Published on February 23rd, 2015 | by Sophia Longhi


Woodford Reserve @ Nightjar, Old St

Nightjar has long been one of ImALondoner’s favourite bars of all time, but just when we thought we couldn’t love it anymore; it has just gone and tipped the scale. Having recently teamed up with Woodford Reserve, Nightjar are now the proud hosts of a quarterly event in which Woodford Reserve will present live bluegrass music and a special menu of their favourite cocktails. Small-batch bourbon, live music and a wonderful old-school-glamour venue – this is what ImALondoner heaven looks like.

The first Woodford Reserve evening at Nightjar kicked off at the beginning of February, where they introduced the Ben Somers String Band to the stage. For Rosie and Edmund, the creators of Nightjar, music has always been a significant factor in the very essence of the venue, up there with perfect drinks and excellent service. For Woodford, bluegrass music is the sound of home. Crafted in America’s oldest distillery in the bluegrass region of Kentucky, bourbon and bluegrass go hand in hand, and Woodford Reserve are delighted to be able to celebrate their Kentucky roots at Nightjar.

Five cocktail specials are featured on the menu at a steal of £7 each, including the somewhat show-stopping Toronto. Presented in a heavy tumbler with a huge smoking ball of candy floss pinned to the side, it smells amazing as it is set down on the table. That would be the orange blossom smoke candyfloss, which I can’t resist stealing a piece from immediately and popping it into my mouth. Woodford Reserve is teamed with coffee and roasted pecan maple syrup and Fernet-Branca, creating a delicious burnt caramel-tasting concoction that is a wonderful accompaniment to the grown-up candyfloss.

We also try the Acylpyrin – hard to pronounce but incredibly easy to drink. Made with Woodford, fresh galangal (a kind of ginger), honey, fresh lemon and egg, it is warming and zesty. Crumbled meringue on top just sweetens the lips and the silky egg white lends it a delightfully smooth and light texture.

Nightjar Woodford

For the classic cocktail fans, a Red Hook would be a worthy selection. An enticing alternative to a Manhattan, it comprises of Woodford, fresh blood orange, dry sherry and Ratafia. Sipping on a Red Hook and tapping my foot to the bluegrass band – this is what it’s all about, right?

For a moment I stray from the specials and my eyes light up at the Champagne Julep, listed in Nightjar’s main menu. This is a celebration of Woodford muddled with Ontario Ice Wine Tea leaves, Yumberry, sugar, lemon, Absinthe Bitters and champagne – and it looks gorgeous in a tall Absinthe glass, presented with a Julep strainer. The heady Absinthe aroma is present at each sip, and although sharp and fresh, it has also delicate herbal dimension, which is complemented by the toastiness of the bourbon.

With cocktails that are nothing short of revolutionary paired with great live music, all within a wonderfully seductive venue, Nightjar and Woodford Reserve make a dazzling partnership. We can’t wait for Nightjar’s next Woodford Reserve evening in a few months’ time.


Nightjar, 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB

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About the Author

Lioneye Media lionesses, Sophia and Rebecca, can tweet with one hand whist sipping an espresso martini with the other. Dedicated food, wine and cocktail connoisseurs, they love nothing better than scoping out London for its best bars and restaurants. Follow their exploits and breakfast pics on Twitter @LioneyeMedia

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