I like Cocktails. Had you noticed?
I mean, I set up a whole Cocktail Week to give me an excuse to drink them. I don’t claim to be any type of expert, but I love good, freshly made cocktails. I love the ritual of seeing them made, of serving them well, of garnishing them and how simple ingredients are magically transformed into something amazing by someone who IS an expert.
So, when Cocktails In The City invited me to their London event I was very happy about it indeed. Very happy.
Happier than that.
My job was to do an Instagram takeover for the evening. Basically the deal was free cocktails for me, in return for spending the evening instagramming the beautiful cocktails, the beautiful park and the beautiful people. Such a hardship.
Obviously my first Instagram was of me holding a gin cocktail that looked like Ice Cream.
I was given a special lanyard that I simply had to flash at each bar to get a cocktail. Everyone seemed to be suspiciously nice to me. I was confused about why. Then I realised that the lanyard said “Guest Judge” and all the bars thought I was picking a winner and not just taking photos of the pretty cocktails.
As ever in these situations I ended up getting really embarrassed and feeling like a fraud when anyone asked me who I was. I think they were expecting to hear I was some super important representative of a high-class cocktail blog. Someone even asked me if I was a “bar influencer”. While people have indeed asked me my opinion on good bars to go to in the past, the words “bar influencer” disturb me slightly. I always find it terribly embarrassing to explain I’m just, well, me.
Still, I didn’t let that get in the way of some really good cocktails!
Below you will find the Chocolate Brioche French Martini from First Aid Box, this was too sweet for me, but Mr Chick loved it. Buck Stops Here from The Blind Pig, which came with a chaser of ale and was very tasty and looked cute too and Midnight Express from Foxlow, which I really liked. One of the ingredients was Salted Cardamom Coffee, and it came with a little card with the ingredients to make your own and the cocktail recipe on it. Must get on that.
Some more favourites from Instagram were the Jessica Rabbit from 7 Tales (which won the “Bartenders Bar” award), which was a very pink twist on a Strawberry Daiquiri. The Jackie from Hush Mayfair which was a big batch cocktail served from a pretty tureen. Fought the Law from Fontaines, one of my favourites made from Naked Grouse whisky, and the Brits from Aqua Shard, which was a gin cocktail that came with a nice side snack of popcorn.
I cannot tell you how to make any of these, but they were really good and looked pretty and that’s what counts.
The venue was Bedford Square Gardens. I’ve have been there before for the Chap Olympics but today it was transformed into a little village. Each bar had its own wooden shelter to do with as they pleased.
Some bars went all out. There were flowers, fairy lights, cabaret performers, fancy chairs and tables and bartenders in fancy dress. Others stayed more minimal and let their cocktails do the talking. I particularly liked Cahoots, a 1940s themed basement bar who had made a huge effort giving their bar a 1940s French Resistance theme. Also Fontaines, because it was all Art Deco beauty and I wanted to take it all home with me.
There were also REALLY good hotdogs, I want another one right now. Mine wasn’t even a hot dog technically, as it was deep-fried blue cheese. Deep. Fried. Blue. Cheese.
That’s a health food, right?
We were really lucky with the weather. Despite threatening to rain it actually held off till about 8:30, when we suddenly felt the odd drop. The tree cover in Bedford Square saved us from most of it and we barely even noticed.
It was such a treat to have so many amazing bars, all together in one place. Cocktails In the City hold events across the UK. Next up is Edinburgh in October. I’m actually in Edinburgh in October, but sadly I will be gone before the event. Boo. Maybe they’ll bring it to Norwich. I can point them at some excellent bars…..
The advantage, of more Cocktail related events is that it gives me more chances to wear my growing collection of Cocktail themed clothing. This time the glorious weather lent itself to my Victory Parade Cocktail print skirt and a crop top (dammit, breaking the rules AGAIN).
Cocktails in the City hold events in London, Leeds and Manchester. If you can’t make Edinburgh this year its worth keeping an eye out for next year.
Big thanks to Cocktails in the City for inviting me down. It was worth the late night train journey back to Norwich, even though I couldn’t afford First Class (I know, woe is me, right?).