It has been a good year to be British so far: our Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne by throwing a party in London and giving us an extra day off, the 2012 Olympics rocked, giving us a chance to show the world how it should be done, and our bars and bartenders showed that London is still the cocktail capital of the world. The first two reasons may have grabbed more headlines, but honestly they pale in significance when compared to our achievements at Tales of the Cocktail this year. You see every single ‘International’ category at the Spirited awards was won by a UK bar or bartender (Angus, we’re still claiming you even if you spend more time away from the UK than in it, you have the accent, you’re ours!)… yep, every single one! Now I’m not one to gloat, but that’s pretty amazing really!
Having been at the awards I can tell you that I felt proud to know all the award winners and consider many of them to be friends, and the feeling of seeing one after another walk onstage to collect their trophies was amazing. So upon arriving back in the UK my first thought was that we should get all those trophies together and make a few drinks to toast this amazing feat. To be honest I’ll be surprised if we scoop so many awards again, with bars from the US, Australia and many countries in Europe nipping at the heels of London when it comes to cocktails.
I hope you have been making the best of the recent burst of good weather we have had? At B&T HQ in rural Hampshire we have been doing our best to step away from the computers and get out in the back garden with friends. Obviously that means barbecues and cocktails and for us it meant going that one step further and hosting a tiki party. We pushed the boat out on this one, but actually it is pretty easy to do. Invite a load of mates, tell them to wear grass skirts or hawaiian shirts, get some rum and fresh fruit in, fire up the bbq and pray for good weather.
Now as we're not the sort of people to do things by halves we did all the above as well as setting about building a bar for the patio, a roasting pit for cooking a whole pig and bringing out the fire pit for later in the evening. With 50 of our closest friends heading over and the weather forecast looking good it seemed the right moment to bring out the punch bowl and the pitchers and to start preparing big batches of drinks.
The ‘drinks cart’ at bitters & twisted is not left wanting, but Beefeater 24 does not feature among its (respectable) selection of gins, and as such, I found myself heading for Soho, needing to compare 24 to Beefeater. So a short tube ride later I am in LAB, sat at the bar with James, who by now is buffing a couple of tasting glasses for me.
Well, it's been a long (LONG!) time coming but finally the first phase of my project is coming to life. For the next few weeks the b&t website will be acting as a blog while we work our arses off behind the scenes to build the website and the database to support it.