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Rich Woods’ top Christmas cocktail recipes

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If you’ve tried and tested a fair few London bars in your time — think Sushisamba and Duck and Waffle, for example — then chances are, you’ve already tried a cocktail crafted by Rich Woods. You just probably didn’t know it. 

Better known as The Cocktail Guy to his 81,000 Instagram followers, Woods started his career as a bar manager in 2003 and by 2014 was named World’s Most Imaginative Bartender. But having been in the mixology game for more than a decade, how does he continue to find inspiration for new recipes? 

“A smell, a taste. Possibly a colour,” explains Woods. “I like to create drinks that transport someone back to a memory; something nostalgic, something memorable. Smell memory is one of the most powerful senses we possess. If you can create a flavour or a smell that transports an individual back to a moment, it’s incredibly powerful.”

Woods’ latest venture is a partnership with BrewDog at its Waterloo venue, where he’s opened a new speakeasy called the Lost Property Office. The festive menu, which is only available for six weeks, features several new alcohol concoctions including the Chocolate Orange Negroni and the Christmas Collins. “Cocktails are perfect to enjoy while sharing and coming together, celebrating the year that’s been and the one to come,” says Woods. “And who doesn’t like to think of themselves as a home bartender?”

Rich Woods, otherwise known as The Cocktail Guy

Well, we couldn’t agree more. Which is why we asked Woods to create three festive cocktail recipes that can be shaken up at home, so you can put away the dull prosecco and wow your guests with a bar-style tipple instead. 

Mince Pie Old Fashioned

One of Woods’ favourites on the Lost Property Office menu, this recipe puts a festive spin on the traditional whisky cocktail. 

For the liqueur:

Add 250ml of Bourbon or Scotch whisky into a sealable, non-reactive container and mix in 100g of mincemeat. 

Seal and place in the microwave on medium for two minutes. Remove and mix the ingredients. Replace the lid and heat for a further two minutes.

Remove from the microwave and allow to cool, before placing in the fridge for two hours. 

Place a funnel into a clean bottle and line with a coffee filter. Drain the liquid, ensuring the

mincemeat is left behind.

For the cocktail:

Pour 60ml of the infused liqueur into your Old Fashioned-style glass with 15ml of Scotch whisky.

Fill with ice and stir well before serving. 

Fleur Royale

Sweet and decadent, Woods describes this as “a great welcome drink as it is delicious, easy to scale up and simple to make.” 

For the liqueur: 

Pour 500ml of St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 15g of cornflower petals and 10g of marigold petals into a non-reactive container with a lid and leave to infuse for at least 24 hours.

Once infused, strain through a muslin-lined sieve (strainer) or coffee filter and collect the liquid.

Decant the liquid into a bottle and reserve in the fridge until required.

For the cocktail:

Spray the inside of a large, pre-chilled Martini glass with the plum bitters before adding 30ml of the liqueur. Top up with 60ml of Champagne. 

Mulled Cider

A piping hot classic cocktail sure to warm the cockles on a cold winter’s night. Woods adds: “You can play with the blend of flavour-enriching aromatics when making this drink, but I love the combination of ginger and cinnamon as it goes wonderfully with the warming cognac.”

For the liqueur: 

Pour 50ml of cognac and three teaspoons of maple syrup into the base of a mug or heatproof glass. 

For the cider: 

Heat 500ml of pear cider and 25g of sliced root ginger in a pan over a medium heat before bringing to a gentle simmer for five minutes. 

Add one cinnamon stick and the zest of half an orange to the pan and continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. 

Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve. 

Pour the Mulled Cider over your liqueur and serve piping hot with a slice of apple. 

All recipes excerpted from The Cocktail Guy by Rich Woods

Read more: London’s best cocktail bars

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ICE London 2023 to feature exhibitors from record 68 nations – IAG

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Industry trade show ICE London will feature exhibitors from a record 68 nations, topping the previous best of 65 set three years ago, according to organizer Clarion Gaming.
ICE London returns as a full-sized show for the first time since 2020 from 7 to 9 February, with the total 623 exhibitors representing everything from Argentina to Australia and Macau to Mexico.
“No other exhibition in the gaming space can come anywhere near the internationalism of ICE,” said Clarion Gaming Managing Director, Stuart Hunter.
“To have 68 nations represented by our community of exhibitors means that visitors are immediately part of what is a global experience with unique access to the smartest gaming innovators drawn from every corner of the world. There are very few exhibitions of scale in any industry sector which are able to compare with such international representation and legitimately lay claim to being a ‘global’ or a ‘world’ event.
“Once an event is recognized as being genuinely international, stakeholder groups including brands, regulators, trade associations, media groups and strategic industry-wide bodies focus their activities accordingly.
“Research that we’ve undertaken has shown that for many people ICE and iGB Affiliate London actually start on the Sunday preceding and finish on the following Saturday. In that week we estimate that over 100 gambling industry events will take place outside of the show hours providing a new and compelling perspective on why ICE and iGB Affiliate London are so influential and important to the world industry.”
IAG will have a team of four at ICE London next week. Visit us at Stand ND7-C.

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David Ford and Annie Dressner Live in London

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There’s something special about London on a Saturday night – there’s a certain buzz in the air as you head into the Capital city. For me that buzz was extra special, as I was going to see David Ford and Annie Dressner at The Lexington in Islington. I literally listened to their ’10 Days (Live)’ album for the first time a week ago, but since then it’s been on repeat and heading in I knew that the night was going to be special.
The Lexington is a great place for music, with a bar on the ground floor before heading up the winding stairs to the spacious venue itself. And as the crowd started coming in, the atmosphere in the room was growing by the minute.
Opening the night was Scottish singer songwriter Gary Stewart. He set the night off really well, with an engaging set that got the crowd onside from the start. He opened with his 2021 single ‘Hot To Trot‘ and you already knew the set was going to be a good one – a rousing folk song with great lyrical dexterity. The highlight of the set was ‘Frontlines’, a simply gorgeous song (check out a YouTube video of the song here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDCLwYwsesk). Gary ended with a fine cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Song for the Asking’.
It was time for a quick visit to the bar before settling down for the main event. 
The duo appeared on the stage to great applause, David in an orange shirt and Annie in a sparkling black dress. They opened with ‘Easy Falling’, the first song that I’ve ever heard of theirs, and a song that convinced me I needed to listen to the rest of the album. This slow and moving number is a touching love song and shows off the brilliant harmonies of David and Annie – there’s something special about the English (David) and US accents (Annie) mingling in the way that they do. 
Throughout the set, there were so many highlights. ‘Something I’ll Have to Learn‘ is a song with an almost timeless feel that feels like a conversation in song, Annie’s original ‘Strangers Who Knew Each Other’s Names‘ was simply brilliant and ‘Some Folks Are Lucky I Guess‘ is a song with a great sentiment. ‘Can’t Help What I Want‘ (below) is a great example of those brilliant harmonies that the two share.

‘Trash‘, a cover of the Suede hit, was a particular highlight – a song that was a nice surprise on the live album. As they break into ‘Oh maybe, maybe it’s the clothes you wear‘ it almost feels like this was a song that Suede wrote for David and Annie, their version is that good. Outstanding.
The set had a second cover, a song that Annie introduced as ‘an American classic‘. This classic was ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You‘ from Chas and Dave, a song that typified the cockney sound of London back in the 1980’s. I love the way they re-worked it and there was something special about the way Annie sings the word ‘Darling’ in her US twang that just resonated and put a smile on my face.
There were great moments of humour throughout the night, the chat between the two great. At one point mid-song, Annie passed her guitar to David, exclaiming ‘I knew there were chords in this song, I just didn’t know which ones‘ which had the crowd laughing.
The best of the night was saved till last. ‘Warning Sign’ had quickly become my favourite song from the pair and hearing it live in person lived up to all expectations. There’s such a beauty in live music, and hearing songs like this with other people in a venue can really bring a song home – and almost even change your own personal relationship with a song.
The final song of the night (there was no encore as David explained that they literally had no more songs!) was ‘Put Me In A Corner’. Annie’s vocals take the lead in this track and it was just magical, the emotion of the song emanating from the stage and filling the room. You can listen and see for yourself below.

You never know what to expect when you see an artist or artists perform for the first time. Some exceed expectations and some just don’t hit the heights you expect. In David Ford and Annie Dressner, it was definitely the former. The gig was stripped back – just two people on a stage creating a moment. And what a moment it was.
Annie and David and reviewer Nick Cantwell
Check out their websites and hit and follow the social links!
http://www.dressnerford.com/

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http://anniedressner.com/
***Note – I need to say a word about the audience for the gig. The audience was impeccable, with barely any talking at all at any point (apart from whispered orders at the bar). Credit goes to Gary, Annie and David, who managed to grab the audience from the start, but also to everyone there. If you were there yourself, give yourself a high five!***
Review written by Nick Cantwell (instagram.com/nickcantwellmanagement)
 
 
 


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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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