Raise a Glass This Spring

Whatever your tipple, discover new venues, savour new flavours and get shoulder-to-shoulder with alcohol experts around England for World Cocktail Day (13 May); English Wine Week (27 May – 4 June); and World Gin Day (9 June).
World Cocktail Day (13 May)

Pop along to the newly opened Vijay’s Bar & Lounge in London, which makes extensive use of fresh herbs and floral syrups in their cocktail menu and demonstrates how astringent herbs can be used to draw out flavour. Also in London, Savage Garden will be opening this summer as a new dramatic sky-high all-day bar and cocktail lounge. With 360-degree vistas, you can take in some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including The Shard, Tower of London, The Gherkin and St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can also catch view of London’s iconic skyline whilst sipping cocktails at the rooftop bar Skylight, which will be returning to Tobacco Dock this May.

In Bristol, The Florist opened in March as an offshoot of The Botanist chain, it offers four floors of food, floral cocktails, cocktail masterclasses, nightly DJs and the kind of floridly decorative décor to get Instagrammers excited. The Faraway Cocktail Club opened in April to bring a tropical flavour to Bristol’s cocktail scene, with a new Caribbean themed bar. An offshoot of successful Flipside Cocktail Club, Faraway serves rum and tequila based cocktails and Tiki-style sharing punch bowls in a bar that’s big on palms, pineapples and party music.

If you develop a long-lasting taste for cocktails, book ahead for Cocktails in the City at a secret location in Manchester on the 14-15 September. From secret speakeasies to new openings, twenty bars will be popping up under one roof to shake and stir an exciting new collection of signature cocktails. Entry ticket of £15 includes one cocktail on arrival and access to tasting sessions, masterclasses and sampling of new and interesting spirits (additional cocktails are £6.50).
English Wine Week (27 May – 4 June)

The Vineyards of Hampshire new Cellar Door Experience will see seven vineyards across the county open their doors to visitors monthly from 18 May to 8 September for the opportunity to travel around the participating vineyards and pop in for a range wine tasting. Most vineyards are offering the cellar door experience free of charge, some charge £5 (costs for guided tours also vary). For those tasting a tipple too many, new venture Hampshire Tours provides private tours in the area and is doing a special Cellar Door tastings offer of £350 for up to six people.

16 May will be the official launch of the Champagne School by Searcys at London’s St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, which will champion English wine makers with the theme ‘Made in Britain.’ Taste three exceptional sparkling wines alongside expertly paired plates for £45 per person. Monthly Champagne School dinners are designed to appeal to all kinds of wine lovers – from absolute beginners to accomplished connoisseurs. You can also book their own private classes for groups.
World Gin Day (9 June)

Shaken or stirred, with tonic or in a cocktail, the gin revolution continues to boom in England. As World Gin Day celebrates its ten-year anniversary on 9 June with a four-day festival in London (7-10 June), what better time to try out gin experiences across the country.

The Gin Journey takes you in a chauffeur-driven carriage to five bars in a chosen city out of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, including a local gin distillery, with samples of specially selected premium gin in each. To celebrate World Gin Day in Manchester, The Gin Journey will be hosting a Sunday Brunch on 10 June, where you can be chauffeur driven to five Manchester venues to enjoy cocktails, gin samples and brunch for £58.64.

Join the 45 Gin School’s Gin Experience at the new venue The Distillers Kitchen, set in the heart of Leicester’s old town. Select and distil your choice of botanicals and bottle your own 70cl bottle of gin, under the guidance of a master distiller. A shared experience voucher costs £145 and includes cocktail and gin & tonic masterclass; complimentary Burleighs gin & tonics for two; sample expressions of the Burleighs; gin range Q&A; in house distiller distillation and bottling custom made craft gin. On World Gin Day, they are holding morning and evening distilling experiences and cocktails masterclasses with food and live music, priced at £195 for the Shared Experience.

The UK’s first Gin and Rum Festival has just began a UK tour until 6 October with over 60 different gins and rums. Upcoming stops are at Burton, Sheffield, Leeds, Hastings, Portsmouth, Leicester, Manchester, Blackpool, Peterborough, Liverpool, Birmingham, Swindon and Hull. Tickets cost £10.