This past week has been all about cocktails and with it being National Old Fashioned Week, Cocktails in the City at the Hub in Edinburgh this weekend (9-10 November) and the Lidl House of Hortus pop-up, it’s cocktails galore.
National Old Fashioned Week
It’s National Old Fashioned Week, an event that runs from 1-10 November. Launched in 2015 by Michael Landart of the Maria Loca bar in Paris, and Cyrille Hugon of Rhum Fest Paris & Marseille/Rumporter, Old Fashioned Week became a global event in 2017. Old Fashioned Week is an open festival which gives prominence to spirit connoisseurs’ favourite cocktail and bartenders’ creativity.
What is an Old Fashioned?
The oldest written recipe for an Old Fashioned (combining spirit, sugar and bitters) dates as far back as 1802. But it is only in 1895, in Modern American Drinks, a book by George J. Kappeler, that the “Brandy Old Fashioned” name appeared. In fact, by coining the name, Kappeler only described a habit – that of ordering a cocktail in the “old fashioned” style. It is now considered a classic.
An Old Fashioned Masterclass, thanks to Glen Moray
I joined other bloggers and whisky enthusiasts to learn how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail at Badger & Co, thanks to Glen Moray Distillery and Joel and Neil from Worldsbestspirits. It was such a fun evening with the ‘Ant & Dec’ of the spirits world, entertaining us with their informative raconteur and knowledge, before being set loose on fashioning our own creations.
With 10 bitters, 6 syrups, 4 Glen Moray expressions and 4 garnishes to choose from, the results were endless and all individual.
Even though I say it myself, I made a very passable Old Fashioned using muscovado sugar, chocolate bitters, Glen Moray Speyside and lots of ice from the Edinburgh Ice Company, garnished with orange peel and a very expensive but exquisite cherry from Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
What will grace your Old Fashioned?
New autumn cocktail menu at 1821
I also popped into Bar 1821 at the Wine House on Picardy Place on Thursday night to try the launch of their new season cocktails. Steven, 1821’s mixologist, has been busy creating some fabulous new offerings. There’s 16 to choose from.
In the interests of research, I tried five. My favourite was The Picardy Plum with amaretto, lime, and vanilla & plum Edinburgh gin. I also loved the New York Sour, made with Rittenhouse Rye, lemon, sugar with a red wine float. Served short over ice, whilst it goes against the old adage, ‘grape and grain, but never the twain’, it was a grown up drink and contrary to popular belief, didn’t give me a horrible hangover.
Cocktails in the City
If this blog post has got you dreaming of cocktails and where you might enjoy some this weekend, Cocktails in the City (CITC) will be in town.
CITC mixes together the cities finest cocktail bars under one roof in pop-up form. Sixteen of the city’s best bars will be taking part including the Blackbird, Bullard and Worth, Gaucho, Harvey Nichol’s Forth Floor Bar, Hawksmoor, Hoot the Redeemer, Juniper Bar, Nauticus, Nightcap, Pop Up Geeks and Voyage of Buck.
What you’ll be drinking?
Enjoy new signature cocktails created especially for the event, sample premium spirits from 30 hand-picked brands and try some of the non alcoholic cocktails also available at all the bars.
Sip your way through the city’s most inventive cocktails; adventure through the immersive Tasting Rooms hosted by 31Dover.com; take part in espresso martini masterclasses with Tia Maria & The Coffee Project; sample foraged botanic cocktails with the Botanist Gin.
Where do I sign up for Cocktail in The City?
It costs £12, which includes one cocktail and a cocktail booklet. Cocktails on the evening are £6.50 all night, from any of the participating bars. Buy your tickets from Cocktail in the City .
The Lidl House of Hortus
Meanwhile, I’ll be checking out the Lidl House of Hortus pop up this Friday in Castle Street, Edinburgh, a UK wide pop-up gin club, to coincide with its second Scottish Gin Festival. You had to be quick off the mark to get your tickets for this event and sadly they are sold out.
This event coincides with Lidl’s Scottish Gin Festival, which is on in its 96 Scottish stores. Eight artisan producers have brought more than nine different gins to Lidl’s stores, with seven of the gins exclusive to Lidl, including two stylish pink gins: Kinrara Rose & Cardamom Gin and Square Peg Pink Gin. It’s worth checking out for some fabulous gins at prices that won’t break the bank.
Wherever you will be drinking this weekend, slàinte!