Around London in 80 days
In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.
And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.
Day 64: Cocktails
Walking back from Old Street with a friend, I spot an old, battered-looking door. There’s scaffolding on the building so I thought it was empty, but there seems to be some light behind that door and even, perhaps, some noise. My friend and I decide to have a closer look. Bingo! It’s a tiny, quirky-looking and quiet cocktail bar. Perfect place to end the night.
We sit at the bar and have a look at the menu. My friend immediately finds something to suit him but I’m new to this, I must admit. My knowledge of cocktails is limited to Pina Coladas, Mojitos & Caipirinhas. Any step further, I am lost and sure enough, I haven’t a clue about any of the things listed on this menu.
Luckily, the barman is not snobby. Quite the opposite, in fact: he started this place himself and is truly passionate about it. So he jumps at the opportunity to help. He starts quizzing me: “Sweet or Savoury? Bitter or Spicy? Cold or Hot? Gin or Brandy?”. Then, seemingly satisfied with my answers, he gives me a big smile: “Leave it to me, I’ve got an idea”.
A few minutes later, he is back with the two most fantastic drinks I have ever seen. These weren’t cocktails, they were works of art, one of them in a stunning glass, the other served in a sort of pipe (a Magritte reference for his Belgian customer perhaps ?) from which smoke rises ceremoniously. I bring it to my lips: heavenly.