The Courvoisier Institute Of Grand Cocktails 2 Day Event – Tickets Still Available
The UK’s number one cognac brings you The Courvoisier Institute of Grand Cocktails. Friday 13 and Saturday 14 July 2012, Courvoisier will take you on a tour through a once derelict institute at The Heritage Rooms in Bloomsbury Square London. Set up over a hundred years ago for the world’s grandest bartenders to perfect the ultimate cocktail, the institute was all but forgotten; for two nights only the doors will be open for you to explore this creative setting which has been frozen in time. (Well, not really but, you know, pretend)
In a steamy hot holding area, we mill about chatting in slight bemusement. On entering you know you are here for the Courvoisier mixology event where you will move between at least 3 areas where master bartenders have created the perfect cocktails. What you don’t know is what shape the evening will take.
To maintain the aura of surprise, I’ll add videos and images later but will merely attempt to describe the event and why you should spend a tenner (plus tax, etc) and enjoy 3 wacky cocktails which, let’s be honest, is the cheapest in London where one cocktail is £10+
After the disinterested, nail-filing secretary who seems more interested in reading Vogue and the office boy with his giant ball of rubber bands (which he invites you to add to), you write up your name tag and wait for your group to be processed into the first bar area for the fruit punch drink. What you might not expect is to be offered fruit to buy (and the comment was made that I seemed well stocked with melons and need not buy any more 😀 ). The jam jar of punch is filled up and you enjoy the ambiance of this almost quintessential British scene with actors playing out something secret before being whisked away.
The first cocktail firmly in your hands, you venture into the second room where you are greeted with an incense-waiving mystic from the East who talks in riddles and has one of your party try a strange concoction before bestowing the wisdom of the ages. I’m being deliberately vague here to help preserve some of the enjoyment.
From the East you head west in an instant with two duelling snobs, one French, one English, who educate the group about the ‘angel’s portion’, and the tears in a glass of Courvoisier when gently swished. This is part of determining the quality of the cognac and two of our group are singled out for a pop quiz. Don’t worry, it is all in god fun 🙂 When the Englishman suggests Courvoisier is the best, the Frenchman disagrees and on with the tour we go. At this point I suggest you should have finished your jam jar…
We enter a sort of holding rom where there is a bell that says “ring me”. Trust me, you need to ring it. Often apparently more than once. We do it three times whereupon a lovely butler ushers us into what is a mad scene of decadence and age and has to be the most eccentric part of the tour. This is my favourite rom and I just loved it. I won’t spoil the surprise but the ballroom dancing was fun, as was hiding people in closets and the lovely champagne, Courvoisier and sugar cocktail. This is my favourite cocktail of the evening and having a bottle of Courvoisier handily at home I am resolved to recreate it.
Heading upstairs to the next room, we enter a strange café atmosphere with a jazz band playing live, tables and chairs with the next bar. Here I finish my cocktail rather than leaving it behind and enjoy the life jazz. I get a cocktail with my coin (from another area) and enjoy the waft of orange zest, marred only by a tiny amount of pith that I am sure only bothers me. Then I take part in a sensory exploration with a blindfold to keep me from cheating and finish off with another cocktail. We are moved off to the CEOs office where we play and are initiated into a secret society.
All in all, tremendous fun, well orchestrated with smooth movement between rooms, making it obvious why there are timed slots. The whole event was absolutely magnificent and I highly recommend going but you need to be fast as it is Friday (today) and Saturday (tomorrow) only! I’m considering buying a ticket for Saturday myself and going back again!