We pit London and Bristol against each other to see which city should take the cocktail crown…

Cocktail Week

It is definitely autumn. How can we tell? Well for a start, it’s decidedly wetter than it used to be – and we’re not just talking about the weather: October is awash with cocktails. The beginning of the month saw London’s best cocktail bars celebrating London Cocktail Week with offers galore and unusual and experimental treats for cocktail connoisseurs. This week, the spirit of revelry has moved south to Bristol where speakeasies are infiltrating the city and cocktail culture is rife.

London Cocktail Week & Bristol Cocktail Week

Bristol’s Cocktail Week is now in its fourth year and, reflective of the scene, is ever growing. This year, cocktail lovers are not only invited to take part in the good times but to vote for their favourites. Well, what festival is complete without a good competition? That’s why we’ve picked some of the best bits from London and pitted them against the coming Bristol events.

Hendricks Boneshaker

Highlight from London Cocktail Week:
Hendrick’s let loose their Boneshaker onto the streets of London. No, it’s not Halloween come early; it’s a whole other spirit they are shaking up. Harnessing the simple power of wheels and cogs, the Boneshaker could produce six different gin-based tipples, shaken to perfection. It was a beautiful beast, hunted down by eager Londoners keen to drink from the river of cocktails on the pavement of Earlsham Street beside Brooks B1886 Hendrick’s Bar. The contraption had the charming appeal of an Edwardian-style vintage invention: all wheels and cogs and higgledy-piggledy levers, but its brilliance was undisputed. Using simple pedal power the Boneshaker could vigorously shake up a cocktail to order before you could tuck your thumbs into those waistcoat pockets. The famous Ramos Gin Fizz originally took 12 ‘shaker boys’ up to 12 minutes to whizz up this blended brew to perfection. It took the Boneshaker a matter of seconds.


Can Bristol match it?
Continuing on the cocktail tour, Hendrick’s are making an appearance too at Bristol’s Averys, with another quirkily historical offering: ‘Gin through the ages’. Those on the road to cocktail heaven can travel through time and experience what has been heralded as an ‘extravaganza’ of gin. In true Hendrick’s style the weird and the wonderful will be on display, with plenty of artefacts and curiosities to tickle your fancy. Can there be a better location than the Averys of Bristol? With historic vaulted cellars and a shop dating back to the 18th Century, it’s the perfect environment to let heady blends infuse your senses and give over to the weird and the wonderful. Not to mention the cocktails are free once you’re inside (I think that tops London!).

When is this spectacular event? Sat 25th October at Averys of Bristol, Park Street.


Highlight from London Cocktail Week:
A cocktail on everyone’s lips this London Cocktail Week was Floridita’s Casa tobacco cocktail. Casa is home to the widest selection of Cuban cigars in the United Kingdom and boasts an exclusive cigar humidor and cocktail lounge that would please the most discerning of gentlemanly drinkers. Serving up a Tobacco Old Fashioned, furnished with an ominous-looking tobacco leaf, was a trick that really stole the show. History, style and a bit of fun all muddled up to make for a cocktail worth shouting about. Of course, it had made the taste test too, and that’s what it’s all about, right? A blend of Bacardi 8, Angostura aromatic bitters and homemade tobacco bitters made this cocktail a rich, manly, Cuban delight. Whiskers and smoking jacket preferred.


Can Bristol match it?
1930s Cuba is joining the party, in the sophisticated haven of Art Deco style that is Mauretania. It’s been hidden away from Bristol’s scene for a wee while but it’s making a stylish come back. Originally named after the HMS Mauretania, and boasting Bristol’s first moving neon sign, it’s an establishment which is well and truly woven into the fabric of this city’s drinking history. Step inside now and you’ll find it dripping with chandeliers, swag curtains and cocktails galore. The evening is the whole Cuban package: follow the 30s beat for a night of Caribbean delights, Cuban music and cocktails.

When is this hip-swinging cocktail party? Fri 24th Oct at Mauretania, Park Street.


Highlight from London Cocktail Week:
Oskars at Dabbous have been shaking up a cider-based cocktail called the Combine Harvester. Somerset Cider Brandy, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, apple, maraschino, lemon and manuka honey are muddled in a musky haze of countryside flavours. But can it beat the offering in home of cider?

Hyde & Co

Can Bristol Match It?
A free evening of Somerset Cider Brandy tasting is on the cards at Hyde and Co. Be prepared for a little taste of everything to get you going. Carefully guided through never-ending orchards of un-aged eau de vies, apple aperitifs and 15-year-aged cider brandy, all explained and relished, will have you firmly in the mood to try them in out in one of the many cocktails. Rosy cheeks required at Bristol’s hippest prohibition bar.

Where can I find this West-Country knees-up? Tuesday 21st October at 7pm at Hyde and Co., The Basement, Upper Byron Place (keep your eyes open and your wits about you).

Burleighs Gin

Highlight from London Cocktail Week:
London Cocktail Week is clearly a gin-lover’s paradise. Follow the creaking, cocktail-spurting Boneshaker into the forest and there among the gin-gin trees lurked expert brewer and distiller Jamie Baxter, amid foraged botanicals and classic English gin. ‘Growing Gin in the Woods’ was his fabulous masterclass in Burleigh’s Gin, with everything you needed to know about the delicate flavours and careful craft of gin-making, alongside some apt cocktails from the Burleigh’s pop-up at Merchant House. What better way to complete a masterclass than with a woodland-inspired cocktail?

Milk Thistle

Can Bristol Match it?
Can Bristol match the London gin frolics with a ball in celebration of a gin not even on the market yet? The Milk Thistle is hosting the Jinzu Gin Ball – and how wonderfully that rolls off the tongue. The East-meets-West evening of decadence is held in honour of Jinzu, one of the newest gins to hit the shelves (and our cocktails) offering a unique blend of gin and sake. Not only that, but the gin has been created and brewed by Bristol’s Dee Davis from The Milk Thistle and Hyde and Co. family. It’s a free event and there will be canapés aplenty to accompany the flowing cocktails.

You shall go to the ball: Thurs 23rd Oct, The Milk Thistle, Colston Avenue.

Favourite Cocktail

Our top cocktail from London Cocktail Week: 
The Bacon and Egg Martini: Jack Daniels Old No. 7 infused with bacon, mixed with maple syrup, orange bitters and a little lemon juice. Served at London Cocktail Club, Shoreditch.

Emma Cullen

Emma Cullen

Emma is the best person.

More Posts

Posts you might like

fed up and drunk