Preview: London Cocktail Week

A sign of its popularity, Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris will make the trip to the UK for the first time in seven years to attend the event. Morris will join UK brand ambassador Tom Vernon to take part in trade events, tasting and seminars. Nidal Ramini, head of advocacy at Brown-Forman says: “Having the master of bourbon here to talk about the brand he lives and breathes will help generate appreciation for the category.”

The masterclass schedule kicks off on Monday with the Vestal Voyages  (World’s First Floating Distillery). Aboard this floating pop-up bar and distillery, Mr VV invites cocktail lovers to take an evening canal ride in a 50ft classic cruiser stern Liverpool canal boat. Setting sail from Kings Cross, The Vestal Voyages emerges in Islington after an hour-long Vestal Vintage Collection sipping experience. On Tuesday, The Ketel One & Sonic at the Studio is appealing to the senses as soundscape masterclasses take visitors on a “sensory experience through the liquid to send you to a heightened taste and sonic”. Suitably satisfied, the audience will then learn how to make two Ketel One cocktails.  

For trade-only events and white writstband wearers, Monin has teamed up with Jet Chill – the first dry ice drinks system – in its new Monin studio, London to showcase how the latest Jet Chill system operates in a three hour-long Monin & Jet Chill- Smoking Cocktails masterclass. Jet Chill directors Colin Myers and Robert Flunder will talk through the machines cocktail capabilities with James Coston, Monin UK brand ambassador. 

RumFest returns for its fifth consecutive year. The Boutique RumFest in association with Cork Supply Company will celebrate newly-emerged distilleries and offer a platform for them to showcase their products with a whole host of independent rum brands, importers and distilleries. Rum forums will be held for the first time with topics such as So, You Want to Import a Rum Brand? led by The Cocktail Lovers and What Makes a Rum Premium? hosted by Smuggler’s Cove-owner Martin Cate. 

Lucas Bols global brand ambassador John Clay will take centre stage and explore the evolution of menus and drinks presentation at I Want One of Those on Tuesday at Bartenders’ Centre.  

Michael Vachon of Maverick Drinks will explore the way bars can support growth and development with their portfolio of brands in How Much Can You Support? on Friday. The same day, Zdenek Kastanek will discuss the impact living within different cultures can have on the adult mind, character and general views of life in Nomadic Bartender. 

What Does it Take to Be One of The World’s 50 Best Bars is a newcomer. The seminar on Tuesday is chaired by The World’s 50 Best Bars editor, Hamish Smith and will discuss the skill, creativity and professionalism required to reach the top 50. 

A Short History of Long Drinks and How They Changed the World takes place on Tuesday. The seminar will cover how the first cure for malaria turned into one of the most celebrated cocktails, the G&T, to the lesser-known origins of the Cuba Libre. Moscow’s role in popularising vodka in the US and the birth of Mamie Taylor are also hot topics at the debate led by Fever-Tree’s Craig Harper – as he takes time away from the G&T safari – and special guests at 16:30-17:30.