Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The History of Cocktails, As Told By Perrier

By Anna Robin.

Now, I’ve never been one for too much introspection. I have the occasional existential angst - normally in the small hours of the morning accompanied by Leonard Cohen and a bottle of red - but I tend to have a ‘go with the flow’ attitude which generally works for me.

This was how a friend - who had kindly agreed to accompany me (no questions asked) - and I found ourselves knocking on the door of a Georgian townhouse in Fitzroy Square with no idea what was going to happen during the evening, who it was going to happen to, and why we were all there in the first place.
The invitation to the Perrier Nights event had cryptically proclaimed that we would be transported back to the 1900s to celebrate the history of cocktails. Unless the PR organising the event had excelled themselves and hired a time machine, I was slightly worried that we would be attending a lecture on mixology, with a worst case scenario that included diagrams and being picked out of the crowd for questioning.
At first we were ushered into a room that had been covered with green. This was slightly upsetting as I had done a pre internet snoop of the location and wanted to see it in its historical glory, not dressed up as a Perrier bottle. However, a very nice person steered us neatly towards a bar and handed me my first cocktail of the evening; something appley and lovely in a martini glass (with the crucial Perrier ingredient, of course). Stationing ourselves near the doorway for first dibs of the canapés that were circling, we struck up a conversation with an equally confused blogger. After starting my second cocktail, which was simply a huge measure of whisky and Perrier, we were called to begin our ‘journey’.
‘The Journey’ was vaguely like walking into an advert in which I got progressively drunker (which, by the way, all you marketers out there, is an inspired idea). We were guided through a series of rooms, set in different times. The first was set in 1900s, the second the 70s, the last possibly the future? There were actors to help guide the mood. There was also some dressing up and picture taking (be warned - these subsequently go on the night’s Facebook group. Luckily I look dashing in a moustache so it’s not a worry for me!). In each one I was also handed a Perrier-based cocktail. I would like to say I know what was in them but I have no idea; progressive cocktail drinking can have a wearing effect on even the most studious reporter.
Finally, we were guided back into the original room for more Perrier based cocktails.

“Well’, I pondered, ‘I’m not sure why this evening happened but I am glad it did”.

If you’re looking for cocktail bars in London, check out our guide to the Best Cocktail Bars in London.

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