Walk through the front entrance, continue past the first crowded bar, go through a wardrobe, past another bar, up a flight of stairs and cross the threshold into an intimate space hosting Callooh Callay’s latest pop up bar, the Hennessy Clubhouse. Callooh Callay describe this as ‘an opulent, decadent French hideaway’ which features drinks based on classic cocktails and styled creations, with cognac as a key ingredient.
Cognac classics include a Brandy Buck, Fish House Punch and a Between the Sheets. Styled creations included interesting combinations of cognac with reduced cider (French Quarter / Le Pommier), a combination of porter and toffee combinations (Sir Keith) and a mix of everything alcoholic that is orange based (Breakfast by the Charentes). All these fantastic drinks can be found here on their online menu.
Not usually being a cognac fan, it was my one chance to be converted! After mentioning my dilemma of choosing what drink to have to our waitress, she simply gestured to the barman running the show and told us he would make his way over to offer his professional advice. Mario, our passionate and enthusiastic mixologist, spent a bit of time getting to know who his customers were (seriously, this was a nice touch), what we like to drink normally and told us to leave the rest to him.
Drink after drink was served. Despite being limited to only cognac based drinks, Mario took the time to sit with us and explain how each one was significantly varied and different from previous drinks served. Twists and riffs on favourites such as a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, were well received alongside brand new creations we’d never thought of. I mean really, who mixes fine cognac with porter? Nevertheless, whatever Mario served, despite some skepticism on flavour combinations, simply worked.
Next time I am reminded of my old childhood fantasy of discovering Narnia (remember we entered the bar through a wardrobe?) I will amend my dream, as I would certainly much prefer Mario over Mr. Tumnus to meet me on the other side!
Read part 1 of our fantastic evening here.