Notting Hill may be several thousand miles away from the Caribbean, but that doesn't mean tropical tidings are far off. Getting familiar with Trailer Happiness, we learnt what it is about their cocktails that have industry names coming back for more.
As soon as you descend the stairs into this tiki-inspired bar you feel like you could be but a stone’s throw from a tropical beach; from the beautifully bright green palm print wallpaper exposed to the outside world of Portobello Road, to the dark stone walls. There’s more than a feel of 70’s kitsch about the place, with orange and yellow patterned wallpaper and furnishings, brown leathers and comfortable banquettes, all mixed in with tropical influences. There is a tropical fish on the door to the toilets (which are unisex… very confusing and could trick you into thinking you’ve had too many drinks and accidentally stumbled into the gents after a few hours) and no shortage of tiki paraphernalia scattered around the bar.
Rum is the backbone spirit to the cocktail menu, which celebrates exotic tiki style drinks, classics and Trailer Happiness originals. For me, I was initially drawn to a few of the gin based cocktails and so ordered the £10 Nuclear Citrus Swizzle (easier to drink than it is to say!) which was made with Bombay Sapphire and navy strength gin (nice and lethal) with three types of fresh citrus and Chartreuse for extra botanical notes. Its strong and zingy, and served up in a tropical curvy glass that reminded me of holidays and the classic cocktail emoji.
For my next drink, I was swayed by the inclusion of marmalade in the Breakfast in Tijuana (£9) because I think in some ways I must be related to Paddington Bear. This sweet Tequila based cocktail was served short, garnished with a pretty slice of dried citrus, mixed with Vermouth and Elderflower. This was a mouth watering, elegant drink which made my lips pucker, and it’s one to be sipped rather than glugged.
Meanwhile my friend chose to go with something a little more mellow with the Pukana Hema (£9) which combined Gin with Mint, Elderflower and Soda to create a refreshing and floral drink which would make the perfect antidote for a hot summer’s day, but as we happened to visit in the days running up the Christmas, we settled for it just being a delicious, simple and light drink to enjoy.
If you’re visiting Trailer as part of a group then there are plenty of sharing cocktails on offer including the lethal Zombie sharer cocktail which will set back your group of 4 or 5 £45, or if you’re in a pair you may with to give the dairy free Trailer Colada a go for £17, which contains Coconut Rum for that extra tropical flare!
Trailer Happiness is highly regarded by those in the hospitality industry, so much so that I spotted several bar managers and mixologists from around town perched at the bar. That’s when you know you’re in a good place, when it has the admiration and respect of the professionals. It’s no wonder, of course, because the drinks are superb and the service prompt and polite. The atmosphere is fun, especially as the night gets later and the more people descend the stairs to enjoy drinks and conversation.