Pop up bars, restaurants and art galleries are all the rage at the moment. Now you see them, now you don’t and better be quick if you want to enjoy them.
My husband and I were invited to the Great Gatsby themed ‘Cocktails and All That Jazz’ pop up bar at Harrods. I am an avid jazz fan and a not-so avid cocktail fan. But my cousin was in town so we had a babysitter and I needed a night out with my husband, just the two of us.
After negotiating dinner with little Bug (she now whacks the spoon and food goes flying), a quick bath and bedtime bottle, she was down for the night. I threw on some heels, slapped up on some make up and ran out the door into the cab that was waiting for me.
Finding the Wine Room at Harrods took a bit of a hunt and my Twitter account had just been hacked as I arrived, so I was tottering around in my heels asking for directions from make up counter staff whilst managing some damage control on Twitter. Finally, I found the pop up bar and my husband and someone handed us a Stoli vodka martini as we walked in.
Wowsers! Talk about a slap of alcohol. After a busy, shitty day and a mad rush to get out of the house, a girl needs something soothing like champagne to get you into the mood. So we apprehensively sipped our martinis and tried to look cool whilst the barman explained how to make a proper martini. Apparently James Bond has it all wrong and ‘shaken’ is totally taboo.
Next up was a cocktail so totally amazing that I am reconsidering my dislike for cocktails and adding a caveat that I only like gin-based cocktails. I was intrigued as waiters poured this cocktail from teapots into very cute Hendrick’s teacups.
Meet the Floradora. The cocktail is not too sweet, a little sharp with ginger, citrus and raspberry flavours coming through. It is made up of lime, raspberry syrup, Hendricks gin and topped off with ginger beer. Chuck in a few fresh raspberries, a slice of lime and there you go. A Floradora. It is DELICIOUS! Very much a summer cocktail and I reckon a fabulous alternative to Pimms on sunny days in the park. I’m definitely going make this at home.
The next three cocktails were not to my liking at all. So I continued to top myself up with Floradoras and my husband took on the guinea pig roll and tasted the remaining cocktails.
Of the Brandy Crusta cocktail he said “I don’t know if I like this one”. The fumes were overpowering and interfering with my bright and cheerful Floradora. Weird name and no thanks.
My husband is a whisky fan so he was drawn to the Double Johnnie Walker Black cocktail for obvious reasons. It was honey-coloured, sprinkled with cinnamon and served in a whiskey glass. Very unusual for a cocktail but a bit of a mission to make as it needed orange bitters (never heard of it), an egg white (bleugh), and fresh lemon juice (like I have time to juice lemons).
The last cocktail resembled tomato juice but wasn’t a Bloody Mary – how disappointing. It too was whisky-based and contained vermouth, cherry liqueur and orange juice. After one sip the guy next to me asked where I kept topping up my Floradoras.
By the time the cocktail class was coming to an end I had neatly put away an entire teapot of Floradoras and wasn’t paying much attention to the demonstration as the Jazz was so good. Also, I could not stop staring at a bottle of Cognac that was older than the French Revolution and valued at £95,000!
All in all, the bartenders were great and provided a lot of facts behind the origins of each cocktail and the prohibition era. The venue had art deco decor and I could definitely pick up on the ‘Great Gatsby’ inspiration. Waiters wandered around with Asian-inspired canapés which were delicious but I didn’t really get how they fell into the prohibition/roaring 20’s theme of the evening.
After discovering a cocktail that I actually like and finding a few that I definitely don’t like, as well as mingling with strangers and wiggling my bum to some cool jazz tunes, I gave my husband the ‘lets make a quick exit’ head shake. We left as quickly as we arrived and headed home to our beautiful Bug after a fabulous evening, just the two of us.
xxx TGM xxx
The deets: the pop up bar is open from 9 May 2013 to 20 May 2013 in the Tasting Room of The Wine Shop at Harrods. Please call them for more details.
The Wine Room is on the Lower Ground floor and ask someone for directions as it has its own escalator and is tricky to locate.