Hendrick’s Unusual Umbrella Emporium

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The Hendrick’s Unusual Umbrella Emporium at London Cocktail Week will see the humble cocktail umbrella regain its rightful place amongst a good bartender’s accoutrements. The work of its eccentric inventor – Jonas Hanway – will be celebrated at this eclectic bar cum museum from the 12th to the 15th of October. From brollies for dogs to parasols for smoking pipes, the Emporium will showcase an array of delightfully peculiar umbrellas alongside a selection of cocktails and cocktail umbrellas designed by the top bartenders in the UK.

It was Jonas Hanway (1712-1786), the philanthropist and Foundling Hospital governor who popularised the use of the umbrella in the UK. Despite years of abuse from Hackney Coachmen and others, he persevered with his beloved umbrellas and began creating them for all manner of occasions. One such invention was an umbrella was for his ‘preparing for dinner’ drink, to prevent droplets from his wife’s perfume atomiser falling into his gin.

In recent times, the cocktail umbrella has suffered from its association with tacky flamboyance and garish drinks. By celebrating this esteemed history, Hendrick’s Gin aims to help the cocktail umbrella reclaim its rightful place amongst a good bartender’s tool kit. In addition to offering fine drinks and showcasing Mr Hanway’s more peculiar creations, the Emporium will also host a number of unusual activities during London Cocktail Week:

A Genteel Tipple through Gin in Literature: “I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host.” So said Dorothy Parker. Gin has fuelled legendary writers, unforgettable characters and gripping plots. Come and enjoy some especially enlightening extracts and sample wonderfully mixed Hendrick’s cocktails from esteemed host David Piper. All drinks included. 13th & 14th October 6-7pm (tickets £10 each – limited to 50 places per session).

The Quintessential Anthology of Gin: Hosted by Hendrick’s British Ambassador, Duncan McRae. Gin has come far from the days of the debauched craze that inspired Hogarth’s famous Gin Lane drawing. This rare opportunity to taste the constituent distillates of the award winning Hendrick’s Gin will surprise and delight novices and aficionados alike. 13th & 14th October, 2-3.30pm (tickets £10 – limited to 20 places per session).

The Hendrick’s Unusual Umbrella Emporium: Visitors to the Umbrella Emporium throughout the week will be invited to showcase their artistic ability and flair by creating their own cocktail umbrella design – the best of which will go into production. Participants will be rewarded for such endeavours with a refreshing Gin & Tonic – 12th – 15th October, from 12.00-23.00hrs (free to all, inc non-LCW members).

The Hendrick’s Cucumbrella Cup: Genteel spirits, delightfully peculiar cocktail umbrellas and cucumber sandwiches all round at the most anticipated cocktail competition of the year. The bartenders whose creations are on sale at the Emporium will have their work judged by their peers in what is sure to be fabulously civilised event. 12th October, 7pm (invitation only).

Commenting on the Unusual Umbrella Emporium at London Cocktail Week, Commander of Special operations David Piper said: “With the proverbial cats and dogs a favourite feature of British time-passing conversation, it is about time that true thanks was given to Mr Hanway. While it is the common umbrella that he is best known for, his unabashed eccentricity and creativity gave rise to many other fine inventions, the umbrella for drinks believed to be one. Sadly it has been misappropriated for use in some unrefined drinks and so we hope to give it back its rightful place amongst the bartender’s kit.”

For more information, visit the Hendrick’s website. To reserve places at either the gin in literature evenings or gin tastings, register at the London Cocktail Week website.

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