5 Must-Have Drinks for London Cocktail Week
London Cocktail Week (3-9 October) is in full swing. Good timing, we say, with these darker evenings in danger of ruining our lingering summer buzz.
Cocktails are a great way of remembering the best (and worst – but let’s stick with the best, shall we?) sun-drenched days of your life - whether it was a sangria-soaked Spanish getaway, or mojito-fuelled adventure in Cuba. So in the week when you’ll get the best cocktail deals all year, here’s oour guide to the best of the world’s sundowners, and where to find them in the capital.
Sangria – Spain
It might seem like the most obvious cocktail on our list, but the delights of sangria didn’t reach an international audience until as late as 1964, when it was introduced at the World’s Fair in New York. Head to Camino – a stone’s throw from Monument Tube station – for possibly the best sangria in London. You know it’s going to be great because the whole concept of the restaurant is based on a life-changing Spanish road trip in the summer of 1984. And if Monument isn’t your neighbourhood, fear not: there are five other outlets across the city.
Pisco sour – Peru
Chile and Peru tend to fight a little over the nationality of this drink but, having done my research, I suspect Peru has the edge. If you can get over the fact that it contains raw egg white (just drink it, it’s worth it), this zesty sour promises a good night all round. Find a great one at Pachamama in Marylebone, where half the cocktail list is dedicated to pisco.
Caipirinha – Brazil
There’s no debate over the origin of the caipirinha – it’s Brazil’s national drink. However, it’s had a bit of a change of direction since its early days when, some reports suggest, it was created with honey, lime and garlic as a cure for the Spanish flu! It’s much more suited to the cocktail bars of London, however, so we suggest heading to Camden’s aptly named Made in Brasil, where you’ll find 12 variations and will likely become a true connoisseur by the end of the night.
Piña colada – Puerto Rico
Who doesn’t love the Caribbean combination of pineapple and coconut? And when you consider that the piña colada allegedly owes its existence to a 19th-century Peurto Rican pirate who invented it to boost his crew’s morale, I think we can fall in love with it all over again. Anyway, if that hasn’t done the trick, we’ve found a place that’ll re-inspire you with the updated hipster version: a fermented colada. This concoction of rum, clarified pineapple juice and coconut water served in a frosty pineapple was described by Country and Town House as the “the most charming of all” the drinks available at Tonic and Remedy – the food and cocktail venue at M by Montcalm Hotel in Shoreditch.
Mojito – Cuba
We wouldn’t be doing cocktail week justice without ending our journey in the Caribbean. Possibly the oldest drink on the list, and with arguably the best pedigree too, the Cuban mojito was allegedly created in the 1500s when Sir Francis Drake landed in the city of Havana, intent on invasion. When he didn’t succeed, his associate created an early version called El Draque out of crude rum, sugar, mint and lime, so they could drown their sorrows in style. Now we can all do the same, I suggest winding up at The Lost Angel, Battersea, named by the Huffington Post as one of the best bars in the city to have a mojito.
Want more? Check out our round-up of London's Hottest Hotel Bars