Sunday, 20 October 2013

CHAMBORD COCKTAIL CHALLENGE

So I was lucky enough to be selected to be part of the decadent Chambord Challenge Experience, courtesy of Square Meal and Chambord.
With this stroke of luck, I was given a passport to eight cocktail bars that were participating in the Chambord Challenge, entitling me to sample 2 complimentary Chambord cocktails in each bar, between 1st-30th September. The samples included one Chambord Glamour, the new signature serve by Chambord, and a bespoke cocktail designed by each bar.

I didn't start til mid-September, but I finally managed to complete all 8 bars just in time - quite evenly spread as I preferred to take my time to enjoy each experience as opposed to going on a binge. Company is always welcomed, so I brought along Mr D who is clearly a seasoned drinker of all things alcoholic...

So let's see how each cocktail bar fared...

Covent Garden Cocktail Club

This was the first bar we visited, and our first time trying the Chambord Gl'amour - it tasted quite sharp and strong (in a good way), but would have been great with a layer of froth, which we noticed that the majority of the other bars had implemented. There was also a bit of a spicy aftertaste.

The signature cocktail was served in a tall glass, topped off with a strawberry and some rosemary. It looked bright and summer-y, and tasted quite sweet and fruity, although we felt that there was a bit too much crushed ice that made the drink quite diluted towards the end. 
Presentation was good, and I personally like sweet and fruity cocktails, so this refreshing cocktail gets a nod of approval from me.

There were some problems with the lighting so the place was quite dark, but the staff were generally friendly despite it being quite busy at the bar.

 

The Crazy Bear

The Chambord Glamour was served in a martini glass - it had a nice layer of foam.

The signature cocktail was served in a tall, long glass, and topped with a pretty viola. It was gin-based, mixed with pineapple bitters, marmalade and agave, which gave it a sweet and fruity tropical taste. Nice layer of froth at the top.
Yet another tasty summer cocktail that I really liked. And cocktails with pretty flowers and presentation always get a plus from me - I'm just such a girly girl. Lady, I mean.

Service and waiting time wasn't too bad as the bartender gave a clear explanation of the drinks.

 

The London Cocktail Club

The night started off pretty well as we were greeted by the friendly guys behind the bar. 
What confused me at this place was that we were served two of the same cocktails - none of which were the Chambord Glamour, that I thought was a standard sample to be judged in this competition.

Anyway, the signature cocktail consisted of chilli, Licor 43, lemon, egg white, vanilla, creme de cacao blanc, Chambord. This was topped off with a chocolate bourbon biscuit, which I'm guessing was to compliment the chocolate liqueur. A pleasant sweet citrus flavour, with a nice layer of froth from the egg white that gave it a silky creamy texture that worked well with the drink.


The Lucky Pig

There was an event going on but we were lucky to be let in to try out the cocktails. The place was busy as expected, but the barman was still quite attentive - he gave us a couple of shots and refreshments to make up for the lack of available seating space and the wait, which wasn't too long.

The Chambord Gl'amour was nice and strong, with a smooth layer of froth.

We were given a selection of four to choose from for our second cocktail - we went for the Isadora Belle, made with Belvedere Raspberry Vodka, Chambord, raspberry puree & pineapple juice and topped with prosecco. A good, thick layer of froth topped with a cute raspberry.

An obvious raspberry theme going on there, not that I'm complaining as I love fruity flavours...


Long Bar at The Sanderson Hotel

After having some pretty good Chambord Glamour cocktails at other venues, I was pretty let down by the one served here. It looked and tasted pretty average.

The second cocktail was the Limited Edition - Imperial Vodka, Chambord, Grand Marnier, strawberries, lemon juice and orange bitters.

 The bar staff weren't very friendly nor attentive considering it was a quiet evening - they looked like they were more focused on packing up...
Definitely one of the least memorable in terms of drinks and service, which is a shame as I had pretty high hopes on this place.

 

London Cocktail Club, Shaftesbury Avenue

After two failed visit attempts (once we were put off by some pretty drunk people outside, and the second time it was closed...), we finally made it in and got some seats at a high table.

The Chambord Glamour was sweeter than some others, and easy to drink. It had a thin layer of froth at the top, but it was not quite as smooth and creamy as some of the other cocktails.

Their signature cocktail was served in a long glass, made up of vodka, hibiscus, lemon juice, sours, Chambord, and topped up with soda water.
It wasn't very strong, but very fruity and fresh. Maybe a tad bit diluted as it would have been nice to have some stronger flavours coming through. Overall a very summer-y cocktail.

 

Salon Bar de Joel Robuchon

This was probably the prettiest looking Chambord Glamour that we tried - it had a much lighter colour to it, a nice balance of sweetness, and lovely creamy froth.

Their signature cocktail was made with homemade thyme syrup, lime, 3 dashes of whisky, Bacardi 8 rum and Chambord. A rather complex concoction which was quite strong with a smokey aftertaste. Also very interesting herb-y taste.

Also the most chilled out and comfortable place amongst the rest, with good attentive service.

 

Oskar's Bar, Dabbous

 The 8th and final place on the list...after three failed attempts.

The Chambord Gl'amour was served in a different looking goblet glass - a bit sweeter than average and easy to drink, though the froth not quite as smooth.

The signature cocktail was served in a more unique manner, where I constructed my drink with the ingredients - well the drink was already mixed in the bottle so it was just a matter of applying my artistic skills!
Made with American whisky, fresh orange, lemon juice and Chambord - sweet and fruity, and also very pretty and colourful, which was appealing to the eye.





And that brings an end to my journey through the Chambord Challenge.  

Another perk of completing the reviews the chance of winning a pair of tickets to the OhLaLa-Macarons Cocktails and Macaroon Masterclass.

Clearly, it doesn't look like I've won, but nonetheless it has been an enjoyable experience!

And you also may have noticed I have a slight obsession with silky smooth froth...
 
At least there was another fun week of cocktails that we took advantage of during London Cocktail Week. 
Everyday should be a cocktail day...

Looking forward to more exciting wins!

The Cheekster, signing out x

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