The other night, for the first time in my life, I partook in what could only be considered drinking and driving.
Now, to be fair, I was driving a painted, yellow, cardboard cab. I also happened to be wearing it. But the number of times I bumped into willowy, bendy buildings, unaware of my extended rear end, reminded me I must never put this to practice on any real street. Not that I ever would, of course.
This rather strange scenario unfolded during the latest kooky offering from Monkey Shoulder. The blended whisky brand is big on the quirky and this year has hosted flaming cocktail lessons at Callooh Callay, created an indoor Easter egg hunt with cocktails in Soho (see picture, below), and is now putting together interactive events centered around whisky, called For One Night Only.
I pulled up (sans taxi at this point) a little later than planned, having been previously detained drinking Cointreau (I know – shock, horror – I drank something other than whisky!). Weirdly, at the previous event, a random unopened bottle of Balvenie (Monkey Shoulder’s big brother) appeared on the table beside me as if by magic, almost as if to remind me where I should be (*I’ll note here: the bartenders had no idea where it appeared from, why it was out of their stock, and why it found its way beside me*).
Inside an artist’s warehouse near Edgware Road the team from Anonymous Artists (who work with Monkey Shoulder) had created a “pop-up” New York city, complete with a mini Statue of Liberty, American style walk/don’t walk signs, grey buildings and the aforementioned wearable taxis. A strange sight indeed for any night of the week!
The evening included cocktail making and drinks like the Mamie Taylor, which Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador Dean Callan told me originated at the start of the 20th century in New York and was named after a singer of the time, becoming the cocktail to be seen drinking in chi-chi places like the Hamptons. Made with lime, whisky and ginger ale (or, in the case of the Monkey Shoulder event, with ginger beer) it’s a sharp, biting bit of fizz, perfect for a hot summer night. I had brought my friend Rhian – one of the many friends I’m doggedly trying to convert to whisky – and she approved, which said to me it’s a great cocktail for friends just getting to know the spirit.
While sipping on the drinks and attempting to not knock any buildings down with our oversized cabs, a large gorilla ran around the room, shaking buildings and beating his chest. It may have been set in New York, but the oddities that night could only have been taking place in London…
After a few drinks, I extracted myself from the cab (never easy in a skirt and heels but even trickier when you’re actually wearing it) and left the surreal Monkey Shoulder world behind. The tube journey home was far less exciting…
For One Night Only events continue with “Whisky Punch” on the 7 September. To learn about the shenanigans to be had and more about Monkey Shoulder, visit: www.monkeyshoulder.com/foronenightonly/