I’ll take any excuse to go to London, so an invitation to Waitrose Drinks Festival was one I certainly couldn’t turn down!
The Institution of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place was the perfect venue with lecture rooms turned into champagne bars and numerous little balconies to stand and watch the day turn into night. The most imaginative was the Marconi room turned village fete: with grass underfoot and wheelbarrows of all British ciders, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a West Country county show cider tent.
With my return to university being just around the corner, it seemed quite appropriate to be spending an hour or two in a lecture theatre (even if it was spent sipping champagne – I’d call that educational). Veuve Clicquot installed a bike at the front of the theatre which you could use while wearing simulator glasses to ‘cycle’ around the vineyard of Maison Veuve Clicquot. By this point in the afternoon, it would not have been a very good idea for me to partake in the cycling, so instead I spectated, flute in hand of course!
The third floor and roof terrace were dedicate to nothing but wine. While each stand had a spittoon for unwanted wine, they didn’t seem to be used all that much. Is there such thing as unwanted wine?
With several different Pinots, I was kept occupied for a number of hours. My favourite wine of the day was most certainly Mount Difficulty’s Pinot Noir.
My favourite floor of all was the spirits. Sampling dark and light spirits against the backdrop of the Knowledge Centre & Library, I found whiskey from Japan, an array of Caribbean rums and even had a go at making my own champagne brandy cocktail. For once, I paid proper attention to mixers and was delighted to come across Harry Brompton’s alcoholic ice tea, my favourite of which was the peach mixed with Williams Extra Dry Gin. I was slightly disappointed that Williams Chase didn’t have their marmalade vodka to sample, but the rhubarb certainly made up for it.
As the drinks festival came to an end, the night did not! Travelling home with a sore head on Sunday was not fun – especially given the replacement bus service – but the patchy memories of Saturday night were definitely worth it.
With so much alcohol flowing, it was no wonder I didn’t notice the weight of the gift bag as we left!