Cocktail Trading Company – Smithfield, London – Review

Tim Firmager
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The Cocktail Trading Company Smithfield is the second bar from award-winning bartenders Andy Mil, Olly Brading and Elliot Ball – the young and highly innovative team who launched their first venture earlier in 2015 in the basement of Central & Co near Oxford Circus.

The 50-capacity venue, CTC Smithfield, situated in the heart of Farringdon offers the brand’s quirky trademark cocktails and down-to-earth vibe in an original, fun and lively new basement bar.

CTC Smithfield is situated below the all-day modern restaurant and bar, Ask for Janice, which looks on to Smithfield Market. This new bar aims to bring the hustle and bustle of the much-loved marketplace from the outside in.

Descending into CTC Smithfield, the interior is inspired by the colourful history of the ancient grade II-listed marketplace, combining an eclectic mix of beautiful fine fabrics with old rustic features, creating a heady den of treasures and trinkets to tickle the senses.

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Although we didn’t get to try bartering on the evening we visited, we’re informed this tradition of the nearby Victorian market is kept alive. That is to say, on selected evenings customers are encouraged to challenge the bartenders and test their own trading skills, offering valuables and knickknacks in the hope of exchanging them for cocktails.

The menu, in a miniature passport format, offers each drinker the opportunity to travel the world of cocktails, priced in the region of £9 per drink. We managed to drink through a good selection of the menu, trying the Pina Colada, French 75, Ford Cocktail, Chocolate Flip #1, Brasso, Citizen Cane, Sesame Peat and Snapper’s Delight.

However if nothing on the menu is what you’re in the mood for, the bar tenders are more than happy to mix up something special for you – just ask! The vintage cocktails we have come to love such as the Pina Colada and French 75 were well mixed and well presented.

However, it’s where the more creative cocktails are concerned, that the staff at CTC really come into their own. The Brasso (made from Stoli vodka, ginger and orange brew, lime juice and soda) is very polished, served in a can of…yes, you guessed, Brasso. All the decoration on top is playful, considered for the flavours within and of course edible!

Other cocktails of creative note are the Citizen Cane (made from Cachaca, rosebud tincture, a cardamon-vanilla infusion, lime juice and Sauvignon Blanc), which is shaken, strained and served in a chilled snow globe. The Sesame Peat (made from Sesame 86 Tequila, apricot brandy, paprika and cacao syrup and grapefruit-pineapple soda) is churned together and combined in a miniature trash can, served with a mini Elmo, as a playful twist.

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Finally, the Snapper’s Delight is definitely worth a squeeze. The Jim Bean bourbon, jam (chilli, pepper and peach), ginger and lemon juice are combined over ice in a canteen squeezy and served with fried goods (chipstick crisps and a gherkin in this case).

We found the Cocktail Trading Company Smithfield served up a menu of entertaining, exciting and expertly created cocktails, all of which combine the distinctive playful qualities. Not afraid to push the boundaries, CTC’s cocktails take experimental to the next level, from edible garnishes to quirky drinking vessels and we look forward to their future creations.

The bar does of course also offer a wide selection of high quality, non-alcoholic cocktails. These refreshing alternatives will combine fresh seasonal ingredients with an innovative twist, meaning non-drinkers can join in the fun.

If you want to visit The Cocktail Trading Company Smithfield for a well-earned drink after a long day working in the City, it is located within Ask For Janice (downstairs through the door to the right), 50-52 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ. The bar is open 4pm – 11:30pm Monday to Thursday and 4pm – 12:00am Friday and Saturday.

Visit for more information.

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.