Step into Tanqueray’s Drawing Rooms at Six Fitzroy Square and you’d be mistaken for believing you’ve stepped back in time as men in braces and fedoras and women with feathers in their hair sweep past you into wood panelled rooms, or beckon you up the staircase. This is 1930s London and Tanqueray’s blossoming success following Prohibition over the pond is infectious.
It’s an intimate set up with male styling experts on hand to dress you for the occasion, whilst A sensual and silken-voiced songstress warms the room with smooth jazz. We made a beeline for the bar - keenly watching the talented mixologists upstairs whip up a frenzy (quite literally) and bring classic cocktails to life using the finest London gin. My favourite was the Lyle’s Lavender Collins, created by World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2012 Andy Mill. Combining lavender and camomile infused Tanqueray, Lyle’s golden syrup, lemon, egg white and soda, it’s aromatic with a kick that has you reaching for a second helping. Or fifth.
There was a vintage headpiece masterclass taking place behind us with masks, beads and feathers flying. Curated by the Indytute, it harked back to the tradition of party hosts providing guests with personalised gifts and tokens. We were a little more modern and spent some time dressing up in the #tonightwetanqueray photobooth - I’m now convinced I could rock a pipe.
We were led downstairs to the secret martini room for a Tanqueray tasting with the UK Brand Ambassador Tim. He explained how the four key ingredients (juniper, coriander, angelica root and liquorice) of their famous London Dry which was originally launched way back in 1830 all play a key part in the smell, taste and finish of the spirit. The baby brother, Tanqueray Ten, adds camomile to the mix. We, of course, had to put this to the test and demanded the martini master do his worst. A classic gin martini and a Venetian (Tanqueray Ten, peach liqueur, Riserva Carlo Alberto Bianco vermouth with grapefruit and peach bitters) later and we were sold. And the key point to take away? Martinis should always be stirred and never shaken - you’ve got it wrong, Mr Bond.