On Saturday 8th May, over 180 guests joined us for a virtual night of irresistible cocktails, delicious savoury treats ,inspiring conversations, fun entertainment and a stellar online auction hosted by Chef and TV personality Brian Turner CBE.
Our bespoke cocktail for the night was a creation from Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, the brains behind a string of trailblazing cocktail bars around the world. His bars have won numerous awards, and Mr Lyan himself was named Time Out’s “Person of the Decade” last year.
His “Kingroni” is a tribute both to the classic Italian negroni, and to the life and interests of John King, the man who inspired our charity. There is Campari (of course), there is a gentle smokiness from Caol Ila’s malt whisky, made on Islay (John loved an occasional cigar), and flowery and herbal notes both from London Vermouth and from a sprig of lemon thyme, referencing John’s love of gardening; and, as a nod to John the golfer, a dash of kümmel, the aristocratic liqueur so renowned for steadying nerves on the green that it is commonly known as “putting mixture”. We thought the unveiling of the Kingroni deserved an appropriate level of celebrity sparkle and were delighted that none other than the infamous Christopher Biggins popped down to Mr Lyan’s eponymous bar“LYANESS” at Sea Containers London for the official mixing and unveiling of the Kingroni!
The Italian theme continued with Giorgio Locatelli, padrone of the Michelin-starred Locanda Locatelli, who crafted exquisite grissini – breadsticks – from the finest Italian flour and a generous grating of Parmigiano Reggiano.
And Jacob Kenedy, chef/proprietor of Soho’s much-loved Bocca di Lupo, made caponata for us. A classic Sicilian blend of fried aubergines, celery, capers and olive oil, sharpened with wine vinegar.
Other treats in our boxes included a trio of terrace ready spritzers from Pedrino, inspired by the drinks cabinets of Spain, Portugal and Italy, savoury biscuits from The Drinks Bakery, awarded “Best Indulgent Snack” at the 2021 World Food Innovation Awards; another brace of bracing cocktails-in-a-can, courtesy of Marks & Spencer; and – as a delicious and suitably Italian finale – a taste of Amedei’s Tuscan Black chocolate, probably the best chocolate in the world.
As guests enjoyed the bespoke cocktails and snacks, they had opportunity to hear from Henry Marsh CBE, who spoke passionately about the new microscope the charity has just purchased and the amazing technology that now allows neurosurgeons to be more precise in the care for their patients. We also heard from Samantha Hettige and Navneet Singh both Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeons at St. George’s on how invaluable the skull clamp and headrest we purchased for them has been in allowing them to safely and comfortably operate on very small children with brain diseases and brain trauma.
Guests enjoyed amazing musical performances from renowned Classical Guitarist, Andrew Keeping who performed the beautiful ‘Over The Rainbow’ by H. Arlen (arr. L. Almeida) and ‘So Sinatra’ had guests bopping along to some of the great swing classics!
“The fundraising from the evening means that we can start planning our next project which is to create a ‘Forest in the Sky” garden for Neuro ICU patients and their families, a haven away from the busy wards and a place where the nursing staff can take patients down to exercise and breath in fresh air which will aid their recovery.”
– Laura & Holly King