Experimental Cocktail Club, or ECC, is one of London’s best-loved speakeasies. Tucked away behind an anonymous door in Chinatown, this Prohibition-style den of opulence lends itself to curious, fun-loving people and fabulous cocktails.
The menu, with its constantly evolving melange of old classics and new inventions, covers various flavour profiles – from smoky mescal to sweet saffron syrup, the drinks seemed to hit every single taste bud.
The most recent menu, or ‘issue’, completely split the group. As well as the usual ECC specialities, it includes several new complex cocktails.
Shrub It was an instant success for me; a light blend of green apple and cardamom-infused Pisco 1615, finished with Amontillado sherry, lemon juice, blackberry and black pepper, it was inspired by foraging techniques and the natural influences really showed in its wild and fruity flavour.
The influence of mescal was prominent in the new offerings, with mixed results; we were divided when it came to Tonka Fievre, which just had a little too much going on, but adored The Montresor, which blended the spirits with apricot to give a nicely sweet taste.
Meanwhile, the charming Mr Achimoto, inspired by creative spearhead Alex Skärlén’s recent trip to Rio de Janeiro, combines Albelha cachaca, ginger, saffron, coriander and bitters. The saffron flavour was subtle, adding its uniquely luxuriant taste – it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought it worked brilliantly.
The new arrivals mix well with the established cocktails, like the Hendricks-infused Saint Germain Des Prés that has always kept me coming back.
As well as these delights, ECC has a selection of champagnes, cheese (Neil’s Yard and La Fromagerie) and charcuterie (New Fine France), and a mind-blowing list of vintage cocktails using spirits from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
All this, added to the place’s atmospheric lighting and esoteric furnishings, makes ECC a real asset to Chinatown. I’ve loved it since I first set foot in the place, and the new range of cocktails has only made me more excited to return!
13a Gerrard St