Holly Harwood | Her Inspiring Journey, Making Her Own Gin

My passion with gin started when working at Dolly's Gin Palace in Falmouth (whilst studying for my history degree). This was about 8 years ago and I actually had my eyes set to create my own gin then. However I felt I needed more experience in the industry. After a big move to London and many hours working in pubs, bars, gin festivals, a role as a gin brand ambassador and drinks blogger... I still couldn't get making my own gin out of my head! 2 years ago with a lot of support from my family and friends, I started Holly's Gin.

The Gintern

Some people reading this may be following my story as Gintern for ILoveGin.com. This was a viral job advertised last year for a gin lover to visit distilleries and create gin recipes and content. It really is the best job ever and I couldn't believe I actually landed my dream job at the beginning of this year. My journey has influenced my own gin massively, from the design of my bottle to the botanicals I used to create the recipe.

The Design

I was very fortunate to work with my talented friend Ryan on the design of my bottle, as well as Allied Glass believing in my madness! I love anything Art Deco and have a fascination with this era. I really wanted to give the bottle an antique feel. The frosted green really stands out, and I love how the gold shines in the light. The shell logo was inspired by my love of Cornish beaches and the gold leaf design has some of my key botanicals added in! The design is actually printed onto the bottle itself which really looks fantastic.

The Taste

I love London Dry Gins and just knew I had to make one! I also wanted to use some unique botanicals and create something a little different. There are 9 botanicals in total. The 3 key ones are Orange, Gentian root and Passion Flower. I actually drank passion flower tea for years, as it is recommended for its calming benefits. The flower looks pretty cool too! It doesn't taste too floral but perhaps similar to Meadowsweet. There is definitely an earthy, rich aroma. The gin itself is fresh, vibrant and perfect with a premium tonic water!

Cornwall

It was very important to me to have my recipe distilled in my treasured home county of Cornwall. After a meeting with Trevethan Distillery, I knew I wanted it to be made there! Not only do they have Art Deco inspired bottles with a history dating back to the 1920s, but John the distiller has so much expertise and has been fantastic at knowing how to scale up my recipe correctly. This is something that was trickier than I first thought! With the help of John and the team, it tastes wonderful. John will be using their two 300L Copper Pot Stills, called Doris and Rose. Each still will produce around 300-350 bottles each. I will be bottling and sticking the back labels and seals on myself, so you really know it is handcrafted!

Pre-Order Now!

I am crowd funding to make the first batch and make sure the bottles go out before Christmas. All the money raised will go into the production (bottles, labels, corks, distillation, duty), as well as helping me actually get the gin out to you! This is a true labour of love but I am very excited! The support I am receiving means the absolute world to me. I am doing this on a very small budget, but I am determined and just know everyone will enjoy my gin as much as I do!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hollys-gin

My Journey into Blogging | A Massive Thanks to my '&FRIENDS' Contributing Authors

It seems a lifetime away from 2013 when I launched my menswear brand Hawkins & Shepherd and starting writing blog posts about shirts, fabrics and what knot to wear with your shirts. In 2014 I launched my eponymous Men's Lifestyle Blog. Back then, to begin with I was looking to drive more traffic to my menswear label, but it soon came apparent that the blog was developing into something separate and deserved its own platform. More and more people were coming to me for advice and I wanted to provide a place for people that wanted to enhance their style. 

It has been a major learning curve moving from my previous career which I was the Global Head of IT Communications & Networking for a major privately owned commodities trading house to starting up my own shirt label and subsequently men's lifestyle blog. Back then when I was building my previous career, I had no clue what a blog was and would have laughed at you if you suggested that I would give up a career that I've spent 15 years perfecting on a gamble for a better lifestyle; but that's exactly what I did. Some friends laughed, some suggested it wouldn't work, some were just worried for me but in most cases they were supportive. All of these reactions are forever indented into my memories which I call upon for inspiration and to make myself even more dedicated to succeed.

One thing I do miss about working for someone else is the holiday pay, the sick pay, actually the consistent pay in general - oh and the odd hangover day when you're on the clock getting paid but not really there mentally! Starting Hawking & Shepherd, not only took a lot of capital but also a hell of a lot of my hours and I think there is a massive misconception about life being greener when self-employed and now I know that to be correct. Since 2013, I've put every single penny that the business makes back into it, to help it grow, improve and to have the best chance of success in the long-term. It's really hard and have so much respect for anyone who has made a successful change in career or launched their own brand.  

Mid-way through 2017 I was thinking of ways to turn my self-titled blog into more of an online magazine, an encyclopedia of everything men's lifestyle. It was then that I decided to seek out other writers and journalists to contribute to carlthompson.co.uk and to help them launch themselves to a possibly difference audience to what they would usually come in contact with. The relationship had to be beneficial to all parties and we have achieved that. I wanted to take this opportunity at the start of 2018 to say a massive thanks to these writers who have contributed to the success of 2017 in which we've seen an increase of unique visitors by 85.8% compared to the previous year.

Unfortuently my budget doesn't stretch to have them all employed full-time. So I'm sure they will not mind if I did a shout out to each of them and say to feel free to contact them if you require unique content, copy-writing, event coverage etc.

Peter Brooker is a Professional Freelancer & Copywriter with SEO experience. Founder & Editor of Human Research. Lifestyle Editor & Podcast host for Menswear Style. Fashion Editor for The Essential Journal. He has interviewed leading ambassadors, athletes, celebrities, actors including David Gandy, Daniel Sturridge, Paul Weller, Evander Holyfield, Sir Steve Redgrave, David Haye, George Foreman, Dita Von Teese, Idris Elba, Jamie Redknapp, Sir Roger Moore and Stephen Hendry. Oh in case anyone is still reading he also writes for Viz and is unbeaten at crazy golf. 

Originally from Cornwall, Holly has two main passions in life: history and gin. With a degree in history and over 7 years of knowledge working in the gin industry, she now writes about both. Holly creates food recipes for artisan spirits companies and is always on the search to try and experiment with new flavours. You can follow her on Twitter @HollyHarwood and on Instagram @HollyHWood.

Patrick McAleenan is a freelance journalist, PR and Personal Trainer, based in London. He is a regular contributor to Telegraph Men, Metro, Attitude magazine and other high profile publications. He was a Stonewall Awards 2014 Journalist of the Year nominee and is currently writing his first work of fiction. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ontheptrain

Suzanne Bernie is the founder and Managing Director of Coathanger. Based in one of the fashion capitals of the World, London; Suzanne is a leading fashion stylist who helps clients develop a better relationship with their wardrobe and how they express themselves with fashion. With over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and having founded Coathanger in 2002, Suzanne and her team of personal stylist’s aim to help people step out of their comfort zones and develop a whole new outlook on the role fashion plays in our everyday lives.

...and to the newest member signed up for 2018, I'm incredibly excited to introduce to you Christopher Modoo...

Christopher Modoo is the "Urbane Outfitter". With over 25 years experience in men's fashion he is an expert on style and etiquette.Having worked in all aspects of menswear from shop floor to senior creative, Christopher is now a freelance stylist and is working on launching his own label. As well as fashion, Christopher is a keen fan of the cinema and enjoys travel. He is married and lives in Hampton Court.

8 Awesome Things to do in London this Christmas

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With snow falling across the UK over the last few days, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. With less than two weeks to go, there are so many amazing festive activities and events across London. Grab yourself a mulled wine and make the most of Christmas in the capital! Here are 8 places you definitely need to head before the big day.

1. Go ice skating

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Winter ice skating is always really popular in London. Ice rinks pop up each year at the Natural History Museum, Canary Wharf, Somerset House and Hampton Court Palace. For many it's a Christmas tradition to ice skate in the courtyard at Somerset House, centred around a stunning Christmas tree. However this year, how about something a little different? A former carpark at Skylight, has turned into a rooftop ice skating playground in Tobacco Dock. Visitors are also able to try ice hockey shooting, whilst sampling street food, fondue and festive drinks tucked up under a blanket. skylightlondon.com

2. See the Christmas lights at Kew

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As soon as it turns dark, a twinkling light trail winds through Kew Gardens. As well as the incredible lights, there are food stalls and Victorian funfair rides. Definitely worth wrapping up warm and visiting before Christmas! kew.org

3. Watch a Christmas film

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Even though it is nice to get cosy at home with your favourite Christmas film, how about heading out with your friends after work to a pop up cinema? Pop Up Screens are at Hackney Showroom, with films like Bad Santa, Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually and The Grinch playing before Christmas! popupscreens.co.uk

4. Eat lots of cheese

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Who doesn’t like eating more cheese at Christmas? There’s a great festive event at The Treehouse in Clapham. London’s first Raclette Bar is by Alpine street food favourites Le Rac Shack. Cosy surrounds and lots of melted cheese, it's the perfect way to warm up on a cold Christmas night. theraclettebar.com

5. Watch some festive live music

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There are loads of amazing bands playing Christmas numbers all over London getting you in the party mood. If you fancy a night out dancing full of festive cheer then you need to see the Old Dirty Brassards. This brilliant brass band are playing at some epic live music venues for a great Christmas knees-up. Find them on Tuesday 19th December at Omeara, in the arches of London Bridge, or at at Shoreditch Blues Kitchen on Friday 22nd December. olddirtybrasstards.co.uk/gigs

6. Cosy up in an igloo

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The perfect place to take your other half, your mates or even a festive first date! These igloos are the ideal venue to share a few merry drinks. The Sipping Room in West India Quay has six pop-up 'igloos'. Each one seats eight and contain electric heaters, hot water bottles, sheepskin throws and jumpers! Make sure you book first. drakeandmorgan.co.uk/igloos

7. Listen to carols by the Christmas tree

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It wouldn’t be Christmas in London without visiting the world-famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree (an annual gift from Norway since 1947). Whilst it is nice to try something more quirky, you can’t beat a bit of holiday tradition! You can hear festive songs ring out across the square from 40 carol groups, each singing for an hour. These free Christmas carol concerts in Trafalgar Square help raise funds for voluntary and charitable organisations. Check out london.gov.uk for more information.

8. Travel back to Victorian times

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If you like to keep things traditional, you can experience Christmas as it would have been in Victorian times with a host of 19th century decorations and activities to enjoy at Kensington Palace. They have a 25ft high Christmas tree decorated in Victorian style. Great for family fun, but also if you just like a bit of British history and culture. hrp.org.uk

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Enjoy all the festive Christmas fun in London!

10 Festive Beers to try this Christmas

With the countdown to Christmas now on, there are plenty of festive tipples in the shops to get us into the holiday spirit. Warming mulled wine and fruity sloe gin may be most peoples first choice, whereas Christmas beers are usually pushed to the bottom of the festive booze cupboard. Belgian breweries however have been producing popular winter ales for centuries, and over the past few years craft breweries and supermarkets have also upped their game for Christmas! Full of warming ingredients, here are 10 amazing festive beers to enjoy around the fire this month.

1. Brouwerij Noordt Christmas Session Ale

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This Christmas Ale is from Rotterdam, Netherlands. Light coloured and very easy to drink, it has a lovely balance of slightly sweet malt and bitterness. Fruity with subtle hints of chestnut gets you in that festive mood from the first sip. 5.0% AVB, £2.69 each available at beerwulf.com

2. Anchor Christmas Ale

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From San Francisco, this years Anchor Christmas Ale has a strong malt profile that is enhanced with wintery spices. Anchor brewing describe it beautifully “the beer pours a deep, dark, mahogany brown with a creamy, tan head. It has flavours of creamy bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and toasted nuts, with a rich, smooth, velvety mouthfeel”. 5.5% ABV, £2.79 each available at beerhawk.co.uk

3. Greenwich Winter Spiced Porter

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A well balanced traditional London Porter with warming, aromatic cinnamon and allspice. Perfect to enjoy chilled with some cold meats, a cheeseboard or a rich fruity pudding. 5.5% AVB, £2.50 each from marksandspencer.com

4. Batemans Rosey Nosey

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This English pale is made at one of the country’s oldest breweries, in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. Refreshingly rich and fruity, with sultanas and raisin flavour balanced by the nutty crunch of crystal and chocolate malts. Challenger hops produce a spicy aroma, perfect with a Christmas sarnie! 4.7% ABV, £2.89 each if buying one case, available at bateman.co.uk

5. Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

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Made in Faversham, Kent, this ale is brewed using 100% natural ingredients. Drawing chalk-filtered mineral water from the artesian well deep below Shepherd Neame’s site, along with the finest malting barley and Kentish hops. For this Christmas Ale there are lots of warming notes of fruits and spices. Dried fruits come through in particular, like raisins and dates. This is a beer with a long lingering finish! 7.0% ABV, £2.50 each, available at shop.shepherdneame.co.uk

6. De Dole Stiller Nacht

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A Belgian strong Pale Ale style beer brewed by Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers in Esen, Belgium. Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was first brewed in 1982. It’s golden in colour, smooth and full of sugar and spice. this beer has the highest density of any Belgian beer (27°Pl), has been boiling for 5 hours, brewed with pale malt with white candi sugar in the kettle. It is delicious and a perfect treat for the holidays! 12% ABV, £4.55 each, available at beautifulbeers.co.uk

7. Hogs Back Advent Ale

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A deep, dark chestnut coloured ale, brewed with the finest English malted barley and local hops. Brewed in Farnham, Surrey, this festive ale is fruity, with a sweet liquorice and rich dark chocolate aftertaste. 4.4% ABV Approx £2.20 each when buying a case of 12, available at hogsback.co.uk

8. March of the Penguins

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Williams Bros. Brewing Co. is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire. This Scottish stout is creamy and deep chocolate in colour. It has a nose of roast malts, coffee, liquorice & orange peel. The taste of orange will get you in the Christmas spirit, and it is sure to warm you up this month. 4.9% ABV, £1.74 each, available at shop.williamsbrosbrew.com

9. St Bernardus Christmas Ale

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The Belgians really know how to make an amazing Christmas beer! St Bernardus Christmas Ale pours thick and is a delicious dark ruby colour. The traditional Belgian yeast flavour comes through straight away, along with warming Christmas spices. It is also full of the sweetness you want from a strong Belgium beer! 10% ABV, £4.19 each, available at beerhawk.co.uk

10. To Øl Frost Bite

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To Øl is a Danish microbrewery making some of the world's most admired craft beer. They have really gone for it this year with their Christmas range. Frost Bite is their pale ale that has the addition of orange peel and pine needles. Could you get more Christmassy? 6% ABV, £3.49, beerhawk.co.uk

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The 10 Best Sunday Roasts in London

It’s that time of year when the air is fresher, cosy jumpers are on, and we all fancy an amazing Sunday roast at the weekend. There are loads of awesome Sunday roast pubs in London that are perfect for friends and family time, or to just get over the boozy night before! However as there are so many, how do you pick which one to head to? You may have already found your favourite roast dinner in London, but here are ten favourites to to definitely try (in no particular order):

The Hawksmoor - SW3

The Hawksmoor - SW3

1. The Hawksmoor (3 Yeoman's Row, Chelsea, London, SW3 2AL)

This one is all about is all about steak, so expect to sample some seriously delicious roast beef! They have a few different restaurants dotted about London, from Borough to Spitalfields. If you fancy a restaurant which has a great atmosphere, then their Knightsbridge venue is one to try. It has an open kitchen, leather furniture and is very chilled. You will need a big appetite for this one!
 

Price: £20 (slow roast rump)
thehawksmoor.com

The Wheatsheaf - SW17

The Wheatsheaf - SW17

2. The Wheatsheaf (2 Upper Tooting Rd, London, SW17 7PG)

The Wheatsheaf is an independent, local pub right next to Tooting Bec tube station (remember Tooting has been named one of the ‘coolest places to live on the planet’). It’s perfect if you are looking for one of those warm, friendly pubs to meet your friends. The Wheatsheaf is quite a large pub but has a real cosy feel. They use local producers and suppliers to create their Sunday roast, and their homemade Yorkshire Puds are particularly incredible.

Price: from £13 (nut roast) - £16.50 (aged beef rump)
thewheatsheafsw17.com

The Camberwell Arms - SE5

The Camberwell Arms - SE5

3. The Camberwell Arms (65 Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell, SE5 8TR)

The Camberwell Arms is a relaxed foodies gastropub! Head there with your other half or a friend (who doesn’t mind sharing food) for some delicious Gloucester Old Spot belly, carrots, baby gem, roast potatoes at £15 each. Or even their Hereford sirloin, roast potatoes, bernaise and watercress for £23 each. They have some amazing wines to go with their dishes if you haven't had too much of a heavy night before. 

Prices: vary from £15 to £23 each
thecamberwellarms.co.uk

The Pig and Butcher - N1

The Pig and Butcher - N1

4. The Pig and Butcher (80 Liverpool Rd, London, N1 0QD)

The Pig and Butcher is an Islington institution. It has a laid back country feel. Now who doesn’t fancy relaxing in a country style pub in London on a Sunday? They use the best quality meat in the UK and their menu changes throughout the year. If you do like sharing they have dishes like their Hall Farm Special Reserve chicken crown & lemon & thyme butter for £17.25 per person. If you do not under any circumstances share food, then the pork shoulder, roasted leg of lamb or dry aged Hereford sirloin are for you!

Prices: from £16.95 to £19.50 depending on the meat you choose.
thepigandbutcher.co.uk

Jones & Sons - E8

Jones & Sons - E8

5. Jones & Sons (23-27 Arcola Street, E8 2DJ)

If you prefer a cool venue in East London, Jones & Sons is the place to go. It has that minimalistic style of an ex-warehouse space but is still very buzzy. For their roasts they use high quality meat which is served with massive Yorkshires. Their homemade horseradish cream is also a winner! If you are a Vegetarian, the Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Wellington makes a nice change from the usual nut roast.

Prices: from £13 (veggie option) to £27 (whole roast chicken to share)
jonesandsonsdalston.com

6. Harwood Arms (Walham Grove, London SW6)

This one is for those special occasions! The only Michelin-starred pub in London is hidden in the back streets of Fulham. The Harwood has award-winning food in a casual and relaxed setting. Their Sunday roast is a generous portion too. This definitely isn't just your average pub lunch, as it has much more than just everyday classics. Enjoy the likes of beef rump with bone marrow and Yorkshire grouse or 55 day-aged rib-eye of Hereford beef with all the trimmings. The menu is seasonal and you probably should book in advance!

Prices: Set-priced menu for lunch and dinner, priced at £37.50 for two course and £46.00 for three courses.
harwoodarms.com

Harwood Arms - SW6

Harwood Arms - SW6

The Avalon - SW12

The Avalon - SW12

7. The Avalon (16 Balham Hill, London, SW12 9EB)

This is a great local pub with an iconic English heritage. Their elegant dining room is stunning and the bar area has a wonderful cosy feel. It gets pretty busy but has a great atmosphere. They work with small producers and their chicken and pork are free-range. A perfect pub to meet up with your friends, chill out and enjoy a great quality lunch.

Prices: £13 (Nut Roast) - £15 (Roast Beef)
theavalonlondon.com

The Salt House - NW8

The Salt House - NW8

8. The Salt House (63 Abbey Rd, London, NW8 0AE)

Abbey Road isn’t just for tourists and fans of The Beatles. You can also find the Salt House, a warm and welcoming gem that offers a fine dining experience. The pub has a stylishly elegant feel with rustic charm, perfect for a cosy Autumnal date night. Head there on a Sunday for a roast served how it should be, with with carrots, greens, spuds, Yorkshire pudding & delicious gravy.

Prices: £15 (24hr Pork Belly) - £18 (Roast Beef Rump)
salthouseabbeyroad.com

The Prince Bonaparte - W2

The Prince Bonaparte - W2

9. The Prince Bonaparte (80 Chepstow Road, Westbourne Park, W2 5BE)

Another gastropub on the list, The Prince Bonparte has a great Sunday roast menu. Not only will you find Bloody Marys and live music, but a there are choices of roast Norfolk chicken crown with pork stuffing, roast beef rump cap with horseradish cream or carrot and parsnip Wellington. The 1920’s decor makes it a very stylish place to have your roast too!

Prices: £15.50 (Veggie Wellington) - £17.50 (Beef)
theprincebonapartew2.co.uk

Oslo - E8

Oslo - E8

10. Oslo (1A Amhurst Road, London, E8 1LL)

Not only does Oslo offer a delicious roast dinner, but they have amazing music sessions too. On Sundays they serve a roast rump of beef, half a chicken chicken or nut roast which all come with with roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, kale, carrots and gravy. Oslo is a very cool venue and is perfect for a laid-back Sunday!

Prices: £14 - £15
oslohackney.com

Now which one to pick first?

A Guide to London Cocktail Week (2nd-8th October 2017)

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It’s that time of year again, London Cocktail Week! For those who may not have heard about it, London Cocktail Week (LCW) is a big celebration of the awesome cocktail culture in our capital. This is the eighth year running for the worlds biggest cocktail event (which is essentially a seven day cocktail party). If you love your booze, there are some amazing events to check out. Whilst most of these events are on all week, here is a handpicked guide to help you plan your diary!

MONDAY

The Gin Social

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A night-long take over of Graphic Bar, Golden Square by Martin Miller's Gin. £10 (Graphic Bar, 4 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HT) From 6pm -10pm, the award-winning Martin Miller’s Gin will be taking residency and hosting a pop up at Graphic Bar. This incredible gin bar in Soho needs to be visited if you love your gin cocktails, but for one night only Martin Miller’s will be hosting a series of 45 minute masterclasses. They are on the hour every hour, and as well as learning about the gin, you will receive a G&T on arrival, can win prizes in a quiz, and eat some delicious Nordic canapés. Book via eventbrite.co.uk

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TUESDAY

Secret Breakfast

Talisker whisky-based cocktails for breakfast? Sounds perfect for a Tuesday morning. Free entry. (Magpie, 10 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BX) From 8am-10.30am, Magpie’s Ajax Kentish and Rikesh Patel, along with Diageo’s Ali Reynolds, will be re-imagining the Bloody Mary and the Morning Glory Fizz. There is also talk of smoky marmalade based creation. This is a must do! The special LCW menu will be available at Magpie from Monday to Friday. All Talisker cocktails £6 and there are 20% off all spirits. Only available for LCW Digital Pass holders. Book via magpie-london.com

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WEDNESDAY

Discover the Art of Blending

The Art of Blending, a 45 minute whisky experience, with a 200 ml bottle of your own blended whisky to take home. Earlybird: 2 tickets for £30, General admission: 1 ticket for £20 (The Blend, an exclusive bar by Chivas Regal, 133 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG) Head to The Blend for an opportunity to conjure your own bespoke, blended whisky in an intimate setting. You can take part in a ‘Art of Blending’ session, hosted by Chivas Regal whisky experts. These sessions run until 10 pm every day during LCW. You will learn about the heritage, history and origins of single malt and grain whiskies, tasting examples from Speyside, Islay, the Highlands and Lowlands as well as delicate grain Scotch whisky. Book via chivas.com

THURSDAY

World Class Garden to Glass

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Mixologist Eoin Kenny has created a special cocktail menu inspired by the array of produce grown in the kitchen garden. £10 - including a welcome cocktail (Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT Ham Yard Hotel will host a series of pop-ups on its private Roof Terrace, in the heart of Soho. Each night there is something different! Spice up your Thursday evening with ‘Chillies and Spice with World of Zing’. Pritesh Mody will host a Ketel One Bloody Mary masterclass. Under the guidance of Pritesh, build your own Bloody Mary, just as you like it. Two sessions 5.00pm–7.00pm and 7.30pm–9.30pm with an additional session at 2.30pm on Saturday Book via designmynight.com

FRIDAY

Ableforth’s Underground

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Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin & Rumbullion present a subterranean cocktail and games pop up, open day and night. Free Entry (82a Basement, Commercial Street, London, E1) To start your weekend, why not head underground and celebrate? Ableforth’s is bringing its award-winning range of craft spirits, including the one and only Bathtub Gin, to life with a day-to-night cocktail bar. The pop is really close to the main London Cocktail Week Hub too. Play Gin Rummy while sipping a signature serve made with Bathtub Gin or Rumbullion. Ableforth’s Underground is open 11am-11pm during LCW, with free entry every day.

THE WEEKEND

Hendrick’s Air Departure Lounge

Refresh and recoup before being whisked to the airport in style. Free Entry (The Golden Pineapple, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL)

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Saturday 10am - 8pm and Sunday 10am - 6pm. There are so many amazing events on throughout LCW weekend, but this one is a highlight to try! Hendrick’s Gin always come up with something wonderfully quirky and their Hendrick’s Air Departure Lounge at The Golden Pineapple is just that! Hendrick’s promises a series of innovative therapies, treatments and polite diversions… Book via eventreference.com

Lastly, make sure you head to The Cocktail Village too, which is the epicentre of London Cocktail Week. This is located in Old Spitalfields Market. £5 advance tickets are available to London Cocktail Week digital pass holders (you can buy yours via their free Drinkup.London app). This means unlimited £6 cocktails in more than 250 venues across the week, exclusive discounts in bars, restaurants and to ticketed events.

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10 Best Gin Bars in London

A Gin Palace is the name originally used for a lavish bar selling gin, and this was later associated with late Victorian pubs designed in a similar style. In the 18th century, gin shops or 'dram shops' were small establishments that sold gin to take away or to drink standing up. It was only as the legislation changed that they became larger, and were licensed to sell ale or wine. In the late 1820’s the first ‘Gin Palaces' were built. Thompson and Fearon's was built at 94 Holborn Hill in 1831, and there was Weller's in Old Street. They were based on the new fashionable shops being built at the time, lit by gas lights and luxuriously decorated. Even though they were thought to be vulgar, they were hugely popular!

Gin has risen in popularity in the last few years, and gin bars are back! Whilst only a few of the first gin palaces still exist, we certainly are now spoilt for choice. Here are our ten favourites…

1. The Gin Bar, Holborn (Holborn Dining Room, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN)

This is one of the newer bars on the list, with over 500 gins and 30 different tonics, (including its own), it’s very impressive! The bar is relaxed and stylish, and with more than 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings, it the perfect place for a gin connoisseur.

2. C.O.L.D, Blackfriars (22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT)

If you head here on a Saturday night, it’s always surprising to see how quiet the city is. Located in The City of London Distillery, this bar has a relaxed atmosphere. Just like a fancy living room, you can chill on leather seats whilst admiring the view of the copper stills. There is every gin you can think of behind the bar, and a great gin cocktail list. You can also book in for a number of ‘gin experiences’ from distillery tours to distilling your own gin.

3. Pedler, Peckham (58 Peckham Rye, SE15, 4JR)

This laid-back restaurant/bar has an amazing gin cocktail list, all made with Little Bird (the local gin). They even add gin to their sausages so head there for brunch, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Graveney Gin, Tooting (Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN)

Since Tooting has recently been named one of the "coolest places on earth”, it naturally demands a gin distillery and bar. Their gin is organic, handcrafted and is incredibly moorish! You can visit their cosy bar in Tooting market.

5. The Princess Louise (New Oxford Street & The Salisbury, St Martin’s Lane)

Whilst many original gin palaces do not exist any more, you can still visit some that have been lovingly restored. Whilst they may contain more than gin (and in some cases not a great range of gin), you certainly should visit a couple to get that historic “Gin Palace” experience. The Princess Louise, New Oxford Street and The Salisbury, St Martin’s Lane, are both fitted with fine wooden fittings, glittering mirror glass and tiles.

6. Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Covent Garden (1 New Row, WC2N 4EA)

Mr. Fogg’s is a cosy gin bar with an amazing gin collection! The interior is rather fancy and very comfortable. You can book onto a gin masterclass where you’ll get a bit of a history lesson, while sampling gins from all over the world.

7. The London Gin Club, Soho (The Star, 22 Great Chapel Street, W1F 8FR)

Don’t be fooled that this place is just any old London pub, as you walk inside you will enter gin heaven. There are over 300 different bottles and cocktails dating back to the 1800’s. Every effort goes into making sure you have the best gin drinking experience. Big copa glasses full of ice, and the tonic and garnishes are carefully paired with each gin too.

8. The Distillery, Notting Hill ( 186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA)

After the great success of The Portobello Star, home of Portobello Road gin, you can now pop over to London's first ever gin hotel. The four-storey venue has a 400-litre distillery in the basement, a visitor centre, pub, restaurant, Spanish gin lounge and a handful of hotel rooms at the top. You can even make your own gin at the Ginstitute, and they’ll save your recipe so you can reorder whenever you need a top up!

9. 214 Bermondsey (214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ)

You will find this secret gin bar under Antico restaurant in Bermondsey. The G&Ts are unique here as they make their own tonic. Their gin list is extensive and you can even test your taste buds with a blind gin flight of three different G&Ts. If you make it down on a Sunday, their weekly changing menu of gin tipples start from just £5.

10. Worship Street Whistling Shop, Shoreditch (63 Worship Street, EC2A 2DU)

If you fancy the experience of an old gin palace (but with the modern day menu), this is the place to go. It is a dark and atmospheric bar, lit by an indoor street lamp. The bar also has its own cocktail lab, which is used to create infused gin potions. The cocktails are incredible!

Jazz Age Gin Cocktails & Where to Find Them in London

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We love our cocktails in London and there are so many places to try incredible, innovative recipes. However there is something particularly exciting about being made a cocktail with an interesting history. Thanks to the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby a few years back, there was a resurgence in prohibition era cocktails. America attempted to ban alcohol in the 1920’s and early 30s, but instead a culture was born full of decadent cocktails and glitzy parties. Not only shall we have a look at three classic cocktails, but here are also the best London bars to find them (and their updated versions).

After looking through The Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930, it is clear that there was an enormous array of cocktails throughout this period. It was Harry Craddock, the head barman at The Savoy hotel, that decided to record his classic collection. Today you can still visit the stunning hotel and enjoy drinks that make you feel you have stepped back in time. As well as the American Bar, The Savoy's Beaufort Bar is famous for its theatrical drinks and dramatic décor. They have a cocktail menu that takes you on a tour of the hotel through its legendary tales and extraordinary guests. This is the perfect place to start your cocktail journey…


Classic cocktail: Gimlet
Modern Twist: Pomelo & White Pepper Gimlet Where: The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar (99 Strand London WC2R 0EU)

The Gimlet cocktail is traditionally made of just gin and lime juice, and a description from 1928 was “gin, a spot of lime and soda”. However in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye it stated that "a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else”. The delicious modern twist at the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar is one not to miss! Their Pomelo & White Pepper Gimlet includes Bombay Sapphire Gin, with a pomelo and white pepper cordial. Whilst a classic gimlet (as seen in the photo by Gin Foundry) is rather simple and delicious, the ‘modern twist’ is fragrant, full of fiery pepper and particularly special!

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Classic cocktail: Clover Club
Where: Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel (20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED)

If you want to recreate the full Art Deco experience, then Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel is the place to head. This basement bar, part of the Zédel complex, is perfect for a place to stop en route to dinner or for a nightcap before heading home. It has a stunning Art Deco design that hasn’t changed in decades. The cocktail menu also has all the classics you would like to see. For that reason, it is nice that they have kept to the original recipe for their Clover Club. This cocktail actually pre-dates Prohibition and takes its name from a men’s club in Philadelphia. It was popular during the twenties though and according to ‘Bottoms Up’ in 1928, it was American comedian W. C. Fields favourite drink. The Clover Club is a classic cocktail, with a rich, silky texture, consisting of gin, lemon, raspberries, egg white and sugar.


Classic cocktail: Charlie Chaplin
Modern Twist: The Nightjar’s Charlie Chaplin Where: The Nightjar (129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB)

The Charlie Chaplin was first created at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York sometime before 1920. It was just before Prohibition and the Charlie Chaplin was named in honour of one of Hollywood’s first A-listers. The Charlie Chaplin is fruity, citrusy and very sweet. The equal mix of lime, apricot brandy and sloe gin is documented in A.S. Crockett's "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”. The Nightjar has a brilliant selection of historic cocktails and their version of the Charlie Chaplin is definitely one to try! It features some unusual ingredients including a bael fruit infusion, Madeira wine, their own grenadine, aronia berries and peach bark. With the Nightjar’s extensive menu, you can sit back, relax and follow your Charlie Chaplin with a gin-filled Moulin Rouge or Diki Diki.

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4 White Ports That You Need to Try With Tonic

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White port and tonic (a P&T) has been talked about a lot this summer. While it seems that the drink has just popped up from nowhere, it has actually been around for ages. Many of us have only sampled port a handful at times, and that was probably the sweet red variety. However white port is simply made from white grapes and it is extremely easy to find! It is our beloved gin that is usually served with tonic (we are a nation of ever growing G&T lovers), but you can be assured that this combo does not disappoint.

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White port contains a similar sweetness to certain gins, and also has that freshness that works perfectly with the bitterness of tonic water. Served with a simple citrus or herb garnish and you have a summer winner! Red port is definitely sweeter and richer that the white variety, but it is wonderful as a long, refreshing aperitif. If you fancy an alternative to gin, not only does it have a lower alcohol content, it will also save you a few more pennies. Although similarly to gin, you really require a decent tonic, like Fever Tree, to make sure you are not ruining the flavour of the port. Here are 4 White Port’s and garnishes that you need to try:

 

1. Quinta de la Rosa Extra Dry White Port

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3. Martins de Sa' White Port

Taste: Sweet honey and white fruit that resemble pear or apple jam. Serve: Lots of ice, tonic, 1-2 slices of fresh root ginger and a sprig of rosemary.
Buy: Soon to be available online, keep an eye on martinsdesaport.com

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Taste: Very fruity. Tropical fruits especially pineapple
Serve: Lots of ice, tonic and a slice of lemon
Buy: £11.20 from Portugal Vineyards

 

2. Portal Fine White Port

Taste: Lemons, apricots honey and nuts
Serve: Lots of ice, tonic and a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint
Buy: £15.99 from Bin21

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4. Graham’s Fine White Port

Taste: Grapefruit and delicate almond
Serve: Lots of ice, tonic, slice of lemon and a sprig of mint
Buy: £13 on Amazon

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5 Tonics you need to try with your gin

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I don’t think there can possibly be a better pairing than the classic Gin & Tonic: the perfect double act. Despite it seeming simple, creating the ultimate gin and tonic is actually quite easy to get wrong. Gin has become so incredibly popular over the last few years, and there is so much choice. Whilst it may take a while to choose your desired gin, ¾ of the nations favourite is made up of tonic, so this is crucial too.

Before we point out some incredible tonic waters, let’s go through a few tips to find the perfect combinations. The gin you should select depends on what flavour profile you like. Personally I enjoy a juniper heavy gin, like Plymouth or Sipsmith. If you enjoy something a little more citrusy, how about Tanqueray 10? Perhaps you like floral botanicals, head for Hendrick’s or Bloom.

Your tonic water choice then depends on the gin. Junipery gins work wonderfully with a classic Indian Tonic, whereas delicate botanicals in floral gins are complimented by Elderflower Tonic. Gin’s with more savoury notes can work really well with a Mediterranean Tonic. For the G&T lover, you will know that Fever Tree really did revolutionise the way we see tonic. They discovered that the majority of tonics before didn’t have great quality ingredients. Fever Tree spent a lot of time developing their recipe and ever since, more companies have upped their game.

Classic Schweppes or even a supermarket own brands is now frowned upon by serious gin drinkers. So here are five awesome tonic waters which will seriously jazz up and improve your G&T skills.

1. Double Dutch Cranberry Tonic Water

Double Dutch have a range of tonic waters and mixers which are all delicious. Their Cranberry Tonic with Ginger is designed to pair the astringency of quinine with the perfectly balanced sweet’n’sour of cranberry. The warm ginger adds a spiciness which lingers. It has a light summery aroma and was created in collaboration with Maison Hennessy Cognac to be the soul mate for all dark spirits. However, it works perfectly with many gins out there. Get experimenting!

2. Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water

This is one of my favourite tonics from Fever Tree. It surprisingly mixes nicely with most gins on the shelf. By blending the essential oils from the flowers, fruits and herbs, along with the highest quality quinine, Fever Tree created a delicate, floral, crystal clear tonic. Definitely one to try in the sunshine.

3. Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom Tonic

I do get attracted to anything pink, however this tonic is seriously unique. It combines the lightness of tonic with an aromatic bouquet of cherry blossom. This Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom tonic works wonders with a bit of Hendricks. 

4. Merchant’s Heart Pink Peppercorn Tonic

This Merchant's Heart tonic keeps the bitterness of quinine but has a soft, fruity spice of pink peppercorn. It works really well with gins that have sweeter botanicals. It’s quite unlike any other tonic out there.

 

5. East Imperial Grapefruit Tonic

If you like a dry G&T, East Imperial have created a partnership of two exotic flavours. It delivers a citrus balance and is also very low in sugar. In particular, it pairs well with London dry and citrusforward gins.

Enjoy experimenting and cheers!

 

*Images have been taken from the brands own websites, click on them to be redirected for more information on each tonic featured in this post.