We get to call this ‘research’. The first Spirit Show saw over 200 some weird but mostly wonderful booze brands descended on Islington armed with free samples. Dedicated to our industry, we took the afternoon off emails and went along.
Every town in Britain seemingly had its own gin (we tried most – none as good as Brockmans). There was a £3,000 skull full of whisky. Some genius even combined vodka with tequila to make Vodquila. The non-alcoholic stands were unsurprisingly less busy than the rest. There was also a half-naked man selling a device that stops your shirt coming untucked via a series of clips attached to your socks. This year’s must have.
We were treated to a tasting session with Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison – two men who have the perilous task of travelling the world finding new spirits and bringing them back here. Despite this, one of the bottles they shared came from their local Aldi. We’re not sure how seriously they’ve been taking it this year. We were eased in with Soju from South Korea before moving through to Armagnac and Metaxa. The next taster came with a warning: Baiju from China. Bravely, we went for it. My mouth went numb and I don’t think anything will every taste the same again. It was universally deemed as ‘interesting’. The guy who stole all Creative Director Holly’s drinks and combined them in one seemed to like it though. Rather him than me.
The afternoon was rounded off with a thoroughly enjoyable meal at The Elk in the Woods just off Upper Street. A good Occupi day out.