Tuesday, October 21, 2014

East London Liquor Co, 6th October

Once again London Cocktail Week was badly timed for me. Last year I was on holiday, this year I was in the middle of a month of ‘not drinking’. Of course, I had to make an exception for London Cocktail Week but not so much of an exception that I took full advantage of everything LCW had to offer. I didn’t attend any masterclasses or tours, I didn’t go to a different bar every night and I didn’t even get to Monkey Shoulder’s Cowbell Bar. But I DID manage to go out a couple of times in the week for a few drinks at discount prices.

My first stop was meant to be the Craft Cocktail Co. After much checking of Google, the LCW booklet and more I was assured the places I’d planned to go would be open on a Monday. Not so. We rocked up to the arch and found nothing but a shutter, forcing us to revisit Satan’s Whiskers up the road instead. On a Monday, getting in was easy peasy and we enjoyed their LCW offering of their Silver Pineapple (like a pina colada but without the horrible coconut) before ordering one each off their menu – a classic champagne cocktail for me, a New York Flip for Stephen. Mine was as expected, but Stephen’s was absolutely delicious, like a mini, liquid dessert, perfect for the cold weather outside.

From there we headed on to the East London Liquor Co, which is a fairly new addition to Mile End, and thus of much interest to me. It is closer to Victoria Park than Mile End so may get a little footfall, even though the area doesn’t get many visitors beyond those who live there. This place is also set back from the road, and it was a Monday, so I wasn’t surprised to find it bereft of clientele. It literally was empty when we walked in, making us feel guilty at putting the bartenders to work. They took it in good spirits though and we had a little chat with them about whether and how busy the place gets. Stephen recognised the male bartender and it turns out he was working at Hoxley andPorter when we went.

We stuck to the LCW cocktails here - the Darjeeling Sour, made with the East London Liquor company’s own Batch No. 1 Premium gin distilled on site. This was a light, frothy concoction, which would make pleasant sipping on a summer’s evening. The exact opposite of this evening in fact, but it was nice enough to warrant a cheeky second as a nightcap before heading home. I feel the place didn't have its best side on show as it was so very empty. I can imagine it doesn't ever feel exactly homely as it does have a warehouse feel to it, especially with the grand machinery of the distillery peering from the back of the bar. But, with the calibre of bartender, and based on our drink, a second visit is very much warranted. I"m feeling positively spoiled - this place and The Victoria right up the road from me!

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