The London Academy of Bartenders (LAB) don’t make things easy for themselves, with a list of 100 drinks to master there is plenty of room for error, and yet the glasses we tried were immaculately executed and intriguingly tasty.
This little Soho cocktail den is found in the shadows of Old Compton Street, illuminated only by the neon glow of the nearby peep shows. Boasting a wealth of experience and a team of the very best mixologists, the fluid creations here are sometimes classic and sometimes experimental.
Seated near the bar we could see all the action as coloured bottles were swiped from the shelves and employed methodically in different glasses, ready for each customer. The most memorable drink from the evening was the Burnt Breakfast Martini, a genius concoction from the ‘Clever Stuff’ section of the menu. An elegant combination of Beefeater Gin, fresh lemon, orange marmalade and pink grapefruit, shaken with a splash of Aperol and egg white and given the final touch with a flamed vanilla brûlée top. It was a creative and pretty drink – an interesting contrast of tangy fruity martini with a delicious creamy top to soften the taste.
Keen to display the wackier skills he possessed, the barman mixed up a Leftfield for us. A quirky cocktail with Sipsmith Gin stirred with elderflower cordial, a splash of dry vermouth and dark balsamic vinegar then dressed with pickled onions. This was a slightly odd assortment of flavours, strong and aromatic with a kick from the vinegar and onions, which we couldn’t quite stomach.
LAB is an asset to the Soho bar scene… just as fun and fabulous as the surrounding camp hang-outs but with an array of expertly mixed cocktails to match.
The award-winning LAB team also offer cocktail classes for wannabe connoisseurs. Learn from the best of the industry how to make a variety of drinks using styles and methods from classic to contemporary.
More information here.