By Ruth Emery.
What Aegon is to tennis, Virgin is to the London marathon and o2 is to, well, the o2, Tanquerary gin has decided that it wants to be associated with the hottest unsigned bands.
And so it is that my boyfriend and I arrive at 6.35pm at the gorgeous Roof Gardens in Kensington on a crisp Friday evening. It’s the launch night of Tanqueray Live Lounge, and The Roof Gardens aren’t quite ready for us. The immense PR, event and staff operation is still running around making sure everything is in order: for the nervous unsigned acts backstage and the ‘lucky few’ (according to the press release) journalists and guests that have been invited to listen and drink at the launch party.
We are ushered into the (heated, thank god) marquee that has been set up on the roof terrace until April next year as the Tanqueray Live Lounge. Red drapes, gold framed pictures, black tables, poufs and swivel chairs make this a glamorous if a little tacky gin-drinking den. Given our early-bird status we’ve commandeered a little table close to the cocktail and canapé flow.
And so we decide it would be rude not to sample everything; here are the highlights: moist tomato risotto balls, creamy goats cheese in an unfeasibly small potato, a delightful lamb in pastry number and a scallop with spinach and hollandaise sauce.
We sip lavender collins (gin, apple and lemon juice, lavender bitters and a splash of soda) and liquid gold (gin, pineapple, orange and saffron syrup), and quite a few others, but that’s all my memory allows. The cocktails all use Tanquerary gin of course, and I make one of those tipsy vows to search out these delightful gin concoctions more frequently and not always bark ‘G&T’ at barmen.
We try and regain our composure and not look like the freeloaders full of booze with risotto round our lips that we really are, and creep around the corner into the musical bit of the marquee. A chap who resembles Newton Faulkner, with a voice somewhere between Newton and Jack Johnson, is strumming and singing. This bit of the marquee is very chilled, everything’s white and cool and slightly futuristic; very different to the Moulin Rouge drinking den next door.
My boyfriend decides that the 17 canapes he’s scoffed is simply not enough for dinner, and we eventually leave the gin and music behind (with a bottle of gin and cocktail shaker in a goodie bag, ‘woo!’ I exclaim and hope I will stick to my tipsy vow).