Hyperlocal flavour trends have gone global this autumn, as 18 of the world’s top bars and restaurants from the UK and South East Asia have paired up to swap signature cocktails as part of the world-first D1 International Cocktail Exchange.

Devised by FOCUS’s new client, luxury British spirits company D1 London Spirits, discerning cocktail lovers in London, Manchester and Birmingham are able to experience an authentic taste of South East Asian culture in their home town, with the bespoke cocktails containing award-winning D1 London Gin or luxury D1 Potato Vodka.

Available now, the D1 International Cocktail Exchange is made up of nine UK cocktail bars – including exclusive members’ club Tape London, award-winning ‘Best Gin Bar 2016’ Merchant House and Mayfair’s Lanes of London – which have been handpicked by mixologist matchmaker D1 London Spirits and paired with nine of the crème de la crème cocktail bars in South East Asia, such as the Artesian at The Langham (Hong Kong) and Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou). Each venue is a pioneer in its field, be it a carefully curated gallery environment and high-end reputation or craft cocktails made from locally foraged ingredients – for example the Osmanthus jam used in Hope & Sesame’s (Guangzhou) signature cocktail ‘Magnolia’, now available at Craft London.

D1 Spirits introduced the International Cocktail Exchange to help bring world class crafted cocktails to the UK from around the world

Through the D1 International Cocktail Exchange, cocktail lovers are able to taste internationally crafted cocktails which have been lovingly created by some of the best mixologists in the world. Each bar and restaurant in the elite exchange has collaborated with a like-minded international venue to share techniques, knowledge and passion to produce a truly authentic array of cocktails.

Partner bars are serving a signature cocktail created by their ‘twinned’ venue that features D1 Potato Vodka or D1 London Gin as a base spirit, plus hyperlocal ingredients. The resulting drink offers the taste, ambience and drinking experience of its associated bar, giving guests a truly immersive experience.

D1 London Spirits founder Dominic Limbrey, comments: “At D1 London Spirits we have a passion for design, arts and culture. We’ve introduced the D1 International Cocktail Exchange to help bring a new way for cocktail connoisseurs across the globe to enjoy international craft cocktails. It’s about exploring and understanding the nuances and character of different places and very local flavours, which can be found in the carefully curated cocktails served with an element of theatre in these hand-picked world-class bars.

Get involved in the D1 International Cocktail Exchange by trying CÉ LA VI’s (Hong Kong) ‘Elixir of Life’ at Tape London (London)

“We are facilitating a project where we partner up different venues with huge character and personalities, allowing guests the opportunity to experience something international in a local context. The project also gives mixologists from across the world the chance to take inspiration from each other, using luxury spirits like D1 London Gin & Vodka as the base – ultimately helping pioneer and push the boundaries of craft cocktail-making. Bibo, a bar in Hong Kong, is in fact giving Bourne & Co in Birmingham their top secret recipe for their citrus peel syrup, showing just how far bars are going to share knowledge and passion.”

FOCUS’s top picks of exceptional craft cocktails to try are CÉ LA VI’s (Hong Kong) ‘Elixir of Life’ at Tape London (London) which blends D1 London Gin with beetroot juice, honey syrup, kalamansi lime and raw liquorice powder. Additionally, Samarkand’s (London) ‘Akkum Desert’ exchanged with Butler (Kowloon) is also one to experience in either London or Kowloon – this cocktail blends D1 Potato Vodka, Pu-her tea-infused Americano Cocchi, Campari, Tuaca and Prosecco, served over ice flavoured with Aperol which has been cold drip percolated through desert sage.