Friday, 15 October 2010

London Cocktail Week snapshot: a tale of two toilets

OK, it's only the first London Cocktail Week and there are bound to be some teething troubles, but I was somewhat taken aback when I encountered this sight in the gentleman's con-venience at the Future Gallery where the Courvoisier punch seminar was taking place.

One after another, chaps would come in, take a look at it, and clearly weigh up the possibility and effects of just using the lavatory anyway. (And I am slightly curious as to what would happen if you flushed it.)

I assume that the organisers found themselves with too much ice and tried to think of what to do with it, though it is equally possible that the bowl was generously stacked as a deliberate joke. It may even have  been a dig at the quality of what was being concocted.

By strange coincidence—before entering the Future Gallery we found ourselves with some time to kill (the event started a leisurely one hour late—we were clearly operating on Woodstock time) and sat in the bar Verve next door. At one point I went up to the gents, where I noticed that, for all the trendy, post-modern chic of the venue (once a Victorian gin palace, now doing that thing of trying to combine cool, sleek, modern minimalism with carefully controlled outbursts of vintage roccoco plaster curls, cast iron scrollwork and art nouveau-ish fronds) a certain amount of it was just plain broken. The tap I used wobbled like a Weeble at its base, and one of the urinals was clearly leaking—a metal pail had been placed underneath to catch whatever escaped.

I did chortle when I saw what was written on the bucket. A cynic might suggest that this explains a lot about their product…

By the way, bravo to the organisers of the week, for cramming so much into such a short time. It has been a bit like the Edinburgh Festival, running from one event to another, but it has been a lot of fun and very informative—prize must go to Phil Duff's impressively academic round-up of the history of gin at Vanilla, courtesy of the intriguing G'Vine gin, made in France by sophisticated French people using grape spirit rather than grain and infused with vine flowers from the ugni blanc vines from which they get the spirit; I couldn't take notes fast enough, but fortunately the presentation is available online. Also hats off to Louis's presentation for Hendricks gin, where we got to smell and taste the various (80% ABV) distillates and rose and cucumber essences that are blended to make this gin.


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  2. hear hear, well said! I'm looking forward to next year already.