I got an invitation to attend this three-evening (Nov 4-6) event,at the Old Mint in San Francisco, sponsored by Hendrick’s gin. I elected to go last night, for one very good reason: Election Night.
Our only instructions were to show up at 5th and Mission at the appointed hour. I had no idea what to expect. Well, maybe one idea: there would be gin involved. And it was free.
A guy at the door was checking IDs, and as I fumbled for my wallet the guy just waved me in.Thanks, I guess.
Once inside, we were entertained by a man on an old-fashioned bicycle, alternately playing the accordion and singing weird little ditties. Once we entered the first room, we were handed a program and a couple of tokens to be used to purchase two of the five “Delightfully Peculiar Cocktails” they were mixing and handing out. We were handed a “warm-up” gin and tonic to sip while we explored the oddities in the room.
A disembodied hand slipped from behind a small door and offered a small Hendrick’s luggage tag. I thought it was chocolate and took it. Disappointing. I already have a luggage tag that looks like a cocktail and is much cooler
There was a portrait on the wall of a woman whose eyes moved back and forth. Creepy. And the two-headed skeleton under glass. The bunny with wings.
OK, so after taking all that in, I lined up for whatever the person was dipping out of a dry ice layer of smoke.
Turns out it was the Traveling Emporium Punch (gin, herbal tea, lemon juice, simple syrup, sparkling water and bitters, garnished with lemon and cucumber. I liked it! Nice spice from the tea, with a bit of citrus.
In the next room, you couldn’t miss the woman in the red dress. She stood about 25 feet tall, and had two guys with beaks and feathers ushering unsuspecting visitors under her skirts.
Not sure what her role in all this was. Not sure how anyone could hand her a drink if she wanted one, since her head nearly grazed the ceiling. Not my problem, but still. She waved her gloved hand and smiled at everyone below. That was a tough gig. For my next drink, I chose the Unusual Negroni. Just gin, Aperol, LIllet Blanc and grapefruit peel.
More walking around and sipping and looking at the program. The artwork in the program was pretty cool, featuring red roses, stills, butterflies, skulls, disembodied hands and flamingos: sort of a Yellow Submarine/Monty Python/Steam Punk visual mash-up. Pretty cool, actually.
I chose one more drink, which turned out to be the same one I got before, but without the layer of fog. Oh, well. A drink so nice, I got to taste it twice. Less dramatic presentation, but still tasted good.
I stopped to observe a man seated at a typewriter who would take small pieces of paper out of a wooden box and use two fingers to type a few lines. I waited for my turn to stand in front of him as he searched for inspiration. After a flurry of typing, he handed me a limerick. All I will say is that the first line ended with “strewed”– and the last with “lewd.” Enough said.
Thanks to the folks at Hendrick’s for allowing me to experience a few of their peculiar cocktails in surreal surroundings. Much better way to spend part of election night, which was surreal in its own way.
P.S. I did that TV detective thing and scribbled over the impressions on the piece of paper with the limerick on it. I know your secret, typewriter guy. Nice try.