If there’s one thing London does better than drinking, it’s hosting drinks festivals. London’s appetite for music festivals and food festivals may be well-documented, but here and now, it’s the drinks we’re interested in. Whether you’re more inclined towards a craft beer or a delectable cocktail, there are plenty of drinks festivals rocking up in London before the year’s end. We’ve picked out a handful that we think you should grab tickets for, and pop in your diary.
1. Cocktails In The City (July 7-9, August 11-13, September 8-10)
The best thing about drinks festivals is how they bring together some of the best producers in their fields to one place. Beer festivals see breweries gathering en masse, and spirit festivals see distilling rubbing shoulders. Cocktails In The City goes one step further, getting the best bars in one place for an epic celebration of all things mixed and shaken, and perhaps even stirred. Legends of the London bar and cocktail scene will be at the festival, which is held in a private garden. Among the bars will be institutions such as Callooh Callay, Coupette, Lost in Brixton, The Blind Pig, and plenty more.
2. Gin & Rum Festival (July 8-9)
Why choose between two great spirits when you could have both? The ever-popular Gin & Rum Festival is coming back this summer – handily coinciding with World Rum Day on July 9. On offer will be a frankly staggering array of over 120 gins and rums from all around the world. Some of the options will only be available exclusively at the festival. This year they’ve even added tequila to the festival, with up to 20 choices available from the tequila bar. The latest tipples will be yours to sample, and talks and masterclasses from producers will help you dive into the history and nuances of both spirits. Plus, your festival ticket also nets you a reusable stainless-steel straw, a G&R branded Copa-Glass with carry satchel for safe-keeping and access to a premium selection of mixers and tonics.
3. Lillet Picnic: Le Rosé Spritz Garden (July 9)
Celebrate summer at this spritzy garden party where a unique picnic-driven experience awaits you. Take in the sun as you sip on your very own personalised Lillet Rosé Spritz with picnic baskets and blankets all around you. Hang out with friends, and make some new ones, as you listen to an all-female roster of musical artists, chat with female entrepreneurs, and browse a quaint market of unique goods. The event champions women, particularly entrepreneurs and business owners and makers, but all are free to join in the festivities. It’s the ultimate day of sipping in the sun and picnicking in the park.
4. The Five Points Lager Festival in the Yard (July 21 – July 23)
Anyone who has been paying attention to the UK craft beer scene will have seen a return to traditional styles alongside the typical hype juice IPAs and triple-fruited sours. And many are now churning out lagers that rival the best that Germany and the Czech Republic have to offer. To celebrate, Five Points decided to go one step beyond a typical beer festival. They’re putting on a full-blown lager festival. Except crisp, refreshing, summer-time delights from some of the UK’s best breweries. They’ll even be serving up some of the best lagers from traditional international breweries. And tickets are free!
5. London Craft Beer Festival(August 12-13)
Beer lovers have plenty to mark on their calendars this year, as the London Craft Beer Festival returns to town in August. You’ll be able to sample beers from London’s best craft breweries such as 40 FT, Beak Brewery, Brick Brewery, By the Horns, Dig Brew Co, Eko Brewery, and Howling Hops. There will also be heavyweights of the industry such as Brew By Numbers, Brixton Brewery, Burnt Mill, The Kernel, and many, many more. Plus, food offerings from top London restaurants – think 10 Greek Street, Decatur, Farang, and Tacos Padre to name just a few – and DJ sets from big-name musicians will add to this good-vibes-only beer festival! The best part is, your ticket includes all your beers. No need to worry at the end of the night about how much you’ve spent.
6. The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show (September 30 – October 2)
Of course there’s a festival dedicated to that delicious brown elixir, that “water of life” that is whisk(e)y. And given that it’s being organised by The Whisky Exchange, you know you’re in good hands. This year’s festival is themed around sustainability. They want to ensure that “not only will we still have a planet to live on in years to come, but also delicious whisky to toast it with”. Whisky producers from around the world will be offering up samples, with producers from as far as New Zealand flying in to share their wares. Tickets get attendees access to more than 650 whiskies to sample, food pairings, cocktails, a Dream Dram token, a two-course meal (for weekend attendees), and a Perfect Measure tasting glass.
7. London Cocktail Week (October 13 – 23)
Over the past two years, London Cocktail Week morphed into London Cocktail Month. Organisers wisely assumed we’d been deprived of cocktails for far too long at that point thanks to closures and restrictions. Now, however, they’ve reverted back to the original template of just a week’s worth of events. But what a week it is! The enormous celebration will see special Signature Cocktails, immersive drinking experiences, and unrivalled access to some of the best cocktails in London.
Also published on Medium.