Botanicals is a pop-up cocktail bar in Brixton Village which is in one of the main parts of Cornercopia. Look for the large martini glass in lights. There is no booking for the bar but it is open just after the sun goes under the year arm so if you get there early you are allowed to use the tables outside and inside until diners arrive.
We visited on a Tuesday and it was empty, so a seat in the alleyway watching the Village fill up was perfect. The list of cocktails is not extensive -only 10 – but they are all definitely unusual. The ingredients have a bias towards the English fare served in the restaurant with Boxer Gin and Old Salt Rum and Chase Vodka (which according to their website is best in the world above Russian makes). Some of their bitters come from across the alleyway – Federation Coffee bitters.
My memory of the names of the cocktails failed me after the first – presumably because of the alcohol and not a “senior moment”. But I am assured by my dinner partner that we first had a pea and mint martini which I loved but he thought tasted of mushy peas (I love mushy peas) and the partner cocktail was rhubarb gin fizz (gin, fresh rhubarb, egg white, vanilla shrub (?) and saffron) which definitely tasted of rhubarb and was not as sweet as I thought it would be.
Our next round was Old Salt Mule with the aforesaid rum, Federation Coffee bitters and “Ossie’s” ginger beer and an Elderflower Sidecar (English Cider brandy, elderflower cordial, lemon juice and rosemary) which was sweeter than I hoped but no less delicious. Our ability to remember what we liked about the cocktails tailed off at this point.
The cocktails are not provided in the usual swimming pool sizes but in delicate small glasses. Less like the happy hour watered down variety often provided in our local bars and more along the elegant lines of Mad Men. But small does not mean less lethal. After a couple you definitely feel the effects – especially on an empty stomach. We decided to eat before moving around at this point but that is a different post – soon to come to this blog.
Most cocktails are between £7.00 and £9.00 and we spent £30.00 for four of them so only six more to try. They do say that the cocktails will change with what is available so we may never run out. We will return but only occasionally so we can protect our livers.