I have always thought of cocktails as something sophisticated. Something to do in a bar with soft music playing or to be enjoyed before a meal with friends. But my view on cocktails was all changed on one crazy night this summer.
I had learned from my university about a cocktail event called “Cocktails in the City” that was happening in London and for purely educational purposes (wink), a friend and I decided to go on the last night. A collection of restaurant and hotel bars were showing off their new creations. It was held in the strangest of places, an old church, which is the last place I expected to see cocktails being served.
As we stepped in we were met by a vast, bustling crowd, all of whom held various coloured cocktails. Coloured lights lit up the churches’ alter and the walls and many of the staff were wearing interesting costumes as part of themed bars. It was all mad and crazy and fun!
We made a few circuits of the various bars before deciding on a cocktail with a chocolate and rum combination served in a metal cup, filled to the brim with crushed ice and topped with cranberries. The drink was delicious as the chocolate mellowed out the bitter taste of the rum. I did find holding the drink a bit difficult as the metal cup soon became too cold to hold.
Throughout the course of the evening we both tried several drinks and each sipped the other’s beverage, but our favourite of the evening was a cocktail called the Drunken Berries served by the Whisky Ginger bar. It contained plum liquor, Jameson Caskmates, which is a type of Irish whiskey, basil syrup, vanilla bitter and topped with a blackberry and basil leaf. I loved this drink, as I find anything that contains basil and blackberry irresistible. I found the combination new and refreshing. The basil helped to add savoury notes into the drink and reduce the intense sweetness of the plum liquor. Often I find cocktails to be dominated by the taste of alcohol, however the Drunken Berries did not have this problem. I could have easily consumed a few more of these and not known that it was an alcoholic drink as it was so enjoyable and refreshing in this hot venue.
This event changed how I see cocktails. It does not just have to be a sophisticated event but can also be crazy and fun as well. There are a few more of these events happening in the UK and I recommend for those of you looking for a good time to go to these as it will be a night to remember. You also get a chance to discover new bars and restaurant that you can go visit afterwards.
Credit for header image goes to Cocktails in the City Gallery.