In fact, as you can see in the picture, we did go back for another try towards the end of the evening! Will add Lanique to my collection, and am keen to visit Dishoom!
Suze and Little Red Door with the Evocative Menu
Our first experience of CITC going global! The language barrier isn’t an issue when the drinks menu is a collection of pictures! The concept was to look at the pictures, which we affectionately referred to as #CeleryMan, #NoNippleLady and #CreepyGuy, and then go with your gut. These drinks were too intriguing to choose only one, so we sampled them all!
A good bit of flair from the Little Red Door Parisian bartenders distracted us from a closely guarded set of recipes. The resulting cocktails gave strong impressions or Mezcal and similar smoky spirits, this presumably coming from French aperatif Suze. This was Mr Happy Hour’s distinct first choice.
U’Luvka Vodka and Royal Exchange London with Seasons of Luv and Sacred Mushroom
U’Luvka is a super premium four grain vodka, with wonderfully distinctive packaging. This year they were all about the infusion, with both fig and mushroom variations on offer. I had my reservations, fig was one thing, but surely mushrooms are for soup not cocktails? I was very happy to be proved wrong…
Although the mushroom infusion on its own was too much for my palate, expertly mixed in the Sacred Mushroom cocktail it was oddly refreshing! The distinctive taste of mushroom remained, but was balanced by the other flavours. Great friendly bartenders from Royal Exchange were working hard throughout the evening!
Crystal Head Vodka and Hush with The Angel
This cocktail was so popular over the Thursday and Friday sessions, that by the time we visited on Saturday they were having to adapt certain elements to meet the demand! Sadly this meant no candyfloss or popping candy rim, but the super sweet treat was replaced with a marshmallow that became a boozy-infused morsel by the end of the drink!
With bubble-gum infused vodka, apricot liqueur and cranberry juice, The Angel was much sweeter than most of the other offerings, but made a great counterpoint to all of the dry and smoky creations on offer. Crystal Head Vodka was created by Dan Aykroyd, so is obviously very cool, and looks stunning. The team from Hush were great fun and I’m very keen to visit the bar and try their drinks in the future.
Zubrowka Vodka and London Cocktail Club with Show Me The Money
As the picture shows, this drink was sampled towards the end of the night! Adorned with a fake dollar bill, this was a fun and quirky drink, sharp, sweet and tangy, with Zubrowka vodka and a cheeky dash of absinthe. The London Cocktail Club is a group of six London venues, and judging by their performance at CITC I would definitely go and check them out.
If you are filled with cocktail-envy right now, fear not! CITC will be visiting Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh and will be back in London in July. Find out more and buy your tickets now!
Will you be joining Cocktails in the City anytime this year? You can check out loads of the fantastic cocktail recipes on their website. Which cocktail from past events takes your fancy?
Whatever you do with your weekend, please remember to enjoy (responsibly) x