Hannah and Siobhan have worked together for nearly a decade. They’ve turned their hands to many things over the years, but London Cocktail Week is without doubt the most visible and certainly their biggest. Now about to celebrate its tenth year, they’re mega-busy but ever the professionals, they made time in their hectic schedules to escape to our imaginary desert island and share their favourite drinks and discs with us.
Despite their seven year age difference, they’ve led fairly parallel lives. Siobhan is an old soul and Hannah is seemingly young at heart and despite growing up on different sides of the Thames Estuary, their musical tastes matched pretty well when they were collating this list as a pair!
Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child?
Siobhan’s a Kent girl; Hannah’s from Essex. All much of a muchness really. We both attended very good, all-girl schools that required taking a test to gain a place. We both behaved fairly well and were both voted deputy head girl (so popular, but not deemed quite reliable enough to take the top spot!)
Fun in this non-digital age consisted of sitting in the park with school friends (wild) and the go-to drink of the time was Archer’s & Lemonade. Premixed into the R. Whites bottle (so not even cold).
Which song best captures this period in your lives?
Boyfriends weren’t really the order of the day (they all had curtain haircuts) so as a nod to our female friendships, girl power and truly believing that anything was possible – our first song is Wannabe by the Spice Girls.
We both recently saw them at Wembley on the same day, without knowing the other one had booked tickets. Yes. It was MAGIC!
Tell us about your first bar jobs and the drinks you associate with this time?
Siobhan’s first bar job was at The Ruby Lounge in Sheffield. Hannah’s was at The Metro Bar in Sidcup. Neither will be making the 50 Best list this year.
In both these venues, there were quite a lot of bar fights between the patrons and when this happened, we were each told to get behind the bar and lock the doors so we wouldn’t get hurt. Lovely. Sourz and AfterShock shots were a regular order and perhaps the language and expectations from the management weren’t terribly – kind.
Karaoke was also a popular pastime for guests and the dulcet tones of a local imitating Robbie William’s Angels (sung totally out of key) sums up the experience. For posterity, this would be paired with a Pineapple Bacardi Breezer. The best of all the flavours. What a liquid!
Moving on to finding your respective places in the drinks industry, is there particular song and drink that brings back memories of this period in your lives?
As both a song and a drink, I’m opting for London Calling. The Clash song is obviously iconic, and I truly do love my city – but more than that it reminds me of old times, late at night with the very best of friends in West London. Most of them aren’t around anymore, but Mick Jones can still be seen on the Portobello Road, which I’m delighted by.
The drink was created while I was working at Milk & Honey and was 100% the best thing Chris ever did. Seeing it on a menu around the world makes me feel nostalgic but also gives me a perfect excuse to poke fun at my friend.
I absolutely love working in the hospitality industry and the main reason for this isn’t the delicious new cocktails we get to try, or the free Champagne, or the lovely ‘research’ trips abroad (although that definitely helps), but it’s just the… vibe.
The time I feel this love and hospitality the most is at big industry parties where everyone is looking after each other and we feel like we’re really part of something. The first one found myself in was a Death of The Cocktail ceremony – and I realised that I’d found my professional home. So… the song I would pick is Starship We Built This City because it sums up that feeling – and reminds me of late nights standing on bar stools, surrounded by drinks industry friends at the Portobello Star – the ultimate industry party place (RIP).
And the drink… it has to be a Pineapple Daiquiri. A nod to the symbol of hospitality plus it’s a great party drink. Clearly those early days with the pineapple Bacardi Breezers really set the precedent – now they’re just made fresh!
Fast forward to the present. What are you up to now? And of course, what drink and track best exemplifies this time for you both?
Back together again! Phew. Our matchy-matchy go-to order is a wet gin Martini – the ultimate classic. It’s literally perfect. No need for change or fussing about with. And going into our tenth year of London Cocktail Week – it feels even more pertinent.
In ten years, we’ve really not messed with the format of our festival too much. We still only choose the very best bars to partner with, we still don’t charge them to be involved and we still leave 100% of the revenue with them. For our guests – the message of inclusivity has also never changed. Everyone is welcome. Absolutely everyone. For brands – we hope we’re really fair and try to take care of them as if they were our own. Over the decade we have also built our girl gang team of dreams. Classics each and every one! Those who have moved on are still very much part of the family and those that are with us now are our rocks. Friendship and real life always comes first and we hope that comes across in everything we do. In homage to this – our final Desert Island Disc is Aretha Franklin Rock Steady.
Quick fire questions:
If you could only have one spirit that you had to have while stranded on a desert island what would it be?
Tequila – straight or just mix it with fresh limes that will probably be in abundance. And surely we’ll be able to fashion some sort of triple sec… Did someone say beach partaaaaay?!
If you could only have one cocktail that you could have on your desert island what would it be?
Well, we’ve already covered margaritas with our ninja Bear Grylls-skills. So can we have ice-cold Provençal rosé please? PLEASE?
What would be the one song that you would pick to accompany you on your desert island?
Earth, Wind & Fire September. Firstly, Siobhan always dances like a lunatic every time this comes on and it’s joyous to watch but also, if we’re stuck on a desert island it means that London Cocktail Week will have to be in someone else’s capable hands, so can we have our September back!? It’s currently the most stressful month of the year!
What luxury item would you take with you on your desert island?
Jake F. Burger. Otherwise, we’ll have to cancel Monday Club and we’d never hear the end of it.
Songs That Didn’t Quite Make The Cut:
Gypsy Kings – Bamboleo
The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Check out Hannah and Siobhan’s full playlist below
London Cocktail Week runs from 4th-13th October. For more details of special events, parties, workshops and particpating bars, see drinks.london