Category / Pop Up

Sipsmith Punch House

Those Sipsmith boys always come up with jolly good ideas. The Summer Cup that was, is now rebranded London Cup, and includes Borage instead of cucumber – perfect served long, with lemonade.   It’s pretty powerful at 29.5% so go easy on the pour. The base is their marvellous gin, infused with Earl Grey tea, lemon verbena and a mass of other botanicals.

Summer these days seems to come and go in a single weekend, but that aside, this cup can be served hot so the word ‘Summer’ probably pigeon-holed it.  Back in the day, ‘cups’ were multipurpose and whilst there would be always be a base alcohol (gin or sherry) the quality wasn’t great and so spice and fruit would be added to deal with the harshness and these would be served either cold or hot.

‘Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks’ is the earliest British publication to document cocktail recipes; it was written by William Terrington in 1869.  In it, there are recipes for punch, wine and sherry-based, mixed with herbs and fruit and spices. A large bottle of London Cup if you like, for a large group of friends, all served in a punchbowl with a suitable mixer (or not).  London’s Inns of Court and the City of Guilds are mentioned quite a lot and tended to be all-male gatherings, thankfully these days London Cup doesn’t discriminate.

So, I’ve given you the spiel, where can you try it?  Funny you should ask.  To mark its launch,  London-dwellers will have the chance to try this and a variety of wonderful drinks at The Sipsmith Punch House at the House of Barnabas in Greek Street .  Here you can try a gin-punch cocktail, one of six, in fact, all inspired by historical recipes.   I can definitely vouch for the French 75 Punch.

Each Sunday, the House will close to members and ticket holders, will have ninety minutes to experience this historic house and all it has to offer.  Worship to the God of Gin in the Church and take in all the quirky art scattered throughout this former home built in 1679.



Look out for the plane trees that feature in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (you can see them here in the second photo, wedged between two buildings). It’s also where he penned this famous work.

Jared Brown, the Master Distiller, will talk you through the history of punch as well as give you a potted history of Sipsmith and all it has to offer.

Tickets cost £15 per session which includes your first tipple.  Know that all your hard earned cash will go straight to the House of Barnabas, a charity which helps someone get back into long lasting, paid work.

Sessions run from Sunday 6th June.

Psycle, London

Pumping tunes followed by a day of aching thighs, stomach, arms and other body parts, largely ignored for years.  It’s a price worth paying for a 45-minute spinning session at Psycle.  It’s getting better, though; I’m feeling fitter and I think I’m looking a little more toned than before.  I can certainly do 90% of a class without stopping and when I started it was around 40%. It’s a high intensity, low-impact, head-to-toe workout on a bike that doesn’t move anywhere.

Moveable parts on this fixed bike include saddle height and position, handlebar position and in the centre of the bike, a resistance button which when turned to the left releases resistance and turned to the right adds it.  There’s a brake which releases the tightened button as soon as it’s depressed.  You wear shoes, fitted with cleats, which allow the shoes to fix to the pedal when you need to stand and dig in to counteract the resistance.  Music is key here as you ride to the beat.   Each class has a soundtrack and I particularly like AD’s uniquely curated library. There are 28 instructors, all very different, and you can read about them and what you can expect from their classes here.

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Throughout the class, depending on the instructor, you’re frequently reminded to add resistance, remember why you’re in the class and pushed to your limit.  When you think it’s all over, you pick up hand weights and start working your upper body a little bit more.

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I really enjoyed the darkened room on the lower ground floor of the department store Selfridges, home to a 6-week pop-up with showers and lockers, in fact just about everything needed to mop up after a session.

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For it’s a mop that’s needed if you’re doing this class right.  Cowshed products are on hand to make you feel like a new woman post sweat phase, and there are dryers and straighteners for that just-stepped-out-of-the-salon look. The same for the other branches, although the products are different.

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Psycle have two permanent homes, one in Mortimer Street, just off Oxford Street and the other is in Canary Wharf.  Each have an Energy Kitchen, which makes up smoothies full of superfoods and healthy food to take away.

I love the idea that you pay-per-class.  There’s no hemorrhaging membership to sign up to and the more credits you buy the cheaper it becomes.   One single class will set you back £20 but if you buy 50 for £775, it costs £15.50 and they’ll last a year.  I opted for the 10 class package last time I bought some credit and it was a do-able £180 and the classes last for 6 months.

You don’t realise how much effort you put into the class until you leave and look at your reflection in a mirror. My face usually resembles a large blueberry, over time it changes its hue back to my natural pink but you’ll find the more you do, the better you get used to it.

The Selfridges pop up has ended.