Some restaurants can be found in basements, some bars are found on rooftops. Some cafes are located in the middle of parks and some pubs can be found on boats on the Thames. The cocktail masterclass I attended last week was in an apartment. The nicest, most elegantly decorated apartment I’ve probably been to in London.
Boasting views over Regent’s Canal from a balcony decorated with flower-filled wine glasses, this is Christabel’s apartment in a 'secret' location in N1. From a living room filled with metallic pineapple memorabilia, to painted centrepieces boasting tales of Wonderland, there's shiny mirrors, glitter and purple... plenty of the classic Christabel's purple. Want to find out the exact location of this apartment of dreams? You're going to have to book one of Christabel's imaginative drinks/dining experiences. For us? We were about to embark on all things Mart-tea-Ni.
The Drinks and Experience
Christabel’s Mar-Tea-Ni Masterclass sees guests use Teapigs infused syrups and the world’s only pure milk vodka, Black Cow, demonstrating that tea and milk really are partners in crime. Having been greeted with a delicious earl grey infused glass of bubbles and edible glitter, we were introduced to our mixology table filled with copper cocktail shakers, golden teapots filled with syrup, milk bottles of Black Cow vodka, bowls of seasonal fruit, as well as snacks in the form of matcha salted caramel popcorn and a sample of Black Cow cheese.
Once all of the evening’s guests had arrived, we were introduced to Jeremy, our mixologist host for the evening, who explained all the elements on the table and talked us through how to create the perfect boozy cuppa. Twisting the classic martini method with the specialist ingredients, we filled our copper shakers with ice and the ingredients. Then it was time to pour. Smooth, with the classic flavour of tea alongside the undeniable hit of vodka, this fresh Mar-tea-Ni is a gorgeous drink to surprise the tastebuds and is the perfect opener for the evening, demonstrating that a martini can be the ultimate, customisable cocktail.
With the aid of a flavour wheel, we were given free reign to create our own martinis using more of the Black Cow vodka, vermouth and the fruits and garnishes on the table. While the flavour wheel is designed to guide you, you’re by no means restricted, so I decided to go off piste and use the ingredients that intrigued me the most, which were the pea puree, pineapple and lemon, while my friend used strawberries, pineapples and chilli. Hers needed a quick squeeze of agave syrup after it had been shaken to take away the fierceness of the chilli. Mine however needed a little more citrus. Though the pea provided a clean and subtle sweetness, it was thick and a little too savoury - the pineapple hadn’t quite come through strong enough in its competition with the pea. Turns out you really should pay attention to the flavour wheel. Don’t think you know better. You don’t. Christabel does.
Being able to experiment with flavours using colourful and fresh ingredients was an absolute pleasure, and a great way to summon our inner mixologist. From the apartment space and social atmosphere to the attention to detail, Christabel’s is the perfect opportunity to try your hand at the art of cocktails whilst meeting new people. Christabel really is happy to let you customise your experience as much as she is your cocktails.