So you thought London Cocktail Week only happened once a year?

Well, you’ve got it all wrong.

Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, its co-founders and organisers, are launching a warm-up festival, taking place from July 5 to 11.

A mini version of the main event, it will see 30 of London’s best bars creating £7 cocktails for those who buy a London Cocktail Week 2021 wristband.

The great idea behind it, which will build anticipation for LCW in October (which, like last year, will actually run for a month), is to support some of the bars that suffered most during lockdown.

‘Each venue taking part in the London Cocktail Week Warm-Up has been hand-picked for its excellence but also chosen specifically because it had no outside space and had to stay closed the longest,’ says Payne.

‘We’re delighted to have the platform to make a difference to these venues and are committed to helping the hospitality industry bounce back by giving people a reason to get back into enjoying London’s unrivalled cocktail culture.’

Participating venues include hidden, basement and speakeasy-style bars such as Homeboy, Bar Americain and Coupette; the outside-the-box Shrub And Shutter; and Laki Kane, with its tropical tiki vibe. Cheers!

Wristbands are £15, valid for both the Warm Up and LCW. Get yours here

Mrs Riot, Covent Garden

Named after 18th-century actress Kitty Clive, this venue boasts music every night, London’s first ‘vegan cupcake drag queen bottomless brunch’ and an eclectic cocktail menu. Try the Curtain Call, with mezcal, green chartreuse and cherry liqueur.

Visit their website here.

Nocturne, South Kensington

Nocturne is a cosy, intimate environment decorated with antique mirrors and mismatched furniture.

The drinks list is split into Vintage, Pre-prohibition and Prohibition cocktails like the Nocturne 1900s, with dry gin, dry sake and grapefruit juice.

Visit their website here.

The Duchess of Dalston, Dalston

This cocktail bar will use local ingredients such as honey from Bermondsey Street bees and herbs grown on the rooftop to enhance drinks such as The 43, with Cargo Cult rum, Somerset cider brandy, honey, lemon and pistachio.

Visit their website here.

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