The Swing – Five Stars from us!

Delicious tapas and imaginative cocktails make this a killer neighbourhood spot that you have to visit!

         Simply put, full flavour Pan Asian cuisine is what The Swing does best. With a selection of carefully crafted dishes that contrast textures and taste to delight the senses, we were seriously impressed by the food on offer.

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Dipping dat dough son.

A few highlights included the Miso Aubergine with yuzu, sesame and crunchy spring onion that was incredibly fragrant and moreish (we finished it way too quickly!), and the K-Buffalo Wings which we’re stickyfingerlicking good! The sauce on these bad-boys was the stuff of legend and honestly, we are still dreaming about it a few weeks later!

 

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A dark and mysterious stranger attracts our attention…

The cocktails on offer are an imaginative twist on classics created by owner Arjun Sahi who really knows his way around a bar. We visited to try the limited edition winner of the MONIN BarBarista Challenge, The Swinging Gentleman which was created from scratch in under 30 minutes by Arjun partnered with Anthony Khouri of The Gentleman Baristas. The drink is a complex and rich mix of Ron de Jeremy Rum, Cold Brew Coffee, Campari and MONIN Orange Spritz Syrup – it’s basically the best Negroni twist you’ll ever have, trust us 😉

The whole experience gave us huge satisfied bellies and heart eye emoji faces so if that sounds like something you want in your life then head to West Hampstead and get Swingin’!

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Mid-feast :3

Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin

Many people are familiar with Maraschino cherries, those delicious garnishes you cant help but savour at the bottom of some of your cocktails (no, not those cheap bright red ones that taste of nothing). Well, the maker of these delights, Luxardo, has finally decided to put the Marasca cherry pride of place by infusing Marasca cherry juice into their London Dry Gin for their new Sour Cherry Gin, and boy is it tasty.

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Fruit gins are becoming more popular as people tire of the traditional G&T with a slice of lime, and the sour cherry gin is a great new addition. We popped into the official launch to try out some drinks made with the gin, and had a blast!

The gin has a bright cherry flavour and intense aroma, alongside the juniper notes of the London Dry gin. Luxardo is the oldest family-owned
liqueurs company in Italy and now owns over 30,000 Marasca cherry trees in the Torreglian hills, near the home of Luxardo in
Padua, Northern Italy. This sour cherry variety is exclusively cultivated by Luxardo.

The Sour Cherry Gin is great in cocktails, thrown in a Negroni for a moreish twist, or with some tonic and a cinnamon stick for an autumnal G&T. Or try Luxardo’s suggestion of a Cherry Martinez: 45ml Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin, 30ml Sweet Vermouth, 5ml Luxardo Maraschino liquer and two dashes of bitters. Also tastes great on its own as well!

Check out some pictures of the event and drinks below (as well as one of our beaming mugs :)).

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Belsazar’s new Riesling Vermouth

With the sun shining, Belsazar launched their latest iteration of the beautifully balanced Riesling edition last week at The Aviary Bar with a killer batch of summery cocktails. In a sea of Hawaiian shirts, we found ourselves drinking ice cold ‘Friesling’ slushies, fruity pina coladas, classic martinis and more, all wrapped up in a tropical blast of dehydrated pineapple garnish. The masterful Callum O’Flynn kept us responsibly trashed as we partied the night away with friends and strangers, enjoying the sunset over London and clinking multiple glasses into the night.

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The Riesling-based edition packs a fruity punch, containing dried pineapple, grapefruit and peppermint – a suitably refreshing mix for such a light and floral vermouth. Working closely with renowned German winery Dr Loosen, this edition celebrates the subtle, acidic flavour of Reisling with a zingy tropical twist!

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Photo credit: Matt the List (http://www.mattthelist.com/)

It’s no secret that we’ve always been big fans of the Belsazar brand, often finding ourselves part of some impromptu event with a glass of vermouth in hand. We highly recommend trying this edition, whether you’re a vermouth connoisseur or looking to try something a little different. With this year set to be a big one for the vermouth industry, these guys are definitely up there as one of the top contenders for best vermouth.

Big shout out to Matt the List (http://www.mattthelist.com/) for the awesome photography. Check out his work here.

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Photo credit: Matt the List

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Just trying to look cool and nonchalant, no big deal…

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Dante NYC are back in London baby!

One of our favourite bars is back in London for one week only at the Ham Yard Hotel, and it is a must visit for any aperitivo fan!

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A selection of the drinks and nibbles avalable at the pop up

Dante, one of the world’s top award winning bars, has set up a residency for a week in Soho, and is serving up some of its signature banging cocktails. We went down to check it out at the weekend, it the guys did not disappoint. From summery takes on classics like the Pimms Cup, Martini, and of course their signature Negronis, there is something refreshing for everyone to try.

The original Caffe Dante opened on Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village in New York City in 1915, which at the time was mostly a Italian neighborhood. Italian immigrants would meet each other over coffees to discuss their homeland.

In 1971, Mario Flotta Sr. took over the space. The years since have seen famous faces like Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Dylan stopping by for a little piece of Italian charm.

The pop up runs until Sunday so hurry on down to drink the best aperitivos this side of Little Italy! Tickets are £20 including a welcome drink and can be bought on Design My Night or on the Ham Yard Hotel website. Scroll down for more pictures of the drinks, and as they say in Italian, Saluti!

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The signature Negroni, no denying that this is Dante’s handiwork!

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The ‘Summer 2018’ with Grey Goose vodka, Martini Rosato, fresh watermelon, strawberry, rhubarb and sparkling rosé, alongside the ‘Olivette’ and a Strawberry Negroni

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The delicious ‘Vermouth Cup’ with Martini Rossi Ambrato, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Peach, Spicy Ginger Beer and Bitters. SO refreshing

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Head Bartender Stacey absolutely slaying the Campari game

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A Gin Journey around the Mediterranean without leaving London!

With four key botanicals reaching across the Mediterranean Sea and captured in crystalline smooth form, there is no denying that Gin Mare packs a powerful punch. Reminiscent of cool evenings spent by gently lapping waves, the scent of olive groves and softly grilled meats rising from the nearby beach, this is truly a king among gin.

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One of the Martini serves along the journey…

Now, thanks to the perfect partnership between Gin Journey and Gin Mare, you can head to the Med without getting on a plane. Instead, ticket holders step aboard the Gini-Bus and take part in a three-stop dining extravaganza stopping at restaurants such as Camino, Brindisa, Arthur Hooper’s, Andina and more, with food and drink pairings at each stop and your very own Gin Guardian leading the way! You’ll have the chance to try three Gin Mare Serves which show the diversity and explorative spirit of this fantastic spirit, get a Gin Mare sample to take home, and leave with enough knowledge to impress your friends next time you’re at the bar.

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Some of the Mediterranean treats to keep you going!

We can’t recommend this experience enough not only for the fantastic tapas-style pairings and non-stop party vibe but for the interesting gin facts and mini-masterclasses you’ll have thrown at you along the way. As the website says, “the Mediterranean isn’t a place, it’s an attitude”.

Tickets available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/med-transfers-11149137452

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English Wine Week is here and Roast restaurant are giving people a chance to show off their skills

English Wine Week is upon us, and that gives us an excuse (not that we needed one) to try some great English wines!

What is English Wine Week you ask? Well, rather obviously, its a whole week dedicated to celebrating the great wines that the UK is producing (don’t hate on us Europe, you still make banging grape juice and all). Taking place between 26th May – 3rd June, this is the week to try something new from some English vineyards.

Think you have a nose for wine? Well you are in luck! Roast Restaurant in Borough Market are giving people the opportunity to show off their olfactory skills this week by pitting a selection of English wines against their European counterparts at an event on Tuesday 29th May.

Roast has one of the biggest wine lists in the game, with over 25% of their white wines coming from good old Blighty. If you think you can spot the English wine, they are hosting two events next week that will let you try to do just that. Guests will be invited to enter as a team and will be treated to a selection of small plates each paired with both an English and foreign wine and asked to identify the homegrown tipple for a chance to win a prize. With competition from Italy, France and Portugal, to name a few, the evening is bound to bring out the connoisseur in even the most amateur of wine tasters.

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Image: Roast Restaurant

Not only that, but the guys at Roast have also created a unique ‘Market Menu‘ celebrating the ‘Best of British’ in a partnership with Chapel Down, an English Winemaker from Kent.

We will be there on Tuesday trying to spot the English wines (and hopefully succeeding, at least a bit, we’ll take a 40% success rate or so!).

Tickets for the English Wine Week event are on sale now and will be priced at £55 per person, and the Chapel Market Menu is available daily for £40pp including wines.

Get your tickets now by contacting events@roast-restaurant.com or 020 3763 5329 to purchase tickets or for more information.

Small Beer, big impact

Small Beer has officially launched to huge success!

We’ve all had that moment after one too many beers the night before, where we wished we had had one less Guinness and one more glass of water. Or sitting in the office working late, wanting to crack open a brew but not lose focus. And yes, we know, there are alcohol free beers on the market, but they so often lack in taste and charisma that it isn’t long before we are reaching for another ‘proper’ beer. Plus, come on, what are we going to do, give up drinking?

Enter small beer – low alcohol beer that actually tastes great, and the guys at the Small Beer Co making it their mission to bring you tasty beers you can drink all night long without the hangover the next day.

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Low in alcohol, but high in flavour – Small Beer’s Lager

This low ABV beer is the perfect drink for anyone looking for a low alcohol drink that doesn’t compromise on taste. In fact, one of the main selling points for this beer is this differentiating factor; where other low or zero alcohol beers taste watery and lacking in real mouthfeel, Small Beer really packs a punch. We were particularly impressed by the Dark Lager which had a very developed flavour and was lighter on carbonation than we are used to with other low alcohol drinks we’ve tried in the past. Equally great was the classic lager, a citrusy and crisp drink that we could really envision drinking all summer long.

Co-founders James and Felix have created something really different, striving not only to create a great tasting beer, but also to reduce their carbon footprint while doing so. Where it takes up to ten pints of water to create a normal beer, it takes only one and a half pints to create a small beer. Alongside this, the brewery uses 100% sustainable energy, using wind and solar power to generate its electricity, and all labels, boxes and cards are made from recycled materials.

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Much like the Mini Cooper at their brewery, Small Beer are proving that bigger isn’t necessarily better. Photo: Small Beer Company

Located in South Bermondsey, the Small Beer Brewery is a unique space. Attending the launch night was a spectacular experience with an array of food and drinks on offer that was unexpected and honestly pretty special. Oysters from The Oystermen, delicious small plates from The Shed and The Rabbit restaurants, and cheese from Bambuni, these guys pulled out all the stops as we munched on miniature beef wellingtons and drank specially crafted beer cocktails while live jazz buzzed melodiously in the background.

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Knocking back some great brews at the Small Beer brewery, and we didn’t even have a headache in the morning!

Small it might be, but this beer is creating a big impact!