Category Archives: Products

The Cocktail Lovers look at drinks, books, fashion and home style


How to… enjoy port

If sherry conjures up images of little old ladies then surely port brings visions of slightly aged, ahem, portly men to mind. On the whole, it’s regarded as an end of the meal drink and a big meal at that, either enjoyed on its own or, particularly at this time of year, paired with a fine Stilton.

But there’s a revolution underway, a movement which is aiming to bring port from the back of the drinks cabinet to the centre of the dining table. And it’s not solely aimed at the traditional port drinker.

Churchill’s Port House is the first pop-up port bar in the capital if not the whole of the UK. Spread over three storeys, it takes in a teeny gallery space on the top floor, a low-key chef’s table in the middle and a small restaurant at ground level. The mood is decidedly boho in Soho and none the worse for it.

Seven varieties of ports are offered, ranging from woody whites to rich, full-bodied vintage tawnies – each of which can be paired with the small but exquisite selection of tapas dishes on offer. True they all come from one stable – Churchill’s, hence the name above the door but as they’re all absolutely delicious, that doesn’t matter a jot.

Max Graham is the manager and creative inspiration of the bar. He also happens to be the son of winemaker and founder of Churchill’s, the first British Port wine company to have been established in over 50 years, John Graham. This is Max’s way of dusting off the stuffy image of port and making it fresh, modern and relevant to a new audience but at the same time managing not to scare away the traditionalists. And it works.

If you’re in or around Soho in the next few weeks, check it out – it’ll convince you that port is for every day not just for Christmas.

Churchill’s Port House, 26 Greek Street, London W1D 5DE. Open for lunch and dinner Thursday to Saturday until 2nd February 2014.

The Cocktail Lovers say…

We recommend trying one of the Port Flights – a wonderful journey of tastes and great value at £15 for three full-sized glasses. And if you want to find out more about port, sign up for one of the regular tastings led by John Graham. for details.

This week we’re loving…

Hands up who likes a bargain? Yup, us too. That’s why our favourite discovery this week is, the free online resource that lets you search over 1,900 branded wines, beers and spirits to find the best deals. Add it to your favourites now.

As featured on The Independent Dish of the Day blog 19/12/2013


Christmas gifts for cocktail lovers

Stuck for present ideas for the cocktail lover in your life? Fret not, we’ve traipsed around the stores so you don’t have to. Get your credit card ready and let’s help you kick that shopping list into shape, starting with stocking filler ideas right through to blow-the-budget gifts.

Chase Union Jack Mini Pack, £15,

The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson, £16.99

Three-piece Tipsy Teacup, £34,


Sipsmith V.J.O.P, £37.95,

Personalised Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select, £44.95,
Engrave your special message on the front and along the side of the bottle at The Whisky Exchange

Gin Lovers Box, £45,
Contains 1 or 2 Vera Lyn mugs, 50cl Butler’s Gin, 275ml The Dalston Cola Company Raw Fiyah Ginger Beer; 225g England Reserves Preserves Bermondsey Bramble Jam, 10 red-and-white straws, muddling spoon; 2 Gin Jam Ginger Recipe Coasters.

Nikka Gift Pack, £60,
Contains Nikka Japanese whisky from the barrel and 2 glasses

The Cocktail Lover Gift Box, £65,
Contains 2 Martini glasses, rose gold cocktail strainer, rose gold Ginza jigger, Boston shaker, two swizzle sticks and a mini bottle of Sipsmith vodka.

Vintage limited-edition Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada rum, £85, 
Hand selected by Master Distiller Lorena Vasquez

Tipplesworth Mince Pie Martini Case, £185,
Contains Boston shaker, hawthorn strainer, jigger, 2 Martini glasses, 70cl Skipper Rum, Tipplesworth Mince Pie Syrup, 75cl King’s Orchard Cox Apple Juice; Mince Pie Martini Recipe Card.


Bushmills Whiskey Wood Headphones, $395,
Custom-made premium leather headband with body from the barrels used to age Bushmills.

Hendrick’s limited-edition Hip Flask designed by Hannah Martin, £795,
Packaged in a handmade leather travelling bag containing hip flask, bottle of Hendrick’s Gin and cashmere scarf.


Round Flask with silver topper, £825,

Thirst Aid Drinks Kit, £2,750,
Veneered box containing sterling silver gilt-lined flask and cups.


Beefeater 24 + Hackett = the best possible taste

We’ve always admired the quintessentially British, darned right dapper threads at Hackett. Who wouldn’t? Forget the fact it’s a gentlemen’s outfitters, even women covet the modern tweeds, bold checks, sharp pin-stripes, dandy dinner suits and natty accessories within the collections, they’re just the ticket for dressing up for cocktail o’clock.

Fix up, look sharp at Hackett

But we’ve never really given a second thought to the stores themselves. Sure they’re smart but, and we’re not being funny here, apart from the clothes, there’s not much that sets them apart from any other upmarket gents store. Until last week that is.  That’s when Hackett announced its new global partnership with Beefeater 24.

Imagine the home of a clothing obsessed aristocrat, then add in a bar. Nothing small and apologetic but a solid statement piece sitting proudly in the central space on the first floor. Better still, said bar isn’t just for show, it’s fully stocked with bottles of Beefeater 24. Welcome to the Hackett, Regent Street.

Inside the new Hackett store

The idea is that anyone shopping for a bespoke suit can sit through their initial discussions and subsequent fittings with a gin and tonic in hand. After all, these things take time and an expertly mixed G&T is just the ticket to make the process even more enjoyable. And as we’re talking made-to-measure here, the drinks are tailored to complement the client’s particular taste preference with the addition of one of three exclusive new tinctures  – citrus, berry and winter spices  – created specially for Hackett by Beefeater.

JC Iglesias, Global Brand Director for Beefeater 24, commented: “Beefeater 24 is a traditional gin with a modern twist, capturing the essence of contemporary British life. This sentiment is echoed by Hackett and both brands are recognised around the world for their quality, and for their intrinsic links to London and the city’s unique style. A partnership between the two is something that therefore seems very fitting, and we are confident that any resulting activity will resonate well with fans of both brands.”

This is the first of several exciting marketing activations for the partnership around the globe, watch this space for further details.

Hackett, 143-147 Regent Street, London W1B 5SQ. T: 020 7494 1855.

Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato

Promotion: Win yourself a case of Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato (Lovely Bubbly!)

Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato Festive Fizz

Festive Fizz


Okay, let’s get this party started. Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato is the sparkling new addition to the Barefoot family of award-winning wines. Fruity and refreshing it exudes luscious peach and tropical flavours, along with hints of raspberry and sweet citrus zests. Enjoy it on its own or partner it up with fresh fruits, white cheeses and sweet treats. Better still it makes for an extra bit of fizzy fun in celebratory Christmas and New Year cocktails.

Best of all we’ve got a case to give away. Yes, six whole 750 ml bottles for one lucky person. To enter all you have to do is drop us a line here (making sure to tick the box to sign up for our newsletter if you’re not already on our mailing list) with ‘Lovely Bubbly’ in the subject header.

Festive Fizz

100ml Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato
100ml  Pink Grapefruit Juice
Sliced Strawberry

Half fill a champagne flute with Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato, top off with pink grapefruit juice and gently stir.  Garnish with a sliced strawberry.


100ml Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato
50ml ruby red grapefruit juice
20ml cranberry juice
Juice of 1 lime

Add the chilled juices to a champagne flute. Top with Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato, £9.49 from Asda.

With thanks to Barefoot Wines

You must be 18 or over and reside in the UK to enter. The winner will be notified on Wednesday 18th December.

How to… buy whisky

Judging by the shop window displays it seems to have been Christmas since September. However, now we are finally in the month that matters and the big day is less than three weeks away we can all really start getting into the festive spirit. And a festive spirit we’re particularly fond of is whisky. It warms us up nicely after a day’s Christmas shopping and this being the season of giving it also makes for a very welcome present.

Buying whisky can be a little daunting though. So we asked our good friend Colin Dunn, Malt Whisky UK Brand Ambassador at Diageo, for a few tips.

How much should you expect to pay for a ‘good’ entry level whisky?
“There are loads of entry level whiskies under £25, Johnnie Walker Black Label for instance, there’s so much going on that you can pick out the nuances quite easily.”

What are the key characteristics to look out for?
“It’s all about balance between the wood and the grain that give each their characteristics but kept in small compartments that don’t make it one-dimensional. I often find that whiskies change in the glass after being poured, which is where the fun begins in identifying different compounds.”

How should you drink it?
“Initially neat, so that you can then decide whether you want to add water to soften or tone down the alcohol.”

What’s your favourite whisky?

“The one in my hand! I get asked this a lot and my opinion keeps changing. At the moment I am having a love affair with Rosebank, in particular the 21 year old which exudes a perfumed fragrance and is packed with citrus notes that show off Rosebank in all its glory”.

What’s your favourite serve?

“North Atlantic Oysters served up with Talisker 57 North, sprayed on with an atomizer. This gives a peppery note to the saltiness of the oyster and gives a top note to the whisky when the salt and pepper meet in the roof of the mouth”.

The Cocktail Lovers say:
While you’re Christmas shopping take a little time out for yourself too and head to the stunning new Hackett flagship store on Regent Street. Packed with everything the well-dressed gentleman needs in the way of attire it also has something else he might like, a rather grand bar courtesy of Beefeater 24. In keeping with the sartorial setting customers can tailor their Gin and Tonics with one of three specially created tinctures; citrus, berry or winter spice. But why should guys have all the fun? We think the bar and drinks will also go down well with wives, girlfriends and shopping companions in general.

Hackett, 193-197 Regent Street, London W1B 4LY,

This week we’re loving:
The London Eye Winter Cocktail Experience. Enjoy a couple of seasonal cocktails 135 metres above London, created by boutique gin distillery, Sipsmith London and served by an in-capsule mixologist. You can even try your hand at mixing your own cocktail. Personally though we’ll concentrate on sipping the fabulous gin concoctions and drinking in the spectacular night time London views.

The London Eye Winter Cocktail Experience, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 6pm until 4th January,

Satan’s Whiskers. Simple, well made drinks focusing on traditional classics and modern classics, featuring premium spirits at affordable prices. And all served up in friendly, beautifully designed, neighbourhood East London bar with a Hip Hop soundtrack. What’s not to like?

Satan’s Whiskers. 343 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9RA. Tel. 020 7739 8362,

As featured on The Independent, Dish of the Day blog 5/12/2013

The Independent