It’s Margarita o’clock and we’re chatting cocktails with Hannah Lodge; owner of BarChick (the guide to the best bars in the world) and creative media agency Spirited Media. ¡Salud!
It’s the end of a long day – what are you drinking?
I love to signal the end of the day with a spritzy aperitif, especially during lockdown with its ‘when does coffee time become wine time’ blurred lines.
Fill up a large wine glass with ice, tonic and a splash of these and the evening feels like it’s really begun.
Do you have a ritual which helps you unwind at home?
Every night I take a soak in the tub before I roll into bed. And when I say roll… I really mean it. I’ve got a thing for baths in bedrooms.
I’m mid-renovation at the moment and the one thing I insisted on was a bath in the bedroom like we have at The Well Residence in Margate, there’s nothing like a soak in Aromatherapy Associates oil and stepping out straight into clean sheets.
Hannah sleeps in Relaxed Cotton in Rose and Ink
What cocktail do you have on a) your breakfast table and b) your nightstand?
A) Weekend mornings kick off nicely with a Bloody Maria (Bloody Mary’s naughty sister with tequila instead of vodka). Or if it’s a longer brunch affair I’ll switch to Palomas – pink grapefruit, tequila and soda with a squeeze of lime. They’re fresh, long and the bitter tang wakes you up in no time.
B) I love a Three Spirit Nightcap on the rocks; it’s a new non-alc spirit that uses plants and herbs to bring the vibes, and Nightcap has valerian so brings on a dreamy mood.
If I’m drinking something stronger it’ll be a rum on the rocks. Rum is big news for the next few years and there are some delicious aged ones out there that are smooth sippers. At the moment I’m loving Diplomatico but we’ve rounded up our favourite 20 recently on BarChick.
Happy hour o'clock
How do you separate drinking for work and drinking for pleasure?
Work for me usually involves producing and directing drinks shoots, judging brand competitions or working on proposals and doing the boring ‘business stuff’ behind the scenes, so contrary to popular belief (Mum) I’m rarely drinking for work.
When it comes to bar reviewing and seeing the epic hospitality industry in action really that is just pure pleasure for me. Often I’ll go along with my husband or a friend and enjoy it as everyone else would, with the added perks of getting behind the scenes intel and meeting some of the brilliant creators behind it all.
Even when I’m out and about without my BarChick hat on I can’t help but be drawn into it.
Can you give us a great lesser known cocktail recipe to try?
Lockdown was a great time to try out new products and have a play around with some twists on classic drinks. A favourite of mine is a Mezcalita – a twist on a Margarita using mezcal and I like to spike it with some chilli for a fiery kick.
- 50ml Mezcal
- 25ml fresh lime juice
- 10ml agave syrup
- Shake over ice
- Serve in a rocks glass (if you want to make a salt rim rub agave around the glass rim and dip it in some sea salt flakes)
- ++ Add in some chilli / pineapple and basil / mango if you’re feeling fruity!
Where are the best places in London to have after-work drinks?
I love standing outside a Soho pub on that first day of summer when the sun comes out and everyone seems to clock off at 4 to celebrate its arrival.
It would then be over to Swift for an aperitif or glass of fizz. If we’re making a night of it, I’ll be kicking off in style at Duke’s or The Connaught for a Martini (and to fill up on delicious bar snacks).
That being said, most of the time I work from my home. It’s a location house named The Palm Residence and I’ve recently just built a cocktail bar and terrace so I’ll kick back there with my poodle Hercules – or if I’m lucky one of my team as we often work together from here.
What’s your signature drink?
Champagne. I love how it adds a little luxury and makes everything from brunches, long baths or riding solo at a bar into an occasion. Life really is just one special occasion after all.
If I’m feeling naughty it’ll be a Pina Colada, it’s my guilty pleasure drink. It accidentally became the drink of our wedding in Goa a few years back and I can’t drink one without remembering the wild times with our mates, it always makes me smile.
Where is your favourite cocktail city?
London, we really have it all here. Most of ‘the best bars in the world’ are here sure but we’ve also got pubs that know a thing or two about a proper pint, rooftops with beautiful views, whisky soaked speakeasies and Soho – which is quite honestly the wildest place on earth.
It’s also great watching the emerging cocktail destinations around the world. I was recently in Mumbai and it’s cool to see the excitement around bars and cocktails there as the scene continues to develop. You have to really hunt down the good spots but when you find them you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot, it’s all part of the fun.
What are you cooking for a Friday-night-in and what are you drinking with it?
I like to keep things simple and fresh in the summer so usually a seafood dish – perhaps fresh crab, chilli and lemon tossed through some linguine or seabass fillets on the grill.
I’d pair it up with a light white wine, perhaps a Picpoul, or try a slightly tangy orange or organic wine with it.
Hannah’s Lie-in List
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Rennie Eddo Lodge. A very important book.
The Alchemist – Paulo Cohelo. Remains my favourite ever book, inspiring and life affirming.
Red magazine – It’s my favourite mag out there, thoughtful features and brilliantly edited, perfect in the bath material.
I’m late to the Schitts Creek party and I’m loving it, perfect escapism TV.
I May Destroy You – Micheala Coel is what TV needs.
We’ve just got a vinyl player in the house so when my husband has control we endlessly listen to Tom Misch and Jamiroquai, when I get my spin it’s anything upbeat and soulful - Donna Summer, Chic and Prince. I’m a disco girl.
I’m a sucker for the High Low (isn’t everyone?) and queen Brene Brown’s podcast ‘Unlocking Us’ is thought provoking and on point for a bit of psychological analysis.
One of my team is beautifully spiritual and her account @cosmic_cures teaches about the moon cycles and how to work with them. I’ve found it fascinating doing cosmic assignments for each moon phase and love the spiritual strategies for life and business goal setting.
My go to spirit is tequila and there are some delicious ones out there right now that are changing the perception of the spirit – El Rayo is one of them, created by some lads in Peckham.
Haeckels in Margate is one of my very favourites, they set up in Margate just before we launched The Well and the team behind it are so passionate about what they do and saving the planet. Not only are their products amazing (the handwash in particular) but I love how their products are made using seaweed and natural materials foraged along the Kent coast.
Hannah sleeps in effortlessly crumpled and super-soft Relaxed Cotton in Ink and Rose...