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#85 Worship Street Whistling Shop

November 29, 2011

Elegant drinks, for a more civilised age. Two different martinis, plus free palate-cleansing tea concoctions.

In another decade, this award-winning cocktail bar specialising in top-level molecular gastronomy would have looked like a laboratory, clean and sterile and flawless, sans serif out the wazoo. But this is 2011, and Hoxton, so of course the Worship Street Whistling Shop is a Victorian mad scientist’s dream home, kitted out like Dr Crippen’s garage, or a particularly scholarly restrained gin palace. Although this sounds vaguely halloweeny, it’s actually not too over-themed, which is refreshing. These guys prefer to let the cocktails speak for themselves.

We tried the similarly themed Experimental Cocktail Club earlier in the 211. That was a bit up itself, frankly (blame the West End location, perhaps), but the staff at the Whispering Shop were friendly and eager to chat about their creations. We tried the ‘Exploded Vodka Martini’ and the ‘Black Cat’s Martini’ – the former featuring herbalicious flavours from compressed hydrosols, and the latter a gin martini finished with ‘removed cream’. Removed cream, we are told, has gone through a centrifuge to remove all dairy elements, so you’re left with a clear essence. It was delicate and complex, the cream essence balancing the sharp alcohol flavours. Other options included the ‘Jailbait Cocktail’ made of WS2 ‘Whisky’, WS2 salt and pepper bitters, and frozen sugar; and the ‘Punch and Judy’, made with Ron Zacapa 23, ‘Walnut Ketchup’ and Malic acid (strange use of apostrophes bar’s own.) They’ll do you a variety of winter hot drinks too now, including wassails, toddies and flips. If you’re a dedicated alconaut, or just want to see what Time Out’s best new bar of 2011 is like, it’s well worth a visit.

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