Sunday, 7 March 2010


2 Tabernacle Street

Since I began dipping my toe into the world of cocktail bars I've realised there are two main types: the fake and the excellent. When it comes to drinks, the fakes - alas, they are plentiful - prefer to use pre-mixed solutions to construct sugary, low-alcohol rip-offs, while the genuine articles lift your spirits with boozy, fiddly creations which one might struggle to reproduce at home on the first or even second attempt.

While I wouldn't want to vouch for Sosho (a fancyish bar/club on the edge of the City) on the evidence of my single 45-minute stop-off, very early on a Saturday evening, I daresay it can make proper drinks.

I ordered a Tropical Nirvana (Plymouth gin, muddled fresh banana and strawberries, agave syrup, honey and maraschino) because I wanted to work out, in a reverse engineering kind of way, how to use banana and other fruits without turning a drink into a sludgy mess. The result (above left) was perfectly smooth and fruity without being noticeably viscous or too-sweet.

M got a Space Gin Smash (above right) - Tanqueray gin shaken with muddled grapes, elderflower, fresh mint, lemon and apple juices. "Refreshing", was the response - satisfied if not overwhelmed.

The other thing I've realised about the world of cocktail bars is they have their own celebrities. So Sosho - of the Match Bar family - boasts of its links with American mixologist Dale DeGroff, the "king of cocktails", who "made the Cosmopolitan famous" (thanks, Dale) and seems to have had a hand in the drinks list here (my Tropical Nirvana was one of his designs). In a land of fake cocktail bars it helps to have some quality assurance and the man DeGroff may yet be the Kitemark of mixed drinks.

UPDATE: Since I posted this it appears Sosho has been destroyed by a fire. Damn shame. At least no one was hurt.

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