This week is London Cocktail Week – seven days of workshops, tastings, pop-ups, and drink offers. There’s far too much going on to be able to sample everything, so my friends and I have decided to stick to the cocktail tours on the website. This is how we got on.
Paramount lives on the 32nd floor of Centre Point. Until recently it was a members-only club, and the entrance procedure remains quite hush-hush; you need to be on the guest list, you need to give your name on arrival and an operator will put you in the lift and tap in a code to get you up there. I can understand why they don’t want this place to be made available to the unwashed masses. With amazing panoramic views of London, appropriate level lighting, and an impressive drinks list, it’s the sort of place you would want to make an effort for. And the fact that the clientele had made the experience even better.
Our cocktail was a curious orange-gin-elderflower mix, with added vinegar and Noilly Prat. It was a slow drink, with several layers of aftertaste. I’m not quite sure if I liked it, but the experience of being at Paramount was worth any displeasure with the cocktail.
I’d been to Circus before, so knew what to expect from the venue. It is essentially a high-end restaurant with Big Top-style entertainment. The eating area has a long waiting list, but the show can be enjoyed for free from the bar area. Food is expensive, but drinks are reasonable, with glasses of wine from £5.
Circus were offering a similar cocktail to Paramount, but with decidedly fewer frills. Gin, an earl grey liqueur, and lemon juice made up the bulk of this drink, which came with a marshmallow perched on top. This was perhaps one of the few venues that was making the most of LCW by showing off the best of their talents. The drink certainly suited the venue, and was good enough for us to order a second round – for the first time all week.
3). Dial Bar
They had “run out” of their sponsored spirit. This was baffling, so we left
Again, an old favourite with a decent offering for LCW. Detroit doesn’t look like much when you arrive. The walls are garish, the seating basic, and you might be mistaken for thinking that this were a student bar. But the bartenders certainly know their stuff.
Making the most of London Cocktail Week, Detroit offered us one of the signature sours from their menu.
This Michelin-starred restaurant would usually be above and beyond my budget, but the LCW offer found us winding up the night in their top floor salon, leisurely sipping (suitably) Prohibition-era Mary Pickfords (light rum, pineapple juice, pomegranate grenadine & Maraschino liqueur) until long after the tubes had shut. This stop, if not this evening, made the entire event worth it. It was a chance to sample something a little exotic from a connoisseur of the field – quite a treat!