I’ve just jumped of the tube at Covent Garden, naively thinking it was the best choice being the closest to where I had to go. Everything was good, people were in high spirits, well as high as they can be sitting on the tube. After disembarking I had two choices…
1) Wait with the large crowds for a lift,
2) Or, Take the stairs.
I didn’t see the point of waiting for the second lift and being crammed into a sardine can so I took the ‘easy’ way out. It wasn’t until I was in the current of people already pushing their way up the stairs that I read a message that made my heart sink:
Or course it was too late as by then I’d commited myself to the program. Now I’m not the fittest person in the world, but 1/3 or the way up and I passed a couple of older walkers, obviously in too deep so I used that as incentive to keep going and not turn back (if they weren’t turning back I’ll be damned if I was). It wasn’t until about ½ way up I started to feel it, a slight tingling in my thighs, which turned into an intense burn around 2/3’s of the way up. Then every step felt like 10, with people having the same problem stopping more frequently. The only people that seemed to keep on was me and a group of Italian girls. As we got to the top we were sharing moans and groans about how painful it was and eventually made it, laughing together before making our own way onwards.
Anyway this was a bit of a tiring way to start the day, but an otherwise exhilarating one and needless to say on the way back down I took the lift…
I’d been waiting for a while for this day now, having booked 2 events;
1) Gaz’s Historical Tour (at the Monkey Shoulder DIY Kitchen)
2) Discover Sipsmith, a tour of their distillery
These events will have separate posts, both coming soon. In the meantime the day as a whole was good fun. The collection of ‘pop up’ bars and ‘push bike’ bars creating a very Wild West style vibe across both Monmouth & Earlham Street. The two most noteworthy were the Fever Tree and Disaronno Sour stations. The former offering Tanqueray G&T’s as well as tasters of their brands various carbonated drinks (including Ginger Beer, Classic Tonic water & Elderflower Tonic). I don’t like Tonic water at all, excluding in a G&T of course, but there was something special about the elderflower tonic that was obviously an occurrence of the Elderflower adding a sweet tint to the otherwise dry tonic.
Definitely something to look at with further cocktails and posts and one of which will deal exclusively with Fever Tree as an overall company (including their products compared to other similar ones), however for the meantime let it be said that this was one of the better pop-ups on the day.
The other, Disaronno’s stand, was serving freshly mixed Disaronno Sours to anyone with a LCW wristband. The Sour is the cocktail of the moment for Disaronno, with them spending a lot of time try to promote it, alongside Disaronno’s use in cocktails (which is a good idea seeing as it is perfect for such a use).
The drink itself is strange, an enigma if you will, combining lemon juice with the liqueurs almond flavour as well as sugar should result in an odd and almost unpleasant taste one might be mistaken for thinking but the fact is that it actually tastes rather nice. The lemon juice adding a little acidity to the sweet flavours of the liqueur and sugar with the almond holding its own and supplying enough of a hit to let you know it’s alcoholic without it being painful.
A rather nice afternoon, but then it was time for the first event Gaz’s Historical Tour; a 90 minute seminar on the history of Whisky cocktails through the ages (courtesy of Monkey Shoulder).
When I saw this I thought “Gaz Regan? No, cant be!” but it was, in all his glory, the great and legendary Gary Regan. He’s been an icon ever since I started reading about cocktail culture and learning about recipes and where they came from (as well as how they came about). And to finally meet him, in the flesh, well that was something special…
And there were no disappointments, he was just as hilarious and eccentric as one would expect and was very welcoming to the 15 or so people in the group (including me). After introductions were made, including with the Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador; Grant Neave, who was fantastically insightful and also extremely welcoming, the talk ensued…
Starting with a sampling of Monkey Shoulder itself and an introduction to their first cocktail on the list: The Athol Brose (a middle aged brew of whisky, water, honey & oats) and culminating with the Debonair; this talk was very educational.
I’m the first person to admit I’m not the biggest fan of whisky, in any form – Including its cocktail counterparts, but I went to this event for two reasons:
1) To meet the great Gaz Regan (Mission Completed).
2) To learn about both monkey shoulder and whisky in general (both straight and cocktail forms) (Mission Completed).
Overall the event was great value for just £15 I got an extended (it started late but lasted longer than billed) introduction to monkey shoulder and a fantastic tour of the most important whisky cocktails through the ages. Overall a great event and topped off perfectly with a handshake from both Gaz Regan himself and the brilliant Grant Neave. Awesome afternoon!
Next time on the Fervent Shaker LCW special: Discover Sipsmith – A Gin of epic proportions and historical significance…