Booze hounds

Hannah Sharman-Cox & Siobhan Payne

Who are you and what do you do? Tell us about yourself…

Hannah: I started in hospitality back in 2002 at the award-winning members club Milk & Honey, London. I then switched from bars to books then brands and worked alongside Simon Difford from 2007, who encouraged me to start the festival some years later.

Siobhan: I started my career in PR in 2009 working for major booze brands, where I discovered my love of the drinks industry. I then joined Hannah at, we immediately got on and we’ve worked together ever since to grow London Cocktail Week to the renowned status it holds today as the biggest cocktail event of it's kind in the world.

Hannah: We’ve since launched a number of other drinks festivals, including London Wine Week and Scotch Whisky Weekend, plus the umbrella brand over them all – DrinkUp.London which is the industry insider’s guide to drinking in London

What’s the best thing about your job?

Aside from all the cocktails and the parties and the global travel and the immense fun with our friends?! We love being able to bring better drinking to a wider audience of consumers through our festivals (over the years we’ve had 200,000 attendees to our events), and at the same time, injecting money back into the London hospitality scene – we’ve now put millions of pounds back into the bar trade in London through the £6 drinks alone, and 100% of this revenue stays with the bars. Something we feel very proud of.

You can teleport to any bar in the world, where are you going?

Siobhan – Right now? I would have to say La Cabane in Barbados. It was opened at the end of last year by Papa Joules, of Trailer Happinness and Mahiki fame, so the cocktails are absolutely on point, and the setting – right on the edge of a secluded white sandy beach overlooking the blue ocean (IN BARBADOS YAS) – really couldn’t be better.

Hannah – I absolutely love Employees Only in NYC. There is little better than sitting at the end of the bar watching the guys there do their thing. Unparralelled hospitality, incredible drinks, brilliant music and atmosphere. It’s a yes from me. 

Where’s your favourite city for bar-hopping?

Other than London? We’d choose Paris. Incredible selection of bars, such range, not tooo spread out, lots of very friendly faces… and then the promise of a perfect croissant the next morning, what’s not to love?

What’s your idea of a party?

Jake F Burger on the decks playing a mix of pop and power ballads, everyone dancing on the tables, and Tommy’s margaritas being slung out over the bar. (RIP The Portobello Star – this was our weekend, every weekend for the best part of ten years!) 

Who in the industry would you love to rock up to the bar next to you?

Apart from each other?! There’s so many people we’d be happy to see, that’s a tough one! Handsome would be nice though. 

What is your desert island bottle?

Vintage Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs Champagne. X2.

What’s your failsafe cocktail?

We both love a gin martini (Siobhan has an olive and Hannah has a twist), or when that feels like it might pack too much of a punch (for example when we’ve already had two each), we might opt for a Clover Club. It’s nice to drink the same thing at the same time… It feels like more of shared experience!

What is your hangover cure?

We try not to get hangovers! But when the worst does happen and lying in a cold, dark room isn’t an option… mind over matter and a Diet Coke.


Booze hounds