a quirky look at London Life

A courtyard discovery in Hackney Wick

I got off the Overground train at Hackney Wick and kept on walking for about ten minutes – could have been quicker, but my eyes were on buildings old and new, mostly old and about to be made new via demolition. Currently a bit of a limbo land paradise for those of an artist persuasion.

The entire walk was punctuated by street art. East End Edgy. Loved it. St Mary of Eton is a different story. It’s an elegant, tall, impressive red brick church but so intent was I to reach its pop up courtyard bar that I completely forgot to photograph it. Anyway! The purpose of my Monday afternoon was to attend a mixology masterclass. I was there to learn about kombucha and kimchi and most importantly to enjoy the accompanying 6 course drinks menu from the Social Beverages Bar.

Such a lovely welcome! And such intriguing ingredients and unfamiliar machines dotted about.

Some familiar favourites here too.

To find out about how to make kombucha you will have to book a masterclass because I want to get straight into talking about the drinks I tried. Starting with my favourites. From this bubbly bottle of beetroot juice came this ‘sinister’ shot

A highly unlikely combination of cold brew coffee and said beetroot produced a potent drink that was surprisingly rounded in flavour. An awareness of lemon first off then the surprise hit of the coffee – a totally unexpected, boldly confident assembly. One of several mood enhancers over the afternoon, making the slow mindful sipper feel quite bold and confident in return! Probably not for the late evening as the caffeine is high level in cold brew. There’s a sweet story behind the drink’s name, Ground, but I am not here to tell tales, you need to go and experience it for yourself.

Mother Mary, oh how I loved your sweet, smooth, gentle comfort and refined yet fresh finish. Salt rim was good too. And the heavy crystal glass added to the enjoyment. And the story of its name honours both a London place and a Korean culinary heritage. I love that this whole adventurous enterprise is both passionate and personal. Let it be, oh let it be, as the Beatles might sing its praises. Keep singing the song and you will hear what I mean.

But back to the beginning. Gently introduced to the afternoon with a welcome drink of jasmine tea kombucha which was delightfully delicate at first and there followed a zingy aftertaste from the lemon balm powder.

I could go on – the Tree Hugger had a fabulous bouquet before it got wrapped inside a chickpea foam. Delivering a powerful hit for lovers of root ginger like myself, this one had real staying power. There’s also one sporting a brave combination of spirulina and liquorish root elixir. Devilishly good.

Oh and a booze free digestif to finish. A naturally sweet effervescent end to a delightful afternoon, with neat pear shrub offering a very peary liqueury tastebomb. Surprises from beginning to end. Original, innovative, bold but subtle. Mindfully drinking away an afternoon, trying new potions, making new connections, adding my own life experiences and reflections to the sensory mix left me feeling joyful, almost a part of the story.

Hackney Wick courtyard bar? My kind of quirky.

September Pop Up details available from Insta/ socialbeverages

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