Preview: London Cocktail Week 2022
The 13th London Cocktail Week will return this month with a quartet of mini hubs set up in the capital, each offering exciting pop-ups and events.
It’s the blueprint for city‐based cocktail festivals the world over – London Cocktail Week is the original metropolitan on‐trade drinks celebration.
Despite now being in its 13th year, the bar‐led celebration is showing no signs of fatigue, returning for 2022 with new and innovative activations, events, masterclasses and, of course, cocktails from some of the leading bars in the capital.
Once again co‐founders Hannah Sharman‐ Cox and Siobhan Payne have played fast and loose with the word ‘week’, with this year’s city‐wide festival spanning over 11 days – including two weekends – from 13 October.
The London Cocktail Week wristband is yet again set to be the season’s hottest accessory, gaining the wearer access to £7 signature cocktails in 300 of the best bars in the capital. Hospitality workers are entitled to claim a complimentary wristband via the website, while for everyone else, they will be priced at £15.
Each participating bar will offer cocktails curated exclusively for the event, made with spirits from the festival’s brand partners, which this year include the Amber Beverage Group, Brown‐Forman, Rémy Cointreau, and Pernod Ricard portfolios, among others.
The festival will also see activations and participation from independent brand partners, including mixer producers such as The London Essence Company, Franklin & Sons, and Intune CBD Mixer, and non‐alcoholic brands comprising the likes of Everleaf, Crossip, and Seedlip.
As in previous years, bars have been asked to create low‐and‐no cocktails to satisfy drinkers who prefer to avoid alcohol or limit their intake of it. Each cocktail in this category will be offered at a lower price point to match the lower ABV.
While in previous years the heart of London Cocktail Week could be found at the expansive Cocktail Village in east London’s Brick Lane, this year the organisers have chosen to divide and conquer, adding four Little Cocktail Villages to the line‐up in place of the one central hub.
Dotted across the capital, the four ‘micro‐ hubs’ will each host their own line‐up of immersive pop‐up bars that will be showcasing a mixture of their own signature serves, as well as cocktails created exclusively for the celebration.
The first can be found at Borough Yards, the vibrant new destination next door to world‐famous Borough Market. Based in and around a series of restored and reconceived railway arches, the brand new development is a two‐minute walk from London Bridge station, with world‐class bars and restaurants on its doorstep.
For the duration of the festival, this is where Tequila brand Herradura will be showcasing its Extraordinary World, a sensory tunnel where guests can discover an explosion of colour, scent and sound, with Latino music, DJs, magicians, and masterclasses on hand to keep guests entertained.
Visitors will also be able to stop by The House of Classic Cocktails to find their favourite core serves in one place – from Margaritas, Martinis, Old Fashioneds, and Daiquiris – made with brands including Rémy Martin Cognac, Cointreau, The Botanist Gin, Mount Gay Rum, and Bruichladdich Scotch whisky.
As one of the largest pedestrianised areas in the West End, Covent Garden is packed with vibrant bars and world‐class restaurants, which will be taking part in the festival. As a natural meeting point for any post‐work or weekend rendezvous, this experiential playground is the perfect location for the second of the Little Cocktail Villages, and is ideally positioned for easy access to multiple events throughout the festival.
This is also where Amber Beverage UK will be hosting the full portfolio of its brands, with one of the highlights being the launch of Rooster Rojo Tequila’s new expression, Ahumado. Visitors will get an exclusive first taste at its pop‐up on the Piazza, hosted by the brand’s ambassador and master distiller.
Both city‐slickers and East‐End revellers are catered for at the third Little Cocktail Village, located in Devonshire Square, tucked between Liverpool Street station and Spitalfields. This thriving campus, based around an 18th‐century warehouse complex, will be where Five Rivers Rum will be serving a selection of delicious Indian cocktails and snacks from its luxurious pop‐up Diwali bar, which will be bathed in colourful lanterns and candlelight.
The final Little Cocktail Village in the collection will be located in Eccleston Yards, one of London’s discreet gems in the centre of the historic Belgravia neighbourhood. Visitors will find the El Bandarra Granny Spritz Bar in this corner of London, as well as the Mirror Margarita Bar from the team behind London’s acclaimed agaveria, Hacha.
At the former, the Barcelona‐based team will be serving up aperitivos with an OAP edge, while at the latter, guests can take a trip into the hall of mirrors to find out which agave spirit is best suited to their Mirror Margarita.
Entry to each of the Little Cocktail Villages is completely free, but those wristbands will come in handy for people hoping to secure some cheaper drinks while there.
Our LCW Highlights
Official Opening Party
Exclusively for members of the trade, the official late‐night opening party for London Cocktail Week will kick off at Silverleaf from 10pm, with guest appearances from some of the best bars from around the globe.
The drinks menu, created in partnership with Hendrick’s, will feature enchanting under‐ the‐sea‐inspired serves by the teams from Edinburgh’s Panda & Sons, Germany’s Trisoux bar, and Mo Bar from Singapore.
San Pellegrino Piazza Bar
Italian drinks brand San Pellegrino will make its debut at London Cocktail Week this month with a pop-up bar at Devonshire Square.
The company will showcase its new premium mixers range, created in collaboration with bartenders. Drink on offer at the Italian-inspired piazza include Milano Mule, Wood Collins and Light Buongiorno, all made with Italian ingredients.
The World’s Most Rubbish Disco
While some might consider a rubbish disco to mean a lack of ABBA and a broken glitterball, for the teams at Discarded Spirits and Nine Lives, it means a riotous night of drinks and music accompanied by a waste‐not‐want‐not ethos. Alongside sustainably-led cocktails and epic music, there will be a vintage dress‐up swap shop and a charity auction, with all of the proceeds going to The Felix Project, a London charity fighting hunger and food waste.
The team at Discarded Spirits will also take over the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s Southbank for two-hour sessions.
Alongside zero-waste cocktails and how-to talks on creating your own sustainable drinks, there will be bins ‘transformed into discos’ and the opportunity to try out ‘the world’s biggest Rubbish Cocktail’ straight out of the bin.
Hawaiian Party at Laki Kane
London Cocktail Week will be coming to you via Hawaii at this tropical escape party hosted at Islington’s tiki‐tastic rum bar. Laki Kane, known for its carnival‐like theatrics, will be hosting industry veteran Gabrielle Maser for a night of Hawaiian flavours, in collaboration with Bacardí rum and Patrón Tequila.
London being a multicultural melting pot, it wouldn’t be right to celebrate the city’s bar scene without inviting its friends from around the country and overseas to showcase how they do things in their neck of the woods.
On the Southbank, Colombian hotspot Alquimico will be transforming Lyaness into a hub of South American flavours and ingredients on 13 and 14 October.
On 22 and 23 October, New York’s Katana Kitten will be bringing its hybrid bar concept to Silverleaf. The half American dive, half Japanese Highball bar will be partnering with single malt Scotch brand Aberfeldy to illuminate the world of whisky through a mix of concoctions.
Meanwhile Paris’s Lulu White will be swapping the winding streets of Montmartre for the Irish pub vibes of The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green on 19 October, with cocktails created using Dewar’s whisky.