The word “social” attached to any event is enough to make our toenails begin to in-grow. So when we received an invitation to Duppy Share’s Spirit Social, we were a little hesitant. Their aim is to showcase the newest independent drinks and offer an opportunity to meet the faces behind the brand. So we decide to be “social” and give it a whirl in the name of alcohol.
We find the social club in an obscure location, giving it the atmosphere of a Tim Burton movie. I thought, community centres like these didn’t exist in London. The cob webbed bartenders and school disco-esque room seem like a thing for a small town. But none-the-less, little alcohol pop-up stands line one side of the room, beckoning me to learn more.
Behind each booth, the owners of the brands stand (apart from Duppy Share), passionately telling the story of their unique spirit like a profit from the alcohol gods. I can hear brave statements like “This is what Caribbean fairies drink”, “This is better than vodka Red Bull” and “An angel visited me in my sleep and gave me this recipe”… OK, maybe not the last one but you get what I mean. They offer up £5 cocktails made with their booze but we ask for it straight up then provoke them with a serious question; What’s the best night you’ve ever had on your own spirit?
First up is Mr Black- a slick coffee liqueur that looks so stylish, it could replace James Bond’s Martini. Mr Black’s Tom Baker says, “No question, the best night I’ve ever had on Mr Black was the launch party. I think, myself, I drank two bottles of it and had that feeling of being completely fucked up but so awake. Lying sweating in bed, staring at the roof all night. It was unbelievable. It was probably one of the worst yet best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Next is the very unique BOLD which is a thick cherry red spirit that’s fruity and bitter. BOLD’s Tomas Lenko says, “I think the best night is where we had some awesome music, 1920’s and we had a selected BOLD menu. It was rock ‘n’ roll. We filled up 3 sittings and it was a Wednesday night. There was about 150 BOLD supporters. There was no hangover, just throwing up.”
Then I meet the ambassador for Duppy Share George Frost who quite keenly and sporadically tells me about the rum. He has so much energy and intense enthusiasm in his speech, that it’s as if he’s had a fistful of cocaine. Oh this story is going to be good, I think to myself. But as I ask the question, he retreats, and struggles to think of anything. He then asks me to come back later after a little think.
But swiftly I move on to Regal Rose- an actual drinkable selection of vermouths. Regal Rose’s founder Mark ‘Lord’ Ward says, “You can’t publish that one. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. I ended up with lunch in Barcelona. There was lots of friends, I had booze and one guy had a jet. It’s a great story. I love lunch. If you’ve got a good lunch partner, you’ve got a good day ahead.”
After a few shots and some more boozy conversations later, I corner the Duppy Share representative again. He still can’t think of anything interesting to tell me. He passes me his card and says he’ll email me when he thinks of one. I’m still currently waiting for that email. I guess he’s yet to have that night.