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Photograph: Ersah Hancer
Photograph: Ersah Hancer

Five reasons why you can’t miss The London Bourbon Experience

Say cheers to the very best of American whiskey

Written by Time Out. Paid for by The London Bourbon Experience.

It’s a drink synonymous with Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Raymond Chandler. But bourbon isn’t exclusively for the old Hollywood types – though it does maintain a kind of glamour to it – as The London Bourbon Experience will show you. Back for its third year, the event will take you through the fascinating and delicious world of American whiskey. You’ll get to explore bespoke cocktails from some of the city’s top bars and treat your taste buds to a plethora of new flavours starting from September 7 and running until December 5 (a date that celebrates the repeal of Prohibition in the US). Here’s what you can expect from the event in Bedford Square Garden.

1. Signature mixes

Oh yeah, there’s a tantalising menu of signature cocktails at The London Bourbon Experience this year. Each participating bar (so far the list includes Hide, The Bourbon Bar, Block Soho, GINZA, Spey Bar, DeGusto, Zephyr and Black Rock) will be serving three handcrafted bourbon-based cocktails. Whether it's a classic old-fashioned with a twist or a convection of Willy Wonka-esque imagination, they’re aiming to push the boundaries of mixology here. So make sure you come prepared to try something new.

2. Win prizes!

If you were ever one to collect football cards, Pokemon pogs or Beyblades, you’ll remember the excitement of winning a prize for your efforts. As part of The London Bourbon Experience, you'll receive a passport from participating venues. Each time you order a Rebel cocktail, you earn a stamp inside your passport. And if you collect six stamps to redeem prizes!

3. Unique discounts

As if the cocktails weren’t enough, there are plenty more exclusives for you to explore. Your passport stamps will also get you 20 percent off a bottle of Rebel Bourbon in participating bottle shops such as Sacred, Tomoka and The Vintage House. Because once the event is over, you can still keep the good vibes going by taking home a piece of The London Bourbon Experience with you.

4. Free masterclasses

Go from blah to bartender with free events, masterclasses and whiskey tastings at participating bars. Meet – and drink with – industry experts to help expand your knowledge of bourbon and the wider world of American whiskey. Plan ahead by marking off essential events via The London Bourbon Experience passport. You’ll leave feeling like a bona fide expert.

5. Make friends

It doesn’t matter if you’re clueless about bourbon, you’ll get to meet the likes of the founder of The London Bourbon Experience Michele Reina, who is keen to share his knowledge of the spirit and iconic brands, teaching you how to create your own bourbon-based cocktails at home. Alongside him, you’ll rub shoulders with like-minded people while taking part in masterclasses and interactive events.

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