Sam Bompas & Harry Parr, innovative mixologists of London, have taken on a new challenge: Alcoholic Architecture. It aims to ‘explode drinks to the scale of architecture’ through a meteorological installation. In layman’s terms, they’ve made a cocktail cloud.
Bompas & Parr’s latest venture, Alcoholic Architecture, at London’s Borough Market brings the worlds of meteorology, mixology and monasticism together.
The journey begins as you descend though dimly lit corridors and passages into the underbelly of what used to be an ancient monastery. The changing room has plastic ensembles to cover your clothing (and hair) before entering the crypt-like bar, which serves up a bevy of monk-inspired drinks like Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer and Buckfast fortified wine. From there, a short step and you’re into the Cloud.
The dense atmosphere inside is slightly disconcerting with modulated music in your ear and flashing lights in your eyes, you stand transfixed as a thunderstorm builds and the humidity becomes so high – 140 percent – that you can’t see more than a meter in front of you.
‘The environment allows you to deconstruct and better appreciate the nuance and flavor of spirits as you enjoy them retronasally, rather mainly through your tongue,’ explain Sam Bompas and Harry Parr. ‘As well as absorbing alcohol through your lungs you will also take it through your eyeballs.’ It recalls an impression of an attack upon your senses.
Truthfully there is little danger but; visitors are allocated one-hour slots to keep alcohol consumption within a reasonable limit.
For those who want to up the ante and pay tribute to the heady contribution of monks to the world of mixology, there are a number of drinks – heavenly tonics, canonical cocktails, mystery meads and sacred shots created by Johnny Brissenden, formerly of Tony Conigliaro’s Bar Termini and Soho House Group.