Bourbon and (no January) blues

For me, Sunday nights in January are spent hunkering down, usually in a satisfying post-roast food coma. However, last weekend the promise of Bulleit bourbon whiskey (which has in the past received the delicious. seal of approval) and live music dragged me away from my cosy flat and into the depths of Ladies and Gentlemen, an underground, disused public toilet turned bar in North London.

Bourbon and (no January) blues

The premise: ‘Bulleit’s January Blues’ has been taking place every Sunday evening in January, tempting Londoners away from their sofas and taking over Ladies and Gentlemen with live music and a menu of bourbon-based cocktails.

The location: It’s easy to pass off the transformation from abandoned public loos to bar as jumping on the bandwagon (several have popped up around London over the last year) but Ladies and Gents isn’t try-hard.

There are a few quirky elements – the piano doubles up as a distiller for the bar’s craft Highwayman Gin and turn the on tap at the washbasin and you’ll find punch running through the pipes. To the haters, I say they’re an act of pure practical genius (especially after my third visit to the washbasin).

The cocktails: The drinks all use Bulleit whiskey in twists on classic cocktails. Highlights of the evening included One in the Chamber, a take on a whiskey sour with port added for richness, and the Kentucky Coffeetree, a slinky number with fino sherry and Kahlúa. Not forgetting the punch fountain, visits to which are complimentary to guests.

The music: a live pianist (playing on that distiller) provided a pleasant bluesy soundtrack to create a Deep South backdrop to the evening.

The final verdict: a great reason to gather a few friends and raise a glass to the week ahead and worth a slightly fuzzy head on Monday.

Bulleit’s January Blues has its last outing this Sunday 31 January. Bulleit is also hosting an All-American Superbowl Party at the bar on Sunday 7 February (tickets £10).

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