December 5 marked 79 years since Prohibition was repealed in the US, but it continues to influence bartenders and drinks list today. It is part of the inspiration behind the latest cocktail list at Dach & Sons in Hampstead, London – one of the most high-profile openings of 2012 – which features an innovative bar, Flat P (pictured above), tucked away upstairs.
The venue was created by the team behind consultancy Fluid Movement – Tristan Stephenson, Matt Whiley, Tom Aske and Bryan Pietersen – whose other ventures include Purl in Marylebone and The Worship Street Whistling Shop. Dach & Sons has a New York-style eatery (pictured below) specialising in hot dogs, sliders and whiskey on the ground floor, with industrial-style furniture from Andy Thornton.
Upstairs is the darker, intimate 30-capacity Flat P – short for “Purl” – where the owners uncovered a 19th-century gold-leaf, hand-carved ceiling which is complemented by a new classic-style bar and dark blue velvet banquettes.
A new drinks list was introduced at Flat P in November, influenced by the Prohibition era but taken to a different level through inventive techniques and presentation. “It is the same philosophy as at Purl: theatre and magic and introducing cocktails that are multi-sensory,” Tristan explains.
Bar manager Jon Lister has created serves such as the Chamber Pot Martini which is based on the concept of a bathtub gin. It is made with Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Ketel One vodka, fresh botanicals, white port, thyme and Gancia Bianco vermouth, all prepared in an actual chamber pot on the bar, with a dry ice effect and aromas from juniper and camomile oil.
Inspired by Prohibition-set TV series Boardwalk Empire, The Bribe combines the “bribe, cigar and cognac” in one drink. Like an Old Fashioned, it is made with Hennessy cognac, Pedro Ximénez sherry and cardamom bitters and served in a decanter smoked with applewood and cinnamon and taken to the table, garnished with a money clip containing $100 (for returning to the bar after drinking).
Customers can get one drink in a small whisky bottle in a crate, and another in a milk bottle, miniature tea pot and tea cup, or they can make Martinis out of ingredients delivered as jam in jars in a picnic basket. Another, called Gun Or Roses, has “his and hers” serves, with “his” being gunpowder and Johnnie Walker Black whisky infused with black olive and squid ink.
Jon adds: “We are serious about the drinks and the science and research behind them but it’s also about having fun and being tongue in cheek.”
Dach & Sons, 68 Heath Street. Hampstead. London NW3 1DN
Tel: 020 7433 8139 www.dachandsons.com
Originally published as part of the review of the year in the December 2012 edition of Bar magazine.