In the ‘spirit’ of all things adventurous, I decided to gift my BFF a cocktail making class. We had long ago agreed, that in our frenetic lives we had to try and make time at least twice a year to experience something together. Having known and loved each other since the age of seven, we pretty much had a handle on what sorts of things the other person liked or disliked. Since neither of us had any dislike for alcohol whatsoever, a cocktail making class seemed an inspired choice.
Goat, in Chelsea, runs these classes every Wednesday and Thursday. As the voucher had been delivered to V (my BFF) back in March, I abdicated all responsibility for booking the evening to her. A few hurried whatsapp messages confirmed that we’d meet and eat at the restaurant downstairs first before heading upstairs to the class that began at 7pm.
Both of us were running late, and as I grabbed an Uber at Clapham Junction, my very sweet Turkish driver informed me that Goat was a very au courant restaurant. Brain child of Steve Manktelow and partners, it is a restaurant cum speakeasy-style bar, where twice a week he conducts cocktail masterclasses. So far, so good.
I arrived earlier than V, and requested a table outside in the evening sunshine. Skimming through the menu my eye was immediately drawn to the pulled goat pizza. Coupled with goat’s cheese, grilled tenderstem, caremalised onions and fresh oregano, it seemed the perfect palate pleaser. V arrived, and after our customary hugs and breathless ‘how are yous’, we ordered our drinks and meals.
The trouble with trying to catch up over a meal is that there is never sufficient time to eat, drink, talk, complain, moan about our lives or set the world to rights. How we miss our school days where we spent weeks in each other’s company, and still never ran out of conversation!
Cocktail making hour arrived much too soon, and as we made our way upstairs, we promised each other another day of catching up very very soon. Promises we make each time we meet, and then the usual happens: Life takes over.
Parking ourselves at a little table, we were greeted by Steve and a welcome drink. V took herself off to the Ladies while I tentatively enquired what was in the white, frothy looking mixture. He reeled off a list of ingredients out of which two jumped out at me- Coconut (yummmm) and Tequila (Nooooooo!).
“Ummm, I’m sorry, is there anyway I could get this as a mocktail? You see, I’m allergic to Tequila.”
“Allergic to Tequila?”, he goggled at me, “You do know this is a Tequila cocktail making class?!”
Actually, I did not. In all fairness, neither did V. When she had booked, she had assumed, as had I, that we’d learn to make a variety of cocktails. Of course, logic dictates that only one spirit would be demonstrated in all its avatars, so that we wouldn’t literally be mixing spirits while mixing cocktails. Duhhhh!
“I’ll see what I can do.” he informed me brusquely.
“No, no, no…..please don’t worry on my account!” I implored. “It’s my friend’s birthday pressie, and I’m quite happy to just watch. I’ll just sip on a mocktail.”
“Hmmmm”, he looked at me assessingly and walked away.
The bar was filling up pretty rapidly, and it looked like nearly thirty people had turned up to watch, learn and drink some fancy tequila cocktails.
V looked at me sadly. “I had no idea!”
“I know. Don’t worry, it’ll be fun anyway.”
Many moons ago, when I was still a novice drinker, I had had an encounter with a jug of Margarita which hadn’t ended well. Consequently, I had stayed far away from Tequila and all its permutations ever since. Fate had conspired to bring me cheek to jowl with it once more. Only this time, I would be an observer, not an imbiber.
…..to be continued……