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Charity cocktail event raises funds for bar staff

A charity cocktail event has raised a five-figure sum for The Drinks Trust charity to help bar staff hit by the pandemic.

More than 1,500 people visited the two-day Cocktails in the City event in Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, buying 4,982 cocktails created by 30 London bars using 50 premium drinks brands including alcohol-free spirit Bax Botanics, Hennessy and The London Essence Company.

The event operated at below 50% capacity and implemented a new pay-by-phone system to allow for social distancing, but featured tasting sessions, live music and main stage demonstrations.

All the representatives of bars and brands had donated their time, and the event space was provided free of charge by Bedford Estates.

Bax Botanics, which was launched in January 2019 by Chris and Rose Bax, was chosen to appear on the stand run by Declan McGurk, Chairman of the UK Bartenders Guild and former Director of Bars at The Savoy, due its sustainable credentials.

The pair, which distil their drinks in traditional beaten copper stills using ethically sourced and sustainable herbs and botanicals, have two main products – Sea Buckthorn and Verbena. The drinks are sold in the cocktail bar chain The Botanist, and Booths supermarkets. Sea Buckthorn is the only alcohol-free spirit to win a Great Taste Award.

Chris Bax said, “Seeing the crowds turn out to enjoy themselves while helping such a worthwhile cause was truly heart-warming and we were delighted to be able to take part.

“The weather gave the day a carnival atmosphere, and for a few hours it was possible to forget the restrictions being placed on the drinks industry by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Lockdown has caused immense harm to the drinks industry, and many bar staff find themselves facing an uncertain future, making events like these and the work of The Drinks Trust more valuable than ever.”