As I mentioned yesterday - the way to cure your weekend drinking woes is to do your drinking during the week - you tend to drink (and eat) less, enjoy higher quality drinks and avoid hangovers altogether.
Thursday - Nikka Whisky Popup bar at Smiths of Smithfield
Drinking Japanese Whisky, it seems has never been cooler. The Japanese love a good story, and if, like me, you are a complete novice when it comes to Japanese Whisky, i'd suggest perhaps starting here. The unique flavour profiles found within these whiskies, not to mention their rarity means they've been a regular feature on the backbars of many top establishments for years.
The Nikka pop-up bar at Smiths of Smithfield first floor bar offers 10 styles of Nikka Whisky and 6 whisky cocktails created by Smiths bartender Tiziano Tasso. Whilst the popup bar is no doubt focused around the extensive list of expressions which Nikka are showcasing, the concept of Omakase underpins this by attempting to bring Japanese style service alongside Japanese Whisky and relevant cocktails.
The idea of Omakase is to entrust the drink selection to the bartender who, through some form of divination will find the correct drink for you.
So essentially, you'll let the bartender decide the drink? In any normal bar situation this would lead to some ridiculous outcomes where you'd find yourself drinking an Earl Grey infused Midori lemonade. Thankfully the list here is short and (almost) all worth trying.
After a few rounds of Omakase with Tiziano, the drinks which stood out were the Authentic Nikka, a short and not too sweet cocktail which blends whisky, cinnamon, tonka beans and creme de banana (above), the Honshu Passage, a long, sweeter but refreshing drink with pear liqueur, Nikka Miyagikyo 12 year old topped with lemon juice. The Unconventional was the stand out drink, fusing eastern ingredients such as Japanese sansho peppers and a very good homemade Sake Vermouth with Coffey Grain (A blended Nikka whisky) in a Manhattan format.
Prices start at £9 for the cocktails and £10 for individual pours of whisky. The Nikka pop-up bar runs until May 31st.