East London Liquor Company, Bow Wharf, Mile End
The fires burn and flicker in the rich dark cavern of the East London Liquor Company. The understated bar – rich in the incense of gin production – is kept in reverent semi-darkness, as we the congregation come to worship at the feet of the Gods Gin and Vodka. Monumental, iridescent copper totems: the two glowing Holstein Stills – the Ferrari of the distillery world, I’m told – take centre stage. They are the altar at which we thirsty cult members come to take our herbaceous juniper Eucharist. This is East London’s response to any accusations of style over substance. There is so much artisanal passion and craft poured into these cocktails, it had me extolling – take my life’s possessions, where do I sign?
Here the staff have such knowledge and enthusiasm that I was prepared to allow someone else to order for me – a very rare occasion. They regularly import unique alcohols or experiment with small batches from their own kitchen, so ask and you will be rewarded. This also has the fringe benefit that you avoid looking at the rather sad little jokes in the menu – when will this ghastly trend come to an end? Don’t let that put you off your drink. If in doubt try the Darjeeling Sour, which is refreshing and floral – a great starter drink, or try the unique take on the Old-Fashioned. Alternatively, ask to taste their signature vodka and gins. All are carefully constructed, delectable and potent.
This is a destination in its own right, which more than merits the journey to get there. With Victoria park on hand and the canals I see this working very well as a reward at the end of an afternoon walk or following a pub roast, to take things up a notch. Or go for an early drink and walk into Laureston Village for dinner. Either way you are getting massive points for this quality boozer.
As cult members, the staff are at risk of letting their passion for their craft get the better of them, don’t ask too many questions and remember to keep control of your free will.
4. Like all cults, passion is infectious resulting in a sex factor of HIGH.