by Annette Kellow

Last year I was invited to The London Essence launch, held at the prestigious Connaught Hotel. Little did I know how vintage it would all be! The Connaught is a long standing hotel since 1815 whilst The London Essence has roots tracing back to 1896. I decided to attend with friend, writer and dining expert Tyne O' Connell who certainly knows her stuff when it comes to cuisine. The skilful team at Wisehead Productions have breathed new life into their distinctive tonics to make the perfect mixer for cocktails and parties. I was also pleased that they are good for the waistline too (I'll have another then please) with the mixers containing plant based sugar Stevia and the most mouthwatering names such as Grape, Rosemary, Bitter Orange and Elderflower.

connaughtlaunch

Set in a 1920's style deco room, with a mirrored stairway which looked straight out of a Gatesby movie, we were welcomed in to a tray of delicious drinks with exotic names (I immediately tried the Cuban). A jazz band played old fashioned swing numbers to an eager audience and we even had a personal waiter who explained all the food and drinks to us.

Nick Strangeaway gave an intriguing talk on the evolution of gin whilst seafood inspired canapés were circulated. I, of course, couldn't resist but try them all and now my friend has named me Canapé Queen!

I have sometimes found when having a mixer in a cocktail it can be overbearing in sweetness or taste a little too sickly. The idea for The London Essence was to create a mixer that is elegant and sophisticated whilst being conscious of subtle tastes. Rather than being overbearing it is more gentle which gives it just the right hint, note and finish.