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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Shaker & Company, Euston

In Euston, The Times They Are A-Changing. Replacing Bob Dylan-themed flop Positively 4th Street, is Adam Freeth’s Shaker & Company. That’s Shaker as in high-end consultant mixologists to the likes of Tatler, Cartier Polo and excellent Shoreditch lounge, Nightjar, not cheapo MDF kitchen units in the style of an abstemious American sect. America’s Deep South is the theme at Freeth’s maiden venture - a butch, woody, Woodrow Wilson-era tavern, minus the Prohibition. At tonight’s launch, liquor flows like it’s December 5th 1933 (the day Prohibition was repealed) and although Brother Griswald (Johnny Walker Black, 'blue' Chartreuse and ‘Christmas cake reduction’) and Breakfast with Obama (tequila, ginger and grapefruit liqueur, bitters, honey lime, sea salt and watercress) are well executed, they’re also overly contrived. Tricksiness is a current bar land willy-waving tendency I can live without: classic cocktails become classics for a reason. Happily, Tanqueray dry martini, my must-pass liquid litmus test, is not flunked. Expect a different theme at a dimly-lit conspiratorial downstairs den that will play host to a different cocktail base each month; tonight’s hero pour, Bénédictine, appearing alongside Aperol, stone fruit, bitters and lemon in another  slightly over-ambitious cocktail, Tanqueray gin flip, Potato Sack Sour. All-in-all, Freeth's vision gets the thumbs up and although its hinterland location might be an issue for some, honest pricing will not.  Shake out the minor shortcomings, as in funk up the flava on jambalaya, veggie gumbo and hush puppies;  soul food that needs to be less Joss Stone more Sly & The Family Stone, and London just got itself a swell new sauce saloon.
19 Hampstead Road, NW1 7060 6877