TT Liquor review: the screwball science of cocktail making
A one-of-a-kind cocktail class at a converted police station in Shoreditch
From the outside, TT Liquor, on East London’s Kingsland Road, may appear to be nothing more than a cosy bottleshop.
However, inside the former police station you’ll find a veritable warren of rooms to explore, with a drinking parlour, a “speakeasy” bar and a space for movie screenings.
It is the “classroom” which has brought us here tonight. TT Liquor hosts a cocktail making class every Friday - and the last class of each month is dedicated to the mysterious artform we are about to learn: “molecular” mixology.
The name might spook chemistry-phobes with visions of blackboards and test tubes, but the class takes a feather-light approach to the science of cocktails.
In fact, the “molecular” component really means fancy gadgets and eye-catching tricks, from blasting your concoction with Earl Grey-infused dry ice or frothing up a cocktail with nitrous oxide.
In fours, we are shown to a mini cocktail counter, stocked with everything we will need, and welcomed by Kay, who proves to be an energetic and - crucially - encouraging teacher.
After a nerve-steadying welcome cocktail, we start off with a simple classic - the Negroni. As you might expect, however, there’s a twist.
Once all the ingredients have been mixed, we pour a pot of freshly-brewed Earl Grey into another teapot containing dry ice pellets. As the combination erupts into tea-scented clouds, we direct the spout over our Negroni, giving it a fragrant final touch.
The dry ice is put to creative use again to create a spiked ice cream float. A handful of pellets are tossed into a bowl of cream and kahlua, and a few seconds of furious churning later, I am looking at a miraculous lump of honest-to-goodness ice cream.
Science also puts a novel spin on the Ramos gin fizz. Its creator, New Orleans landlord Henry Ramos, gave the drink its trademark full-bodied froth by shaking it for 12 minutes back in the 19th century.
However, Kay has an ingenious shortcut - blasting the ingredients through a whipped cream dispenser to ensure the perfect airy texture without the sore arm.
The last of the four drinks on the cocktail curriculum is the Zombie - a potent combination of fruit juice, liqueur and an ungodly quantities of rum, served in a traditional Polynesian tiki glass with a hollowed-out lime full of (more) rum as a garnish.
This is set alight and then sprinkled with cinnamon, igniting into a spectacular finale.
The last event of the class gives us a chance to put our new skills into action. Each team of four gets to concoct their own cocktail, with Kay declaring the winner.
Our melon-heavy rum punch failed take the top spot, but, after five cocktails, who cares?
TT Liquor cocktail making classes cost £70 per person and run every Friday from 7pm-9pm, and Saturdays from 1pm-3pm. The molecular cocktail masterclass takes place on the last Friday of the month.