Casa Sugarlandia – a jaunt into the Philippines in the heart of Shoreditch

Something has been brewing in Shoreditch in the past few weeks, and we ain’t talking about the Truman Brewery. Don Papa rum have brought the feel of the Philippines to London for an immersive island experience known as Casa Sugarlandia that unites tropical rum cocktails, banging asian food and all things weird and wonderful together until 8th June.

Entry is free so go along now to try some delicious cocktails!

Don’t know Don Papa? This Filipino rum is the first small-batch rum from the Philippines. Distilled and aged for over seven years in American oak barrels on the island of Negros Occidental (known locally as Sugarlandia), the pure, original Noble cane is the foundation for Don Papa Rum’s long, rich-textured finish and flavours of vanilla, honey and candied fruits.


Casa Sugarlandia runs from 22nd May to 8th June, taking over a two-storey venue on Shoreditch’s Great Eastern Street, revamped as a fully set-designed space, offering Londoners a spectacular taste of the island of Sugarlandia in the Philippines via some of its customs, flavours and flora.

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Check out the event listings below for more information and to grab tickets to any of the events!

While the programme changes weekly, there are some mainstays, and those with a penchant for Karaoke will be able to jump on the microphone, Filipino-style each week.  Invented in the Philippines in 1973, Karaoke comes to the Casa on Thursdays. For those on the shy side or simply hoping to coax out their alter egos, there’s also the option to don a mask to spare their blushes and truly let loose. This isn’t your regular sing along, but Masked Karaoke, Sugarlandia style.


These guys know how to do a garnish. Photo: Drinking Twins

The in-house menu comes courtesy of a rolling roster of three chef teams each presenting their take on the flavour of the Philippines. Nicknamed “Asia’s last secret cuisine”, Filipino food upholds rich flavours and displays a wide range of culinary techniques emanating from the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. BBQ chefs SARAP line up alongside London supper club chefs Mae Williams and The Adobros.


Getting papped enjoying one of the Don’s tasty cocktails. Photo: Don Papa

There will also be two, ticketed supper club experiences at Casa Sugarlandia. Mae Williams brings her authentic flavours for a five-course menu (28th May) whilst The Adobros present their distinct culinary classics (4th June). Both menus will include a complimentary Don Papa cocktail and the rum as an ingredient in a selection of dishes.

On another night, concoctions will be served with exquisitely edible sugar-spun garnishes designed by the artist Fernando La Posse showcasing the provenance of the unique Filipino sugar used to make Don Papa.

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Each week will see a well-known Filipino chef take over the dining space Downstairs at Casa Sugarlandia. Come and enjoy the much talked about cuisine of BBQ and Lechon masters Sarap London and supper club favourite The Adobros and Mae Williams.

SARAP London // 23-25 May
Food with Mae // 30 May – 1 June
The Adobros // 6-8 June

28 May // Mae Williams Filipino Supper Club 
A sumptuous five-course ‘Dinner of the Dons’ menu featuring complimentary Don Papa cocktail on arrival.
Tickets > HERE 

4 June // The Adobros Filipino Supper Club 
A sumptuous five-course ‘Dinner of the Dons’ menu featuring complimentary Don Papa cocktail on arrival.
Tickets > HERE 


Masked Karaoke – Free Entry 
Masked Karaoke is a fun and fast-paced karaoke night every Thursday at Casa Sugarlandia, but with a masked twist. 23 May is hosted by the colourful, carnivalesque and transgressive collective Sink the Pink!

23 May – Hosted by Sink the Pink 
30 May – Hosted by Tamara dos Santos 

6 June – Hosted by Tamara dos Santos

Don Papa Bar of Masks Party – Free Entry 
FREE entry to meet the Don of Tattoos, Maestro of Masks, Babaylan of Sugarlandia and other masked creatures. Choose from a beautiful selection of masks to become your Sugarlandia alter ego for the night. Top Ibiza DJ Looka Barbi on decks.
22 May 

Don Papa Cocktail Masterclass 
The Don of Cocktails is in town, ready to host a Don Papa Cocktail Masterclass. This is a Sugarlandia-inspired insight into the world of Don Papa and its island home of Negros, in the Philippines. Proceedings start with a welcome drink of the delicious Darker Don, followed by a tasting of the family of four Don Papa Rums and more.
25th May & 1st June // Tickets > HERE 

Black Cow Vodka launches new tailored cocktails

We are huge fans of Black Cow Vodka, made entirely from pure milk, as the smoothest vodka on the market. And to tempt us to drink even more, they have launched four new cocktails in some of the top bars across London.

Firstly, if you don’t know Black Cow, or don’t have a bottle in your cupboard already, this vodka is made in Dorset from the milk of grass-grazed cows. Launched in 2012, we first came across it a few years ago when we tried a pairing of smooth Black Cow, made from milk whey by dairy farmer Jason Barber, and the cheese that Jason makes from the curds of the milk. And oh boy, is it delicious. If you think of vodka as having a strong burning aftertaste, think again. Black Cow has a creamy finish that is almost like Baileys, making it great to sip or have as part of a tasty vodka cocktail.

The great news is that its also really easy to get hold of – it is sold across the UK in most places where you can find quality booze, including Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Majestic, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Berry Bros. & Rudd and quality independent retailers for around 30 quid!

To get to know the vodka even more, Black Cow have partnered with bars across London – Blakes, the Connaught and Hix Soho, who have created three signature serves to highlight Black Cow being served throughout February.

First up is Blakes, where Alex Spencer has created the Berry Smash, a light, fruity and refreshing cocktail with fruits of the forest, apple, aloe vera and cherry.

Black Cow Berry Smash Blakes hotel

Photo credit: Matt Austin

Next, Aurel Istate at the Connaught has created the ‘Carpe Gustum’ – including limoncello, egg white, vanilla, and yuzu juice and inspired by a dessert created by the the Executive Pastry Chef at the Connaught. This cocktail is dreamy and decadent.

Carpe Gustum, Connaught

Photo credit: Matt Austin

Dustin MacMillan, Head of Bars at HIX Restaurants and Black Cow Brand Ambassador, has created a bespoke Valentine cocktail. Named the ‘Blushing Bronco’, this includes rhubarb syrup and bergamot puree and will be available at HIX Soho and all other HIX restaurants throughout February.

Blushing Bronco Black Cow Cocktail at HIX1

Photo credit: Matt Austin

Finally, as a nod to the upcoming Oscars,  Massimiliano Terrile, Head Barman at Good Godfreys at The Waldorf Hilton, has created The ‘Tarantini’ Cocktail which mixes Black Cow with amaretto and strawberry conserve, topped with double cream and amaretto crumble. A nod to Quentin Tarantino, it is perfect to celebrate British success at the Bafta’s but also the upcoming Oscar’s on the 24th February.

Tarrantini Cocktail

Photo credit: Matt Austin

Black Cow really is one of our favourites, and we love playing around with it to create smooth vodka cocktails for everyone. Check out Black Cow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at: @BlackCowVodka and on their website for more info.

Glen Moray Old Fashioned Masterclass

As advent calendars begin to open and Michael Bublé emerges from his dusty pile of CDs in the spare room, there’s nothing quite like a classic whisky cocktail to ring in the season.

Hailed as one of the most sustaining and versatile classics, an Old Fashioned is our real go to for a nighttime tipple round the fire with the family. Although annoyingly hard to capture the complexities and nuances of a well made Old Fashioned on camera, the world of drinkstagram loves to experiment with this simple but profound tipple.

We were delighted to be invited to a special Old Fashioned Masterclass a few weeks ago with special guest judges Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley from ‘World’s Best Spirits’, hosted by Glen Moray, surrounded by fellow drinks passionistas and whisky buffs.

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Photo: Glen Moray

Arriving to a table overflowing with a multitude of sugars, bitters and, of course, delicious varietals of Glen Moray, we had a great night literally laid out in front of us! Given free reign to present the two judges with an interpretation of the Old Fashioned using the tabled ingredients, we were let loose in a whirlwind of bloggers and booze, and, to our surprise, we won! 🙂

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Photo: Glen Moray

The winning Old Fashioned variation we created was a Penicillin twist using Glen Moray Peated, Ginger Bitters and lemon oil, although we had great fun constructing a Black Walnut Bitters and maple syrup old fashioned and many many more (our memories get a bit blurry after the fourth or fifth…)

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Photo: Glen Moray

Post event, we wanted to continue to play around with this beautifully balanced whisky, with further experimentation with Glen Moray Elgin Classic including fat washing some with peanut butter and toasted sesame oil before mixing with a Strawberry and lime zest Oleo Saccharum and expressed orange peel to make a tasty PB+J sandwich old fashioned.

However, as fun as this experimentation was, we still think that the true beauty of this whisky lies in enjoying it neat or on the rocks, simple and classic. It has a well rounded character and smooth, long-lasting finish, with a soft acidity and tasting notes of fresh green apple and lemon.

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Photo: Glen Moray

Our favourite of the Glen Moray varieties was quite surprising. As we tend to find some peated whiskys too smoky on occasion, the Peated Glen Moray was really, REALLY good! It’s hard to quite describe the nuances that exist in this spirit but needless to say that the creamy vanilla sweetness that cut through the peat smoke created a very tasty beverage.

It’s safe to say that we have found ourselves a new favourite brand, and one that we’ll be knocking back in a ton of Whisky Macs, Penicillins, Hot Toddys and (naturally) Old Fashioneds this Xmas!

Spoil yourselves with a bottle to share with loved ones this Christmas – you won’t be disappointed we promise!

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Photo: Glen Moray

Olfactor-y Gins land in style!

The gin market. A bit more juniper here, a bit more citrus there. It’s hard to come up with something new.

So it takes something pretty outstanding to wow us nowadays, and That Boutique-y Gin company always stand ready to amaze. With their new range of Olfactor-y gins (sticking with their cheeky branding), they do just that. The new range of four unique gins evoke the feelings of fresh rain, a walk through the woods, a day at the fairground, and even the dusty pyramids and the pharaohs that lie within.

Picture the scene – you find yourself alone in the woods, twigs snapping under your feet, the heavy scent of moss and pine in your nose. With botanicals like pine needles, Icelandic moss, cubeb and woody nutmeg, the ‘Beware of the Woods Gin’  brings these scents to life.

Suddenly, there is a loud rumble in the sky, and rain starts to fall. The smell of petrichor, the scent of rain on dry earth, fills the air. You feel refreshed, and a sip of the ‘Fresh Rain Gin’ will take you right there, with botanicals like earthy golden beetroot, bentonite clay, evoking grass, pine needles, wet leaves and lemon.

As the sky clears, you break through the woodlands and hear music, laughter, the sounds of bells and whistles. This is where the ‘Big Dipper Gin‘, a true fairground of delights, comes in. With a taste and smell evoking the feel of wandering around the fairground with sweets in one hand and the shriek of machinery in your ears, this gin is made with cocoa, cardamom, juniper, liquid smoke and peated malt. If you close your eyes it really feels like you are waiting excitedly to get on a funfair ride, and we loved it.

As you make your way through the fairground, an ominous exhibit catches your eye. Roll up, roll up to see the Dead King, says an eyeless man on the poster. You walk into a dusty room, and propped up against the wall is a sarcophagus, ancient hieroglyphs covering its surface. It is quiet in the dark room, and suddenly the casket opens….

And inside, instead of a decomposing mummy, is the Dead King Gin‘. Inspired by the Egyptian art of embalming, Dead King Gin is made using rosemary, honey and plethora of exotic herbs and spices that suggest myrrh, moss, caraway, ginger and beeswax. It is at once musty, herby, and enchanting, transporting you to your own archaeological adventure.

We are really excited about these gins, and loved tasting them! If you are looking for a truly original gift for that gin lover in your life who has it all, check out the Boutique-y Gin website for more information and suggested serves, and buy the gins exclusively at Harvey Nichols. Have fun on your gin journey!

Don Papa Rum Sherry Casks Finish Dinner

A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of attending a very special dinner…



Looking regal while climbing the staircase

Like something out of Eyes Wide Shut, we ascended a candlelit stone spiral staircase behind a hidden door to an illuminated decadent room, a roof full of painted stars above warmly lit velvet furnishings atop a palatial medieval style dining table.

Amidst the opulent table settings were beautifully labelled bottles of limited edition Don Papa Sherry Casks Finish Rum, the golden treat we were here to try, after a mouthwatering four course meal by Executive Chef at Urban Caprice, Joseba Lasa, complete with expertly selected sherry pairings from wine expert and Independent columnist Adrian (Aidy) Smith.


Starlit ceiling

After a welcome cocktail, we sat down to the first of our courses, our evening punctuated by a four piece chamber orchestra who set the mood wonderfully with classical pieces and background ambience.

Throughout the evening we enjoyed an incredible range of beautifully prepared dishes, paired exquisitely with a range of sherries that moved toward the sweeter end of the palate as the meal progressed; genius and delicious.

For the grand finale, the rum was brought out and it did not disappoint as the perfect end to a delightful evening. The whole experience was well thought out from start to finish and a real treat.


Room of delicious delights

First Course:
Paired with Fino
(Bodegas Tradicion Jerez Fino)

Sea Bass Ceviche with Ajoblanco, Pickled Watermelon & Jamon Iberico
Marinated Sardines on Sourdough with Braised Aubergine & Garlic Chips
Salchichon Tartare, Mustard, Confit Potatoes, Fennel & Chervil


Second Course:
Paired with Palo Cortado
(Gonzalez Byass Leonor Palo Cortado Seco)

Grilled Baby Leeks, Romesco Sauce & Dressed Puy Lentils
Chilli Marinated Prawns, Herbed Avocado Mousse, Fried Prawn Head Emulsion & Yoghurt
Ampalya of Ox Cheeks, Mushrooms & Honey Alioli


Third Course:
Paired with Cream
(Gonzalez Byass Solera 1847 Cream Dulche)

8 Hour Braised Ox Tail Kare Kare, Goolang, Sweetcorn, Coriander & Apple Chutney, Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms & Red Onion
Adobo Pork Belly, New Potatoes Crushed with Green Mojo Picon
Baby Gem, Rocket & Radicchio Leaves Dressed with Aged Sherry Vinegar Dressing & Toasted Cashew Nuts
Sweet Potato, Caramelised Onion & Tres Leches Cheese Dauphinoise


Paired with Pedro Ximenez
(Lustau San Emilio Pedro Ximenez)

Coconut Rice Pudding with a Pedro Ximenez Glaze, Caramelised Coconut “Torrija” & Pineapple Cassava Bibbingka Cubes
Poached Pears, Mascarpone Cream & Hazelnuts
Salted Caramel & Chilli Chocolate Truffles


Don Papa Sherry Casks Finish is a Column Distilled Molasses Based Rum, aged for four years in American Oak Ex Bourbon Casks followed by 18 months in four different types of Sherry Casks: Fino, Pedro Ximenez, Cream and Palo Cortado.

These rums are then carefully blended by Don Papa’s Master Blender to produce a unique Limited Edition Rum, unfiltered and bottled at 45% ABV to further enhance the distinctive taste.

Smooth and fruity on the nose, with hints of ripe raisins, the mouth has a full bodied yet delicate sweetness with notes of plum, dark chocolate, and ripe figs. For it’s finish, the Rum lingers on the palate for an extremely long (and satisfying) time, making this a really decadent and special drink that creates the perfect end to a good meal with good friends.



Pure contentment

Finally, a huge thank you to Jolanda Thompson for the images (copyright), Patrick McAleenan and all of the team at Don Papa for the invite and to the incredible kitchen team. A true highlight of the DrinkingTwins year *loveheart emoji*


Adrian Smith delivering a Sherry sermon