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REVL Meets Hannah Sharman-Cox

Hannah Sharman-Cox doesn’t get hangovers. She also doesn’t think you should be making cocktails at home. Instead you should be drinking them in some of London’s best bars. And there’s plenty of them because her main event, London Cocktail Week kicks off next month and she’s managed to rope in 250 of them to serve you.

“I get the fear so bad that no one is going to come,” says Hannah, even though she knows this year’s event is set to be the biggest yet. From 3rd-9th October, you can enjoy a huge cocktail village in Spitalfields, a five-story drinking den in the West End plus pop-ups from the best international bars. But still, she forgets that all of this has been orchestrated by her and her growing team.

“My proudest moment is cocktail week every year. I actually forget that I’ve done it and obviously now there’s a whole team of us. But you don’t really realise what you’ve done and then suddenly I’ll see the digital screen we’ve booked on Shoreditch High St and the seven-day countdown begin. You just think eeek.”

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Hannah isn’t your average MD either, she’s friendly, welcoming and utterly charming with an Essex accent that emphasises her mischievous side. The spark in her eye when she talks about her best mate’s drunken alter ego is just as endearing and present as when she’s telling you about the work her team put into each of the Drink.Up London events. And I’m angling to be BFFs with her. She just doesn’t know it yet. Her tales of nights out exploring London’s bars will give anyone major FOMO.

Oh, I don’t ever plan to stop drinking. My Grandmother went out with a whiskey in her hand. God bless her, but what a nice way to go.

A dancer by trade, the hospitality industry wasn’t something that just fell onto Hannah’s lap. She went and knocked on its door to get in; a go-and-get-it attitude that shows how she got where she is today. “After working with Milk & Honey for five years, my next big full-time job was drinks writing. And just because I had the balls to get stuck in with it, my manager asked me to start a drinks awards night. I’d never had any training on any of it. But with any new business or venture, you’ve just got to roll your sleeves up and get on with it.”

Hannah now runs Drink.Up London, the company that holds the trademarks for London Cocktail Week, London Wine Week and of course London Beer Week. “I never meant to run beer week, but I owned the trademark and I just thought I can’t have someone else do it because people would think it would be us doing it anyway. Like the coffee festival, people always say ‘I enjoyed your coffee festival’ but that isn’t me.”

Now into its seventh year, London Cocktail Week is always the main event and something that only keeps getting bigger. It’s booze, silly and welcoming as Hannah describes. An inexpensive week-long affair without any snootiness or fuss.

“If you’re wearing one of our wrist bands, then you’re in our gang. Inclusivity is our main word all the time. Are we making people feel warm and welcome? Because it doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or a student. You’ve spent your ten pounds and you should go and have a nice time on it.”

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And ‘nice times’ are certainly one of the perks that come along with her job too, as she’s regularly trying out the latest hangout or enjoying cocktails at her favourite bar in The Savoy. When asked however, if she would ever stop drinking, she replied in impeccable fashion,

“Oh, I don’t ever plan to stop drinking. My Grandmother went out with a whiskey in her hand. God bless her, but what a nice way to go.”

London Cocktail Week is on 3rd – 9th October
Buy your wristband now


How to booze like a pro with Hannah Sharman-Cox

Biggest ‘don’t’ of the booze industry?

“Never leave without tipping. Tip, tip with all your heart and meaning. Even if you’re a guest, and yes you can’t put it through your expenses, it sucks but just tip.”

Biggest ‘do’?

“Just go home when it’s time to go home. FOMO is not a good enough reason to stay out.”

How do you stay sober at a boozy event?

“We always do a dry month before the festival. Drink sparkling water and just the standard stuff too; water, food, sip your drink, put it down.”

How about curing a hangover?

“D’ya what, I don’t suffer from hangovers on the whole. And I don’t have a secret cure either, just drink a bit less, go home!”

What would your last drink of the night be?

“A Sweet Manhattan. It’s very sweet, warm and round and I have to go home after two.”

What’s the weirdest cocktail you’ve ever tried?

“Two years ago for cocktail week, Dominoes Pizza without speaking to us made a pizza cocktail with a salami infused something or other and yeah, it was just gross.”

What makes a good cocktail?

“The ambience around it. For me, the love of all this is hospitality.”

Best bars in London for… after work drinks?

“Bar termini n Soho, it’s just glorious”

… a first date?

“Probably somewhere trendy like Satan’s Whiskers or Original Sin. They would be quite fun. Though there’s nothing I love more than spotting a Tinder date though.”

… a Saturday night?

“I don’t think you can beat any of the London Cocktail Clubs. They’re so good. They’re such nice boys that own it and all of their staff are having the best time, all of the time. Good for them.”

… one of those ‘oops’ nights?

“That’s a bar called Loves Company. You go in and it’s like 10.30pm and you come out and it’s like 4am, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s like a vortex.”

Your favourite bar in London?

“Complete classic joyousness would be the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy. It’s just like a hug when you go in.”

London Cocktail Week is on 3rd – 9th October
Buy your wristband now

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