Sipsmith Hot Gin Rooftop LONDON CALLING, Feb 2017

On February 4th a group of us attended the Sipsmith Hot Gin Roof at the Ham Yard Hotel, London. Not knowing what to expect by hot gin we were very impressed with the overall event experience...

The stylist urban village feel of Ham Yard Hotel is the perfect venue for this experience. The exclusive rooftop bar has views over Soho in the winter—not a view most get to experience.
The idea of hot cocktails is not new, with the Hot Toddy or Irish Coffee being the staples, but what Sipsmith have created is a new way of thinking about enjoying cocktails, celebrating great ingredients and enjoying in an environment relevant for a hot serve.

Much can be learned from this event for our core brands, considering how we embrace quality hot serves alongside refreshment and the classics that we are used to seeing.

The cocktail menus were tactile with a natural feel on a weighty stock. They felt luxury and handcrafted. Subtle branding with key iconography really elevated this touchpoint.

The environment was intimate. The rooftop was strewn with vintage-look plant pots and patterned cushions, along with soft grey blankets to snuggle up when it got chilly. Subtle lighting in many different forms set the mood with rustic and contemporary furniture and chilled music in the background.

The Hot Gin & Tonic

Hot Gin & Tonic was presented as a complimentary introduction to Hot Gin Cocktails. The waiter introduced the cocktail to each table and explained the "Hot Gin" concept and took us through the menu.

The Smoking Cardinal.

Reminiscent of Glühwein, this classic, deriving from the Smoking Bishop Hot Drink, is very delicate and refined drink, full of flavour. The garnish made all the difference here—dried and candied orange slice gave a wonderful fragrance as the heat from the cocktail escaped and you took your first sip.

The Reverse Martini

A simple mix but great flavours that were enjoyable hot.

Another lovely touch were the candles. Simply cut of bottles of Sipsmith Gin with tea lights—subtlety bringing through the branding.

The New Proof

The New Proof made with V.J.O.P (Sipsmith's Very Juniper Over Proof Gin) used a theatrical method for heating up the drink. Look at the above video to see this in action.

This was a very strong drink for sipping slowly. It had incredible flavours and who can resist a cocktail with Gin and Islay Whisky (even if it wasn't Laphroaig!)

Hot Pharmaceutical

Another phenomenal drink and a resounding success. Taking inspiration from the Espresso Martini this creamy, boozy delight is one for coffee lovers.

This idea would be perfect as an evolution to Cafe Courvoisier new on-trade platform pushing the VSOP Espresso Martini serve into more occasions and formats.

Hot London Cup

Such an elegant cocktail. Hot sharp lemon compliments the Gin and fragrant tea perfectly.

Hot Negorni

What a drink! I could almost go as far as saying this hot version of the classic Negroni is better than the original. (For my pallets anyway on a cold evening on a roof top)

The presentation of this was inspired and felt just right to be served in a tea cup. Very unusual but just worked!

Red Snapper

The Hot drink take on a Bloody Mary. Hard for this to avoid just being alcoholic tomato soup however the balance of flavours tipped it just the right side to be called a drink! Sandwiches it came with were very tasty too.

Fire towers made sure everyone was toasty warm!
For those who needed more warmth hot water bottles were on standby!

In summary the event was very successful, challenging us to discover small batch Gin in surprising and exciting ways. A marriage of old meets the new, looking into historical drinks and reinterpreting these in a modern, hot and relevant way. Educating consumers and taking them on a journey of discovery. Telling the authentic story of Sipsmith and what it stands for, so consumers feel empowered to share with others.

All this packaged in an in a relevant format for Sipsmith. Experiencing the brand in London, on a roof top in soho is a perfect fit for a challenger brand with great reputation. I felt the character of the brand come to life through the small team that help build and craft the brand day to day there to engage in a friendly and passionate way. This, in a exclusive and relaxing environment, helped elevate the entire experience.

Highlighting the Sipsmith Gin signature flavour wasn't as apparent in the hot drink format, however this wasn't really the goal. Well thought out and impactful partnership events such as these will help raise awareness and give consumers a unique experience that they will remember.

I'm very much looking forward to my next Sipsmith experience.

Created By
Tim Dexter

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