Rebecca Paddick finds out what's in store for this year's boozy celebration
Bristol Cocktail Week (BCW) is a series of events celebrating the glorious cocktail scene in our fair city. Taking place from the 25 September to 1 October, BCW is a not-for-profit event run by an ever-changing group of independent Bristol bartenders.
This year’s events are curated and organised by Ben Alcock of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Gareth Aldridge, freelance designer and bartender, and Danny Walker of Psychopomp Micro Distillery.
Each year, BCW has a clear visual theme, and this year, the team have decided on The Board Game, with talented designer Gareth putting together a unique game specifically for the event. The fully playable boxed board game is based on the cocktail bars of Bristol. Guests will be able to ride the dice through a virtual night out in the city, collecting trivia and drinks recipes along the way.
This year's festivities kick off with The Bristol Cocktail Cup. Now in its seventh year, this competition is a fiercely contested battle between 16 of the best bartenders from across the city.
The competition starts at The Harbour Hotel, with the bartenders creating cocktails to be served from a hotel mini bar to some esteemed hotel guests.
Tuesday sees the start of this year’s consumer events, with three great activities spread across the city. The first-ever Bristol Cocktail Week Pub Quiz will take place at The Green Man pub in Kingsdown. The BCW team will be taking over the taps and serving cocktails straight from the beer pumps, while 10 teams of four battle it out in a cocktail-themed quiz. Rounds include ‘booze in the news’ and ‘alcopop culture’ as well as a picture round, music, and a cocktail-tasting round.
At Corn Street’s Noche Negra there will be an Absinthe and Life Drawing class, where guests will channel their inner Toulouse-Lautrec – sipping absinthe and Perrier Jouet champagne while drawing life models under the watchful eye of a resident artist.
If art isn't your bag then head up to the Clifton Observatory for Ardbeg – Unleash The Beast, and get taken on a flavour journey across the isle of Islay, while taking in spectacular views of Bristol.
Wednesday is all about flavour, starting with a guide to making cocktails for your next barbeque, garden party or picnic with Good Things To Drink Outside, at Her Majesty’s Secret Service (HMSS). The team at HMSS have partnered up with the guys from Bacardi to create some incredible cocktails, utilising things you will find in your home and garden.
Wednesday also sees BCW’s first-ever wine cocktail event, #comesailaway with Cloudy Bay. The Pumphouse will be playing host to an evening of cocktails, canapes and wines from this iconic New Zealand winery. But if wine is not your thing, then head to Small Bar on King Street for an evening of whisky, beer and cocktail pairing with Compass Box and Left Handed Giant.
Thursday is a secret! At The Secret Hendricks Gin Experience guests will be picked up in the city and whisked away to a secret location to learn about the history of gin in literature, with a truly unique cocktail tasting and dinner.
Not everything is hush-hush though, as the team will be revealing the secrets to Perfecting The Martini. Hyde & Co will be serving up a selection of the much-loved tipple, before mixing a bespoke Martini for each guest.
Friday is time to party, and what says party more than champagne? So, celebrate in style at The Gold Bar with Canapes and Champagne Cocktails with some of the biggest names in bubbly: Moet & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, Ruinart and Dom Perignon.
But if you want something a little wilder then head on down to Gypsies, Gin, Rogues & Thieves at The Milk Thistle for a night of performance, costumes and cocktails.
Saturday gets foodie, as Steam will play host to the BCW Tequila & Taco Fiesta. For something a little more West Country, the team at Psychopomp will be working at The Bristol Cheese Monger to present The Ultimate Cocktail & Cheese Pairing.
All event tickets are available from BCW’s official ticketing partner TIKK. For further information head to www.bristolcocktailweek.bar or contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org