So one Saturday morning not so long ago, I made my way to Broadway Market. Hackney isn't an area I frequent very often, and anticipating getting lost, I was infact almost an hour early. No matter; Broadway Market was bustling in the crisp autumn sunshine, and I busied myself with a banh mi, a delicious Vietnamese baguette washed down with some rocket fuel coffee. When the time came, I headed for the venue. Upon entry, I was handed a test tube of clear liquid. I was warned not to shot it, and I wondered if my reputation preceeded me. The liquid was infact 80% proof and had a strong flavour of mustard. When mixed into the Bloody Mary I was given, it made for a great drink.
We whizzed through a few tastings; biodynamic Champagne paired a vegan canape, a couple of whiskeys paired with cheese. Gin cocktails came with a bit of molecular gastronomy - spheres of fruity cocktail dissolved in the mouth. A couple of 'geishas' arrived to herald the tasting of an earthy sake made from brown rice.
Next up, a troop of black caped people came in, carrying black balloons and gave us pins. I could see what the end point was going to be, but I was nervous. I am not a fan of needles and everywhere I looked people were brandishing them. On the count of three we were ordered to puncture the balloons, and a sweet, vanilla-scented aroma filled the room, one apparently found in Couvoisier. After a tasting of this and a quick munch of some Bompas & Parr Courvoisier flavoured jellies, we were then given a breakdown of what we had consumed and promptly told to eat it. Rice paper menus.
We ended the two hour stint with a tasting of a very exclusive Courvoisier, poured by an impossibly glamourous, white-gloved representative of the company.
We stumbled out into the blinding daylight, headed for the pub across the road to digest our brunch over a few pints. I didn't really know what to expect from the afternoon, but if this preview is anything to go by then I would suggest getting tickets to the actual event at a Dalston warehouse on the 5th December quick snap. Slightly surreal, informative and lots of fun.
Tickets from £16.50.
Just in case you think I've suddenly acquired some snazzy camera skills, sadly this is not true. Photos are from The Tasting Sessions and the full set can be viewed here.