Talk about upping the ante... London Cocktail Week truly smashed its sixth year in business and drove the festival to heights previously unthought of. 2015 was the year of change as the festival finally outgrew its previous home in Seven Dials, instead London Cocktail Week took to the streets of Soho and launched the World Class London Cocktail Week Hub on Poland Street, with queues out the door each night of the week.
Over in east London the festival took over the entire market space of Old Spitalsfields and launched a week-long cocktail village of bespoke pop-up bars, trucks, vans and even bicycles, all serving up specially-created cocktails, street food and music.
London Cocktail Week welcomed over 275 bars on the Cocktail Tours, each serving a signature cocktail, and more than 20,000 people joined us in celebrating this incredible bar scene and city.
One of the main highlights was the Saturday night party which featured bar teams from around the world - New York, Paris, Singapore and London - all battling it out to be crowded the winner of the 24 Hour Bar Build. On home turf, supported by their friends and families, London won.
London Cocktail Week was a blast. No doubt about that, and now thanks to Partizan we can relive it all over again.
Creative: Will Besant / Director: Cory Marsh / Production Company: Partizan / Music: Robin Reeve @ Bright Young Things
An Introduction to London Cocktail Week 2015 by Alice Lascelles
- Welcome to Our Capital's Biggest Ever London Cocktail Week -
When I got my first job on a drinks magazine in Shoreditch more than 12 years ago the local bar scene was still in its infancy – I think the off-licence on Pitfield Street with the giant CHEAP BOOZE sign was about the closest thing to a ‘destination bar’ that we had.
How times have changed. These days you can hardly move for award-winning bars in Shoreditch serving up everything from cast-iron classics and Piña Coladas to 18th century punches and mixological works of art so show-stopping they could almost be mistaken for sculpture. They’re lurking behind unmarked doors and hiding in basements, popping up in car-parks and taking over restaurants, they’re under railway arches and in warehouses and spilling out onto the street, bringing colour and noise and fine liquor to a part of town that was once as dry as the Gobi Desert. In 2015, I think it’s safe to say no-one in Shoreditch is ever more than six feet from a Negroni.
No surprise, then, that London Cocktail Week has chosen EC1 as the HQ for its packed programme of events this year, a programme which celebrates the drinks, the people and the places that have helped make London the cocktail capital of the world. From masterclasses with award-winning bartenders and backstage tours of craft gin distilleries to quirky competitions, exclusive tastings and all-out parties, this year’s LCW is just plain mouthwatering.
But London Cocktail Week isn’t just about the hard stuff – it’s a week-long feast of live music, fine food and well-oiled storytelling too. And if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, well, you’ve always got CHEAP BOOZE just down the road…
Alice Lascelles is the author of Ten Cocktails: The Art of Convivial Drinking (Saltyard 2015) and writes about hard liquor for the Financial Times, Vice and Imbibe. @alicelascelles
An example of drinks we served across London bars:
Butter & Mint Drop: Tanquerary No.TEN gin washed with butter fat, homemade tiramisu syrup, topped with mint soda.
French 75: Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon juice topped with champagne.
Cherry Chocolate Sour: Bulleit bourbon, Ratafia, lemon juice, egg whie and chocolate bitters.
Made in London: Vodka, monin vanilla syrup, lemon, ginger, basil, topped with ginger beer.
Chargrilled Buck: Chivas 12 Year Old whisky, charred pineapple syrup, lime, cardamon bitters, topped with ginger ale.
Latilla de los Muertos: Ocho Blanco tequila, Briottet manzana verde liqueur, lemon juice, honey syrup, egge white, chocolate bitters and Tabasco.
Golden Pineapple Daquiri: Havana 7 Year Old rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice, honey syrup, esscence of cuba island fruit.
With over 275 bars serving £5 cocktail, the involvement from the industry was huge. Venues included Cocktail Trading Co, Blind Pig, Dandelyan, Original Sin, Luggage Room, Bar Termini, Sovereign Loss, Steam & Rye, Powder Keg Diplomacy and all the London Cocktail Club venues. You can see last year's complete list here.