Thursday, 13 September 2012

5 London Spirit Tastings To Fill Your Working Week

By Ross Kerslake

Want a Tipple, have a taste.

So many a time you sit in a bar and wonder what all the odd looking bottles are and quite what they taste like. Other times you know your preferred spirit category but you haven't had much of a chance to try them all. Unless you know a bar in London where you know everyone behind it, then you'll need to get yourself to the many tastings that are held around London. But beware, you'll have to keep on top of it as dates will vary and brands often educate the masses on their own.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ewan-M (Share Alike).

1) Juniper Society @ Graphic bar in Soho
Aptly named after the main ingredient, gin, this tasting has to be one of the most popular in London. Every few weeks a specific brand offers a presentation and tasting of their gin for everyone to try. Included in these enjoyable evenings is a welcome GnT with the gin of the night (or gins, plural, in case of Old Toms and Sloes). Afterwards, you can try a gin cocktail for only 5 clams. As a really attraction factor, these events are free.

Occasionally there are special events but there's no order to those. An example of this would be from several months ago when we spent the night sampling various tonics and being shown that certain gins are best with specific tonics. Another example would be the anniversary event which was hosted by Master of Malt, sampling their 'Origin Gin' and presenting a special present: a single cask. Attendees each took their turn to fill the cask with ingredients making a Negroni. The cask was then sealed and placed on the wall to age for 1 year.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ewan-M (Share Alike).

2) Tasting Tuesdays @ Jubjub in Callooh Callay cocktail bar in Shoreditch
Each month on a non-specific Tuesday Callooh Callay cocktail bar in Shoreditch holds tastings in it's private members bar, Jubjub, on the topic of absolutely anything. The best bet with these events is to subscribe to the newsletter then you've got a good heads up. But beware; despite it being free, Jubjub is small so capacity is limited to first come first served RSVP. Events so far have included La Clandestine and Butterfly Absinthe, Illegal Mezcal, Ocho Tequila and Martini. These tastings are probably the best in London, because it's always different and you can really diversify your palate.

3) Cigar Sampling Society @ Casa of Soho
If you don't already know, Casa of Soho is where cigar enthusiasts go to thrive. But most of you wouldn't ever consider it because, let’s face it, you probably don't smoke. This is chance to do something a little more wild and exciting. The sessions cost £15 that includes 1 cigar and a spirit pairing. In August the sampling consisted of a limited edition Partas D especial 2010 and Appleton Rum.
4) Tequila Tuesdays @ El Camion and the Pink Chihuahua
Enjoy tequila on a regular basis? Most people do, but do you know much about tequila, like that is shouldn’t be a shooter? Any idea where it comes from? While this event at Soho’s best basement bar, The Pink Chihuahua, primarily caters to those who already have a strong knowledge of tequila, it is more inclusive. If you're a newbie you'll learn enough to get you well on the road to becoming an Agave Academic. Each week a specific brand will present their tequila(s) and allow you to sample. This is one of the few tastings that charge but for one drastic difference; each session allows attendees to try a rare, one-of-a-kind tequila. This comes from a collection numbering over 300 bottles, worth around £10,000. The charge is £25 per person (includes food) but considering at the end of the night, you drink something you'll never have again, the juice is worth the squeeze.

5) Gerry's and Whisky Exchange.
Not in the same style as the others mentioned above, but very popular. On Fridays and Saturday's these two renowned purveyors of fine spirits provide a stage for various brands to show off their new or latest products. While Gerry's of Soho will only have 1 brand at a time, Whisky Exchange of London Bridge has had 3 at a time before. Highly convenient and it's great if you just want to stop in on your way by. If you catch a brand you like at Gerry's there's a tasting offer with a few quid off the rrp.

To discover cocktail, wine and Champagne master classes in London, click here.

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