With London Cocktail Week all wrapped up for another year, WeTheFoodSnobs takes a look back at some of their favourite drinking dens unearthed during one of the most important weeks in the capital’s cocktail calendar! First on the list was Looking Glass, an enchanting little speak easy located on Hackney Road, inspired by the mystical world created by Lewis Carroll. Just like Alice, we stepped through the Looking Glass with great intrigue and were delighted with what we found.
The Looking Glass is at first not all that it would appear. The main bar area is a stripped-back space, dimly lit with a modest amount of ornate armchairs and vintage furniture for cocktail sippers to recline amongst. However, the real charm to this place is concealed by the giant ‘looking glass’ in the corner that conceals the entrance to the hedonistic world that lurks within! One whisper of the password and you will be granted access and be prompted to walk through to the other side, where you can join the raucous scenes and sin to your heart’s content.
Sadly we weren’t here to join in with the debauchery as we had an appointment at the bar with the head mixologist, who had planned an adventurous journey through the many wondrous flavours that the Looking Glass boasts. Their menu is a unique mix of exotic ingredients that reflects the imaginative minds behind this charming little hideaway. However, we were in-store for a night of something slightly unique as we were invited to indulge our tastebuds in bespoke creations tailored to suit our favourite tipples.
It was a great way to explore different combinations that we wouldn’t usually have been bold enough to choose. My first selection was Dodd’s Gin, which is created in Battersea by the London Distillery Company. It was partnered with a mix of wine reduction, cardamom reduction and compari; Looking Glass’ take on the classic Negroni.
My drinking partner for the evening chose a tall cocktail of Kaffir Lime infused Vodka, Grapefruit Sherbert and Ginger Ale. A smooth mix for those of you that have a sweet tooth. This one creeps up on you slowly, unlike the punchy Negroni that is far more suited to the palate of those who love a hard drink.
What I loved about Looking Glass was that they were always looking for an opening to add an element of elegance to the design or delivery of the cocktail. Presentation was key to each drink and it was mesmerising to watch their construction and listen to the reasoning for the inclusion of certain ingredients.
As I am a huge rum fan, I was intrigued to see what they had up their sleeves for a nice short rummy sipper. The result was a delicious little number that incorporated Havana Especial Rum, Chocolate Bitters, Gosling’s Black Rum, Caramel Syrup and topped with Orange Twist and Green & Black’s Orange Infused Dark Chocolate. How is that for a list of delicious ingredients!?
The final tipple of the evening for my companion was another demonstration of elegance and precision. This time a healthy dose of Kaffir Lime infused Vodka was mixed with Grenadine, Citrus Sherbet & Egg White; finished with love heart detailing and served over a large block of ice.
The Looking Glass is certainly a hidden gem that I was previously unaware of before London Cocktail Week came to town and I went hunting for new jaunts to frequent. The bespoke experience we enjoyed was an intriguing look at the decisions behind the sophisticated list of ingredients that line the Looking Glass cocktail menu. We were granted access to all the spirits and sampled many homemade bitters and syrups. The drinks are boozy but beautifully balanced and crafted with a fine touch from delivery through to decoration. I plan to be returning very soon so I can step through the mirror once again for a far more raucous evening with the rest of the crowds.
If you are looking for a new drinking den in the heart of Shoreditch, then you better get ready to follow the white rabbit to Wonderland and head through the Looking Glass now!
We The Food Snobs x