London drinking scene

An Epicurean Valentine

Epicure Digital Marketing Shows London How to 'Romance'

Happy Valentine’s Day! One of those happy days in the marketing calendar where content seems to write itself – or does it? Here at Epicure we’ve written before on the pitfalls of relying on clichés to make you restaurant attractive at peak holiday times, so this year, we’re going to share some examples of how our clients could help you celebrate this day of Love – or help you make any day of the year romantic.

1) Make the perfect French chocolate tarte, courtesy of Bel Canto Head Chef Gilles Martin.

Hazelnut Short-crust pastry to make 1 x 220mm tart

Ingredients

  • 95g flour
  • 70g melted butter
  • 35g icing sugar
  • 35g finely powdered hazelnuts
  • 1tsp salt
  • 30g egg yolks
  • 3g baking powder

Method

  • Mix the flour, icing sugar, hazelnut powder, salt, and baking powder (the dry ingredients) in a bowl.
  • Add the melted butter and the egg yolks and mix with a hand whisk or mixer.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 220mm cake tin and smooth the mixture with a spoon, making sure to get it evenly distributed. The layer should be about 3mm thick.
  • Pop in the oven and bake at 180◦c for 10 minutes.
  • Take out and leave in the fridge to cool and set.

Chocolate ganache

Ingredients

  • 70g whipping cream
  • 12g butter
  • 17g honey
  • 90g of 66% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Method

  • Warm the cream and the honey in a pan.
  • Pour this over the chocolate and the butter.
  • Mix it all together gently with a spatula until the chocolate and the butter melt.
  • Pour this mixture over the fully-cooled base and pop back in the fridge to set

Voila!

2) Treat your loved one to a romantic cooking class with InspiringChefs.

If you want to do something special and romantic, but don’t feel like leaving the house – InspiringChefs might be perfect for you! Plan a cooking date at your house and have the chef come to YOU to teach you and your loved one some of their favourite recipes.

3) Toast your Valentine with a glass of Sustainable fizz.

Preferably a glass of Limney Estate Brut from the Davenport vineyard in East Sussex. This premium sparkling wine is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and won silver in the 2016 Decanter Awards. And, for a day like today, surely only an award-winner will do?

4) Try a Valentine's Day dinner off the menu at Chriskitch.

Everyone likes a nice surprise, and nice surprises abound at Chriskitch thanks to their collaboration with client EatOfftheMenu. Chef and Owner Chris Honor’s secret dish of choice is slowly braised beef with fresh pasta, a dish connected to his childhood memories and early passion for food “My secret dish embodies this passion – a simple combination of ingredients. It needs a true craftsman to bring out the best flavour. It's a complicated combination of cookery techniques and methods and flavours, presented in a very easy fashion.” You can enjoy the dish on its own or as part of a lovely set menu. Find out more here.

5) Say “I Love You” with a bespoke pizza.

Pizza chain Basilico’s customise feature means you can create virtually any pizza you like for the one you love. Are they a meat lover? Cover their pizza with every salumi on the menu! Chilli fan? Choose from chilli flakes, spicy chilli sausage, and even fresh chillies! Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-Free? There is something for everyone. Head over to their blog for some combination inspiration.

6) Book a romantic staycation in a Suite full of Eastern promise.

The Mayflower Collection’s trio of hotels offer a number of beautifully-decorated Suites, each of which give you a taste of East-Meets-West. Try the teal-tinged opulence of the Ottoman Suite at Twenty Nevern Square, the clean white lines of the Mayflower’s Luxury four-poster suite, or the dramatic black-and-gold scheme of the New Linden’s Honeymoon Suite.

7) Say Cheers to healthy relationships with Zayane’s low-sugar cocktails.

The hardest part of being in a relationship can often be avoiding bad habits. We don’t know about you, but at Epicure, all of our perfect dates involve eating. Cosy nights in with takeaway, lavish eight-course tasting menus, a great brunch – not necessarily conducive to a trim waistline. Thankfully, our newest client, Zayane, have just introduced a fabulous range of low-sugar cocktails – and they taste so good, you won’t even realise.

Our favourites are:

The Zayane

Iced Green Tea scented with Jasmine & Mint, Orange Blossom and Sparkling White Wine

Ginger Elixir

Gin, Ginger, Lemon juice and Honey

No. 5

Vodka, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Lemon, Ginger, Apple juice

Your Ultimate London Christmas Drinking Guide

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Yuletide Drinking Spots

Any pub can heat some wine and put up a bit of tinsel, but transforming your gin joint into a winter wonderland or coming up with fresh, festive takes on a cocktail? That takes real skill. This week we have rounded up the most creative Christmas offerings from some of London’s best bars and cosiest pubs for the ultimate Yuletide drinking experience.

If you are on the search for some Christmas magic with your eggnog, you will be spoilt for choice this year. Bars across the city have been taking festive decorating to a new, immersive level, becoming ideal examples of what we covered in our last blog. It was hard to choose but we have managed to narrow it down to our top three.

1)      Scottish Winter Terrace at the Rib Room

This Knightsbridge restaurant has transformed its terrace bar into a Caledonian haven, complete with a forest of pine branches, tartan blankets and (what else) whisky flights curated by William Grant & Son. There will be live music on Fridays and Saturdays, Scottish-inspired bar snacks, and Christmassy whiskey cocktails such as the delightful Cinnamon Sour (12-year Glenfiddich, sloe gin, pomegranate liqueur, sage syrup, Angostura bitters). Open until January 25th, you be hard-pressed to find a better place to sing Auld Lang Syne to welcome in the New Year.

Scotch Whisky

2)      Hot Gin Terrace, Rosewood London

Holborn Hotel Rosewood London have paired up with Sipsmith gin this winter in a celebration of the beverage which has been warming Londoners for centuries. Inspired by the frost fairs of the 1700s, when the frozen Thames would become a winter playground – Rosewood have launched a menu of historical hot toddies. Including the delectable Hot Winter Julep (with peppermint tea and crème de cacao) and the Hot Mulled Sloe (sloe gin and warm apple juice) this is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas like a true Londoner.

3)      Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Terrace, Sartoria

From London to the Italian Alps, this Savile Row favourite has created a festive experience inspired by Italy’s favourite ski resort in the Dolomites. Pairing up with Campari (who else), Sartoria’s Libare bar is offering a number of festive twists on Italian classics, including a range of seasonal Negronis.

Campari

Christmas Pubs

But a truly British Christmas would not be complete without a trip to a cosy pub and London is chock-full of them. For the ultimate festive experience, opt for one with an open fire and homey seating – need a little help knowing where to start? Give one of these a try.

1)      The Antelope – Tooting

A local favourite, The Antelope may attract a younger crowd, but it still has some of that old London feel. Featuring wood panelling, stained glass windows, mismatched comfy chairs and the requisite fireplace, this is the perfect pub in which to while away a wintery afternoon.

2)      The George Inn – London Bridge

This historic venue is the only pub to be owned by the National Trust. London’s oldest surviving coach house, it is tucked down an alley way by London Bridge, but is beautifully signposted with its name arching over the alley’s entrance in gold. This 17th-century watering hole still has its original beams and gallery and is worth a visit in its own right – after all, it is basically a historical location!

Can't beat a mulled cider... 

3)      Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Fleet Street

Another one of London’s historical pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is also one of its oldest, dating back to the 16th century. A favourite with the likes of Dickens, Tennyson and Conan Doyle, it too boasts an open fire and is deceptively large.

And – just in case you are still thirsty – there’s more! We have barely mentioned mulled wine or hot chocolate, without which no Christmas is completely, so here is a final quick guide of where to head for the very best examples of each.

Mulled wine and Cider

Bavarian Brewhouse

  • Opt for proper German Glühwein or winter apple Schnapps, served by a ‘Santa Fräulein’…

Santa Baby!

  • With singalong Christmas songs and a 1950s American living room setting, you can get both red AND white mulled wine at this pop-up!

Southbank Christmas market

  • London’s answer to the Weinachtsmarkt, do your Christmas shopping and your Christmas drinking at the same time on London’s lovely South bank.
Mulled Wine

Christmas cocktails

Spaniards Inn – Festive Bliss

  • Chambord, spice syrup and Prosecco

The Lodge, Clapham – King’s Tipple

  • Hot apple juice, King’s Ginger Liqueur, dark rum and fresh mint

Dalloway Terrace – Bourbon Brittle

  • Old Spot-infused Makers Mark, praline vodka, and hot chocolate

 

Hot chocolate

Fortnum and Mason - Chocolossus

  • Go for dark or milk chocolate and add giant raspberry, vanilla, or salted caramel marshmallows
Hot Chocolate

Veneta

  • Head to St. James’s Market and ask for a shot of orange and grappa syrup in your Venezuelan bitter hot chocolate with cinnamon-infused milk

Rabot 1745

  • Borough Market’s “cacao-concept-restaurant” does hot chocolate to die for. Get yours infused with nutmeg, gingerbread, or even a shot of rum!

Cheers to Christmas drinking! Get in touch over Facebook or Twitter and let us know where and what you will be sipping this Yuletide, or tag us in your Christmas drinking pictures on Instagram @epicuredigitalmarketing. 

Final Push for Sober October - London's Dry Scene

Anyone been brave enough to do Sober October?

To those who are giving it a go – we salute you. In a culture where drinking is so closely interlinked with socialising, going booze-free can be tricky, so we will be talking about our three favourite places to go for a dry night to give you a boost for the final week and a half.

Redemption Bar – The vegan joint

In 2016 the trend is health. With a proliferation of health-food bloggers, fitness YouTubers, kale and avocado prophets, juice, chia seeds, and yoga, veganism has become the next “It” diet. But it isn’t all about looking good. Whatever claims may be brought against Generation Y, young people today are more interested than ever in sustainable living and animal welfare. Redemption Bar is the perfect symbol of this.

Created by Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, this vegan restaurant has been winning awards left, right, and centre since its inception and serves up vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free food…with an alcohol-free bar. Bearing the motto “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself” – it’s all far less punishing that it sounds!

What to drink

  • Apple mock-jito – “Muddled apple pressé, fresh mint and lime, served over ice and topped with soda”
  • Lettuce Spray – “A Japanese-inspired refreshing cocktail of iceberg lettuce, lime, cucumber, wasabi and aloe vera”

  • Flu Fighters – “A fiery combination of ginger, chilli, aloe vera, coconut water, orange, lemon, and lime juice, with apple and elderflower cordial”

The Connaught Bar at The Connaught – The extravagant classic

And going alcohol-free doesn’t mean restricting yourself to gluten-free restaurants and trendy hole-in-the-wall bars, you can also enjoy a luxury booze-less tipple at one of London’s finest hotels. The Connaught in Mayfair is the sort of hotel which has its own fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz, so you can be sure to encounter luxury on every level. Its fabulous bar features an “Innocence” menu of intriguing mocktails, full of flavour and character.

What to drink

  • Queen’s Garden – “Cucumber and fennel seed water, organic apple juice, fresh lime juice, caster sugar”
  • The Silky Way – “Milk Oolong tea infusion, pear nectar, date syrup, fresh lime juice”

  • Citrus Vibe – “Fresh orange juice, spiced calamansi sherbet, almond syrup, ginger beer”
Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel in London

Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel – The botanical bar

This award-winning bar is presided over by an award-winning bartender. Bar impresario Ryan Chetiyawardana has created a cool and colourful space at the Mondrian hotel, with beautiful views of the Thames and a fascinating bar menu called “Hunter, Gatherer, Shaman and Explorer” which is inspired by human’s interaction with plants and the botanical wilds of the British countryside. In this vein, it makes sense that Dandelyan’s Boozeless menu features one of the coolest products around at the moment: Seedlip. This remarkable beverage is an alcohol-free drink distilled like gin (in a copper still), made with the botanicals used in gin… which tastes like gin – but isn’t! Dandelyan have been championing Seedlip since the beginning, so why not try substituting it for gin or order an exciting and exotic “Wild Thing”?

What to drink

  • Wild thing – “Seedlip, ylang ylang, Dandelyan herbal tonic”
  • Peaches and Split Cream – “Whey syrup, peach shrub, ginger and soda”
  • Apple Sourz-less – “Apple, Dandelyan capillaire, Rye and acid”
Sober October Luxury Cocktails

So head out and treat yourself to a little vegan goodness, sophisticated luxury, or botanical innovation and keep going! Only 12 days more.

What do you like to drink when you’re not drinking? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know!