1. Pico Palo cocktail
October saw the World’s 50 Best Bars awards return to London and while Artesian walked away with the top prize for the 4th year running, it was a cocktail from Botran rum that won us over. Created by Renata Kamenova of El Niño in Valladolid, this is a powerful mix of Botran solera-aged rum, bourbon, oloroso sherry and fig liqueur, and a smooth coffee flavour achieved by filtering through coffee beans. It was one of the best cocktails we’d tried in a long time.
2. Sake flight
A sake flight with din dins at Wazen in King’s Cross. The team there are super passionate about the stuff and will match it to your food – we had kawashin, omachi and sohomare karakuchi.
3. Dishoom’s Thunderball
A Thunderball at the Dishoom Soho launch party caused much chatter over its garnish of popping candy in a baggy, pegged to the side. It’s based on a sloe gin fizz, but this one was topped up with the cola of Bombay, Thums Up. Naughty but nice.
4. Whistling Shop’s 1691
Worship Street Whistling Shop launched a new look and new menu to go with it during London Cocktail Week. The menu is made up of 19 cocktails divided into air, water, fire and earth and uses WS’s trademark innovative techniques and bold flavours. Our favourite was the 1691, a tangy, complex drink combining goat’s cheese-infused Ketel One Vodka, spiced raspberry shrub and Grand Marnier reduction. Sounds weird, tastes incredible. (Top image)
5. The Liberator Midnight Bakkie
Web editor Charlotte Morgan fell in love with The Liberator Midnight Bakkie old-vine chenin blanc; ‘Sensational! So smooth – it’s like drinking cream. Love the almond taste.’ £9.95, thewinesociety.com.
6. World of Zing’s manhattan
Pritesh Mody and his team at World of Zing are the only people in the world allowed to re-bottle Bulliet rye whisky. That in itself is pretty impressive, but what’s even better is what they do with it before it’s rebottled, making it into a manhattan with brandy and bespoke bitters before steel-aging it to create a wonderfully complex cocktail with a touch of zing.
7. Mr Black cold press coffee liqueur
It was only a matter of time before someone married the trend for cold press coffee and our insatiable love of espresso martinis. It’s made in Australia with no heat, just a lot of time, packing a big punch of coffee flavour without the harshness of espresso, plus, it’s less sweet than it’s counterparts. £39.50, harveynichols.com
8. Joyeux Bordel’s Folly Ditch
Eucalyptus is a familiar scent for many of us at this time of year, with all the winter sniffles, but ever thought of adding it to your post-work drink? Joyeux Bordel, in Shoreditch (it’s very dark, loud and trendy – bring a torch) has and uses it as the secret ingredient to its Folly Ditch, where the medicinal stuff is married with Jensen’s Old Tom gin, house orgeat, lime, egg white and Angostura bitters.
9. ‘Sloe rowe’ cocktail
…At the launch of Taste: the Infographic Book of Food, written by olive editor Laura Rowe, using Gibson’s Organic sloe gin and prosecco.
10. A Ron Diplomatico dinner
The family who own and run Ron Diplomatico and master blender Tito Cordero were over in the UK last month to celebrate rum fest and hosted a dinner at Village East, Bermondsey. After kicking off with perfectly balanced almond daiquiris, dinner (including maple-cured sea trout with horseradish cream, crisp squid with black garlic mayo, addictively melting slow-roast pork belly with super-crunchy crackling, crab mac ‘n’ cheese and succulent, fall-apart confit turkey leg) was served family-style – there’s no standing on occasion with these guys.
Pudding (think cookies and cream ice cream with popcorn and chocolate sauce that takes you back to childhood), was served alongside some very special Diplomatico rum expressions, including the single vintage 2000, made from one of the best sugar cane harvests in Venezuelan history and aged in bourbon and single malt casks for 12 years before being finished in sherry casks. The highlight of the evening though, and the pinnacle of Diplomatico’s range, was the Ambassador’s Selection; finished in PX casks, this is a rich, fruity rum that packs in a lot of flavour with notes of cinnamon, apricot, banana and honey, and a deliciously-long finish. At £240, it’s one to ask for very nicely on your Christmas list.
11. Martini no. 171 at Dry Martini
OK, so this one was over a month ago (sorry), but we think it’s worth talking about. We love a hotel bar, there’s something about the elegance, the atmosphere, the sense of occasion, and now London has added another one to it’s fold in the form of Dry Martini, an outpost of Barcelona’s most famous bar in the Melia White House Hotel. Led by internationally renowned bartender Javier de las Muelas, expect stand-out cocktails, great bar nibbles and over 70 gins. And, of course, martinis – they even have a counter at the end of the bar. We drank number 171; a classic dry Tanqueray 10 with a lemon twist, and number 172; dirty with Monkey 47.
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