The Boutique Bar Show 2014

There are shows for everything. Wine shows, beer shows, trade shows, press launches etc. etc. etc. … it’s enough to drive you to drink! And this may seem hard to believe but there’s only so much free booze you can sample before you want to give up a head for bed with a hot chocolate. However, there is one congregation that I’m glad I joined and that is the Boutique Bar Show. The Boutique Bar Show is a sort of travelling circus of top-end, specialist, small producer spirits and mixers aimed at those trendy bars that would probably not let me in if it weren’t for a press card!

So off I went to the misnamed Camden Centre. Misnamed because it’s actually rather lovely. There I found lovely people who are all excited about doing all sorts of new things with cocktails. I love young people, they think they’ve invented the whole world all over again. Read More

Berry Brothers and Rudd Spirits department

Leaving the autumn wine-tasting in the cellars of Berry Brothers and Rudd last October was more difficult than normal: not just because it was saddening to leave behind the blissful wines and the delightful company but also because, towards the end of tasting tables, was stationed the … well, I don’t know a better way to describe her, even though it appears patronising, than “charming” Amanda Baxter, the Product Training Manager from the spirits side of the business. She was offering tastings of rum (fabulous) and whisky (oh my!). This was after a string of Madeiras and wonderful, can’t-bring-myself-to-spit wines … so the undulating stairs up into the “real” world were more of a challenge than usual. And they really do undulate – the shop has been there for over 300 years, there’s barely a straight line in the place; it’s an Ikea designer’s nightmare! So I had to book a more sober appointment to learn more about the lesser-known side of Berry Brothers and Rudd – their spirits department, where I met a very contented and hard-working bunch of people.

Gin

Gin has been around since the mid 17th century. It has a chequered history and a huge influence on the social history of England and particularly on London. While I’ve been a fan of the stuff for many years, I realised I didn’t actually know all that much about it so, when an invitation arrived to join the likes of Virginia Berridge from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Philip Wilson of Eau de Vie at the launch of a gin club at the Graphic Bar I jumped at the chance: Read More