Updated 14/3/16 with a report back from the bar
We'd been meaning to pop into The Gibson ever since it opened over the Christmas holidays, but with one thing and another hadn't been down Old Street way for a while. Well that was our loss. This week we finally made it down there. As a bit of background, there's some serious talent behind the bar. Marian Beke was Bar Manager at Nightjar, down the road, for five years. He's roped in Rusty Cerven who was senior mixologist at The Connaught.
Between the pair of them, they've come up with the most extraordinary drinks list. On the face of it, it's quite the book - each section is a month of the old Anglo-Saxon calendar with drinks to match, and stories from cocktail history pertaining to that month. Each month has four drinks, one for each week, so there are 52 in total. It sounds like it might be a chore to wade through, but we found it pretty easy to find something we liked the sound of.
A hint of what's to come can be spotted at the apothecary-like bowls of garnishes behind the bar and the startling array of glassware - each drink has its own vessel. We managed to try four when we dropped by - all were VERY good - but one standout was the Electric Earl - Tanqueray no 10, Earl Grey liqueur, electric bitters, fresh grapefruit, lime, tonic and citrus grass cordial - with what they call an electrifying flower bud - and it really does give a tingling sensation when you fite into it. Also recommended is the Big in Japan (Hakushu whisky, yuzu vinegar, fresh lime, royal jelly and rice syrup, grilled rice powder, pickled pink ginger, ginseng plum wine, rosewood smoke) - which comes with a side plate of smoking incense.
Essentially all the cocktails were top notch and those cocktails show just why they need the set-up behind the bar (check out the pic below).
The space is larger than we'd imagined, too. You can perch up at the bar if you want to be in on the action, but there's also a nice banquette running along one side of the room too. On the food front, we had a plate full of Parmesan shavings (they use the hollowed out wheel to flavour spirits for use in some of the drinks) and some homemade pickles. At the weekends they offer tartares and they're intending to work on the kitchen to be able to offer that throughout the week very soon.`
Overall - a VERY impressive bar and one we'll be sure to pop into whenever we're passing.
Original story follows
There's a new cocktail bar in Clerkenwell which has opened quietly over the Christmas season - and it looks well worth breaking any post-Christmas detox for. It comes from Maran Beke, who was Bar Manager at Nightjar for five years, with cocktails from Rusty Cerven, who used to be senior mixologist at The Connaught Bar. So there's a good pedigree for starters.
On the cocktail list, the main focus is on the Gibson, of course, and various interpretations of it. Other cocktails are "The Onion Cocktail - £9" (Tanqueray Gin, Martini Riserva Rubino, The Gibson-house pickled onion.) and a Pickled Banana Daiquiri - £11 (Azuki Bean liqueur, Bacardi 8 yo rum, banana chutney, milk oolong, palm sugar, young coconut water, curry leaf, lime, gold coconut rice.)
And there's food too - spiced tartares made with steaks from nearby Smithfield Market, dishes of shaved parmesan, and charcuterie & cheese boards served with house-made pickles and chutneys.