Cocktail Week Returning in 2017
Winchester Cocktail Week took place for the first time at the beginning of February and was a great success for all involved. Nearly five hundred wristband holders made their way around the city over the course of the week, trying signature cocktails, attending masterclasses and enjoying shows and parties put on especially for the week. Following excellent feedback, Cocktail Week is set to return to Winchester from Monday 6 February to Sunday 12 February 2017.
Gary Whiter and Marcus Roe of Cabinet Rooms first brought the idea of a cocktail festival to Winchester BID in November 2014. Gary explained, “Winchester is at the heart of a vibrant food and drink scene in Hampshire and with two great distilleries based on our doorstep, this seemed like the perfect location for a cocktail festival. We are over the moon that the event has been so well received.”
Highlights of Winchester Cocktail Week 2016:
- The first ever Winchester Cup bartenders’ competition was won by Maurizio Anders Laudato from the Chewton Glen Hotel in the New Forest.
- Free workshops and masterclasses were held at the Cabinet Rooms Hub throughout the week, with a cocktail masterclass run by the bar team from Hartnett, Holder & Co at the Lime Wood Hotel being a sell-out event
- Over 200 people attended a special performance of The Thinking Drinkers, which was put on by the Theatre Royal Winchester especially for Winchester Cocktail Week
- Signature cocktails proved extremely popular with wristband holders who were able to purchase them for just £4 each. With hundreds of cocktails being sold, there were reports of some bars running out of gin on the Sunday night.
- From gin tastings to whisky blending workshops, venues hosted a varied programme of events that were, in many cases, sell-outs.
- Restaurants got involved by hosting events (such as the Saké and Sushi Dinner at Kyoto Kitchen) or offering specials for the week (such as Forte Kitchen’s Sailor Jerry BBQ Burger).
- Local produce was championed throughout the week with local producers such as Danebury Vineyards, Hattingley Valley, Yarty Cordials and Twisted Nose gin taking part to support independent businesses.
- The Spitfire Sisters performed live at the Grand Finale Party held at the Guildhall Winchester, where VIP guests were treated to premium quality cocktails.
Winchester Cocktail Week was made possible through sponsorship from Rooster Creative, Paris Smith, Bacardi Brown-Forman and Winchester Distillery. Official sponsors have yet to be confirmed for 2017 however Winchester BID, who were instrumental in getting Winchester Cocktail Week off the ground and administrating the event, have already confirmed that they want to be involved in next year’s festival.
Gary said, “We worked very hard over the last year to make sure the event was a success for everyone involved so we are absolutely delighted to be now getting such positive feedback from businesses and wristband holders alike. Huge thanks go to everyone who took part. We’re looking forward to making next year’s Cocktail Week even better!”
Jayne Gillin, owner of the Little Pub Group (The Green Man, Mucky Duck, St James Tavern and the Corner House) said, “‘Winchester Cocktail Week certainly put cocktails firmly on the map for the residents of Winchester. Who knew so many people were so in love with cocktails? The week surpassed all of our expectations with every night of the week seeing cocktails in demand – even on Monday. We thoroughly enjoyed participating and we’re already mixing new potions and thinking about next year! It was a resounding success for everyone involved and everyone imbibing.”
Details of the Winchester Cocktail Week 2017 programme will be released later this year but, in the meantime, tickets are already on sale. The price of wristbands will be held at £15 for next year but, for a limited time, Cabinet Rooms are inviting people to book online at a special ‘Earlybird’ rate of £10 plus booking fee.