Feeling thirsty? October is the month for you.
London Cocktail Week, the annual celebration of all things mixological, has upped the ante again for 2021 and is once again spread across the entire month.
Some of the capital’s best bars are involved, offering a tantalising array of specially crafted £7 cocktails, all of which will be revealed with the purchase of a London Cocktail Month wristband - get yours here.
There are plenty of boozy events to keep things well-oiled, too, from masterclasses to book clubs to food pairing menus. Here, we’ve picked out the best of them.
The Essence House
Still searching for the perfect cocktail? This event gets all scientific to help you find just that. Attendees will undergo a series of aroma and taste tests — as well as learning about the impact of “effervescence, temperature and garnish” — before enjoying a bespoke cocktail made according to each individual palate.
£20, Carriage Hall, 29 Floral Street, WC2, until Oct 24
The London Cocktail Trail
One for the intrepid cocktail-hunters. Go looking for nine specially crafted cocktails, found in bars from Bethnal Green to Clapham and costing £7 each, and get a stamp on your map each time you snag one. Collect all the stamps and you’ll get a £50 bar tab to spend at the London Cocktail Club.
Various venues, until Oct 31
Who could say no to free tacos? Each time you order a Patrón margarita at this east London cocktail bar, you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary bite. It’s a winning deal as far as we’re concerned — and your mum will be pleased that you’re not drinking on an empty stomach.
Free entry, Satan’s Whiskers, 343 Cambridge Heath Road, E2, every Tuesday
The World’s Most Rubbish Bar
Discarded grape skin and banana peel are among the “rubbish” turned into delicious cocktails at this eco-minded bar. It’s helmed by a zero-waste spirits brand, Discarded Spirits Co, and the creations have been dreamt up by the likes of Silo, Lyaness and The Nomad. What’s more, all proceeds go to anti-waste charity, the Felix Project.
£20, The Ditch, Old Street, EC1, Oct 15-17
Barley & Beats
Consider yourself a whisk(e)y know-it-all? Prove that you know your mash from your malt in this pub quiz dedicated to the spirit. Teams of up to six will pool their knowledge for questions on different flavours of the drink, with some added quizzing on music and culture to spice things up.
£10 (inc. four drinks; £3 without), Black Rock Tavern, 9 Christopher Street, EC2, Oct 7
Lush Life Book Club
Dive into an evening of cocktail history, recipes and, of course, drinking at this weekly book club. Hosted by Susan Schwartz, author of A Lush Life Manual and the Lush Life Podcast, along with authors who know a thing or two about crafting a top-notch tipple. There’s a free cocktail on entry, with the chance to enjoy a signature drink inspired by the guest’s work later on.
Free entry, Oriole, East Poultry Avenue, EC1, Oct 13, 19, 26
Fords Gin Martini and Oysters
Gin fan? Also partial to the odd oyster? Enjoy them together at this series of events across a handful of London bars. Fords Gin is the brand on hand to whip up the martinis, with fresh oysters ready to be shucked.
£7, The Hide, 39-45 Bermondsey Street, SE1, Oct 14 / £15, The Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT, Oct 21
Rum Cocktail Masterclass with Brugal
Hone your cocktail-making skills with the help of Dominican Republic rum brand Brugal. You’ll be eased in by the bar team, who will prepare four cocktails for you to enjoy while also exploring the techniques they’re using to create them. Then, it’s your turn: get behind the bar and put your newfound knowledge to the test.
£50, 69 Colebrooke Row, N1, Oct 9
All About The Squash
It might not be one of gastronomy’s most storied combos, but this food-pairing event is out to prove that squash and vodka works like a charm. A collaboration between South Kensington restaurant Publiq. and Belvedere Vodka, the five-course menu will showcase a variety of squash-centric dishes, each paired with a bespoke cocktail.
£75, 1d Palace Gate, W8, Oct 13
Whisky, doughnuts and banging tunes — that’s what’s on the menu every Wednesday throughout October at London Bridge bar Nine Lives. The drams come courtesy of The Singleton and Talisker, the sweet treats will be served by Crosswtown, and the vinyl-only music selection will be spun by London club favourites Secretsundaze.
Free entry, Nine Lives, 8 Holyrood Street, SE1, every Wednesday
The Five Star Dive Bar
Two superb cocktail bars — London's Lyaness and Barcelona's Two Schmucks — come together for this international collab. It'll all take place at the former's South Bank site, with eight special cocktails on the menu: four of which are a joint effort between the two bars, and the others a sneak peak at the new menu set to be served back in Spain later this month.
Free entry, Lyaness, 20 Upper Ground, SE1, Oct 7-8