After my visit to Scotland it was on to London.
After again a cancelled/delayed flight (or as the friendly staff at BA say “it’s not cancelled, that flight will take off at some stage”) I arrived in London. A very quick taxi to Convent Garden, to take my place on the judging table for the 42Below CWC UK heats. Not the worst way to start your London trip now is it!
The competition was great and some fantastic drinks were made. The winner (Team West London) and second place (Team Scotland) were well deserved but I have to make a special praise to the guys from the Liverpool team, their punch was amazing and truly entertaining in the cocktail round (maybe a little scary but entertaining never the less). The standard again for the competition was high and I am definitely looking for to seeing what the guys produce in the finals in Queenstown.
After the competition I meet up with old friend and room-mate for the week Mr Jack Hubbard (the legend). Off quickly to his place to again drop off my bags and out to dinner at E&O, if you have not had the pleasure of dinning their as yet do make a point of doing so. The food is amazing!
After dinner we went to Portobello Star to meet some of the local personalities and legends from around London. A few hours later we staggered back to Jacks to pass out. First night, complete!
The next day and very gingerly I toured around London, again to get my bearings and to find out where I would be working for the next three nights. It was Callooh Callay, to be a member of the 42Below pop up bar in the Jubjub Lounge. So there I was part of a team with the Professor Jacob Briars and Irish bar star and personality Alan Kavanagh (dressed in our special PINK Shirts).Our special blend of 42Below cocktails included the Corpse Reviver # Blue (only Mr Briars can claim that one) and the Manuka Swizzle. The first night seemed to attract all of the London legends and personalities, which was amazing to be honest. A very humbling experience when you get to serve your mentors!
It had been a while since I had been back to London (last there in 2007), what I have to mention is what I found to be the major difference this time – the support of the bartenders towards other bars and bartenders. It seems the culture of the community has changed for the better. Not that it was bad before, just great to see every one supporting each other. This for me is always a definite plus in our industry.
Highlight of the Visit
The definite highlight for me was my visit to Jack’s bar Montgomery Place. Fantastic bar, beautiful cocktails and Jack certainly carries though his passion for the craft exceptionally well.
Now unfortunately I did not get time to see many bars around due to working, however I did get to the RumFest (I think by all accounts the second day was far better) but then again you are surrounded by every rum made so it can’t be all that bad really.
Jacob managed to score me a ticket to the Bar awards which were entertaining to say the least, have to say great work Joey on Bartender of the Year and Bramble for Cocktail Bar of the Year.
All in all my experience of the UK was amazing, so may great bars and bartenders. Thanks to all of you had been amazing hosts and special thanks to Richard and Sean for the use of Jubjub (I hope we did your place justice). Hope to see you all soon and get myself too many bars around London.