Alcoholic Architecture


Written by Kieron Monks
08 Friday 08th May 2009

"I couldn't see this catching on at Wetherspoons," says Ross, emerging from a thick cloud of vapour. "I can't tell whether I'm hammered or not!" Such is the confusion generated by a thick cloud of Gin and Tonic gas (5.6 litres per hour). It seems the B & P schemers have caught us all off guard again, inciting huge enthusiasm but no little chaos. Watching revellers in white bio-suits waltzing through the mist, I am reminded of Woody Allen's Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex... But it's not just our appearance that makes us resemble sperm tadpoles. Tipsily knocking into one another and blinded by the mist, we seem to have undergone reverse evolution.

Anticipation builds outside

Sam and Harry are at pains to stress that their event poses no risk. "We had a medic and an explosives expert doing extensive tests. On that basis we worked out how many people could be in there and for how long," says Harry Parr, sensibly dressed in lab coat and gas mask. Entrance to the walk-in cocktail is restricted to an hour. "We don't want people to be completely gone, and you'd get really sticky after an hour". The cocktail is mainly absorbed through the eye, but it's more satisfying to taste the air on your tongue. That is until you realise how many people are contributing to the thick, sweaty air. And there is another drawback to the murky atmosphere; "Not being able to see makes it too easy for pervs," reckons Michelle from Harrow.

Permissive environment

Despite the popularity of their innovation (all days sold out almost instantly) and vague plans to introduce a multi-layered cocktail "with a different level for each taste", Bompas & Parr have no plans to take the gin experience any further. "Instead the precocious foodsters plan to move on to pastures new. "I can't tell you everything," Sam tells me, "but we very much hope to host a banquet that involves a plane crash in the middle. It might be a bit controversial, but I have always wanted to do that." Is it practical? "Probably not but this isn't either."

Sam Bompas with colleague Emma Rios

With the jellymongers already in high demand, numbering Disney and Selfridges among their clients, this audacious venture is likely to boost their profile higher still. "Without meaning to sound too corporate, this has been great for all the companies and names that have come and spoken to us. It should open more doors," Sam reckons. "But it's also been really exciting just to live the dream of a breathable cocktail." If the delighted expressions of post-cocktail partygoers are anything to go by, the feeling is emphatically mutual.

Click here for more info on the inimitable Bompas & Parr

Photography by Matthew Hass

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