Here's what I enjoyed at Cocktails In The City - London 2019

It’s that time of year again where I attend the drinksdustry’s (just made that up, totally sticking with it) greatest cocktail event, sample far too many creations than any medical professional would surely recommend and then publish increasingly poor photos of them on here. That’s right, I went to Cocktails In The City again.

This time CITC London was held at a different venue, swapping out a beautiful converted 19th century church for the grittier, grimier, more urban setting of The Vaults in London Waterloo. It was louder, rowdier, crowdier... and, readers, I’ve never felt more disdain for my fellow man. But then, it’s all about the drinks anyway, so here’s a rundown of what I had.

Rhu-Barbie (The Four Sisters)

Rebel Yell Rye Whiskey, apricot, rhubarb sherbet, Sassy Rose cidre, candy floss
My first drink of the evening and, yes, I was completely swayed by the huge swathe of candy floss on top (which eventually dissolved to form a tasty sugar rum on the glass.

The Botanist Brew (Cahoots)

The Botanist Gin, allotment mix, lemon, rocket tincture, topped with Fentimans Gently Sparkling Elderflower
Cahoots brought a fun garden theme to their usual war-time period setting and this gin cocktail came with a frisson of extra novelty in that garnishes were chosen at a stall filled with live herbs and cut by a gardener/man with scissors.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble (London Cocktail Club)

Bacardi Spiced, Briottet Creme de Cassis, cinnamon, jam, apple, lemon & a drizzle of custard
London Cocktail Club took dessert cocktails to a new level with their stand offering sweet and biscuit themed drinks to tie in with their new Kitchen Cocktails recipe book. This seemed to be the most popular bar at the whole event, which probably had nothing to do with all the free sweets and biscuits.

Negroni Flight Tray (Atrium Bar - Florence)

Negroni: Campari, Bulldog Gin, Cinzano 1757 Rosso
Prima: Campari, Bulldog Gin, Varnelli Anisette Liqueur, espresso coffee, Cinzano 1757 Rosso
Dopo: Campari, Espandin Mezcal, Wild Turkey, Cinzano 1757 Rosso, smoked and pressed pineapple
What’s better than a Negroni? THREE Negronis... albeit miniature ones in the form of a flight tray. With some popcorn on the side. There were two sets of variants, one created by London’s Demon, Wise and Partners, and one by Florence’s The Atrium Bar (which I opted for), and you could choose either set or a mix of both so I suppose any suggestion of a competition between the two bars was largely arbitrary.

1944 Mai Tai (Trader Vic’s)

Gold and dark rum, orgeat syrup, orange curacao
fresh lime, fresh lemon, rock candy sugar
Trader Vic’s had a range of tropical cocktails on offer, but when the rep for Trader Vic’s tells you that Trader Vic’s invented the Mai Tai and strongly suggests you get the Mai Tai, you get the Mai Tai. Absolutely no regrets either - one of the best drinks of the night.

Saint Lucy (Laki Kane)

Mount Gay XO, Muscat Dessert Wine, chocolate wine, Saliza Amaretto, vanilla extract, dehydrated banana and unsalted yoghurt blended and clarified, served straight with espresso dark chocolate
I had my eye on this one before I even got to the event. Those flavours! Those ingredients! That list of things directly above this paragraph! It ended up being an incredible combination and my favourite cocktail of the whole night. So of course I failed to get a decent picture of it.

5 O'Clock (Novikov Restaurant & Bar)

Grey Goose Vodka, Aqua Di Cedro, Yuzu Sake, Whittard Toffee Apple Tea, ginger, macadamia syrup, citrus foam
I’ll be honest, it was the citrus foam that sold me on this, but I’m glad I tried it, because it was a perfectly delicious cocktail, and the tea really came through for an unusual flavour. And, yes, the foam was delightful.

Buttered Rum (Camm & Hooper)

Zacapa 23-Year-Old Solera Rum, Creamery Butter, Madagascan vanilla, demerara sugar, star anise, Angostura bitters
I was a little blindsighted by this one because I didn’t realise when I ordered that this drink - along with the Old Fashioned that Camm & Hooper also had on offer - was pre-mixed and bottled. It was a perfectly lovely drink, but I still feel like I missed out on the experience of a shake-and-make. This presumably says more about me than the drink.

Espresso Martini (London Cocktail Club)

Grey Goose, Tia Maria, fresh coffee & a dash of sugar
A normal espresso martini, but with some Bourbon biscuits.
There you go. Check out the Cocktails In The City website to keep track of when and where they’ll be next, and I’ll no doubt be back with another round-up following their London Summer event where hopefully there will be fewer people and better toilets.

Tags: Cocktails In The City, Bars

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