Think The Distillery, think Gin. After all, this 4-floor mecca for the discerning drinker is a working distillery in Notting Hill. It's also the home to Portobello Road Gin (prizes for taste rather than the creativity of the name choice). Wannabe distillers come from far and wide to try their hand at the gin-blending experience The Ginstitute. Then there are the two banging bars; The Resting Room & Gintonica (zero prizes for guessing the signature serve). And did we mention the private dining room, plus three guest lodgings complete with gin-heavy minibars? So yeah, we're not being hyperbolic when we say mecca.
But news flash! These guys actually want to broaden your horizons further than juniper. Gather round tequila and mezcal fiends: your time has come. Behold: the epic new Agave Sessions.
BarChick has a full-blown love affair going with tequila, but she also has the odd saucy rendezvous with mezcal. This girl ain't loyal when it comes to her booze, so this masterclass was right up our street. It's been created by the same crew behind the acclaimed Ginstitute experience downstairs. These guys are pros, so expect a history lesson on agave; the genesis ingredient of both.
Hold on to that notepad - you're going to want to get scrawling if you plan on remembering your lesson. Let's just say a case of tequila-induced brain haze might cloud your recollections afterwards.
You'll begin by learning about the process agave goes through to make the famous Mexican spirits. They dip into the legends behind the spirits; the distillery owners, the barmen, the bars. All the awesome sh*t BarChick loves. By the end of the masterclass, you'll know makes tequila so characterful - the mystery, the myths and how to tell it apart from it's smokier mezcal cousin. And to help you further grasp the concepts, you obviously get to sample the stuff.
Let the learning begin.
Start with a knock-out Tommy's Margarita while you learn about the legend who invented it. Then enjoy a sipping shot of tequila with a Pacifico beer bottle chaser - a game changer if beer isn't usually your bag. The whole masterclass is in partnership with Herradura Tequila, so expect to try a selection of their exports as you go. Always wondered about the difference between Blanco, Reposado and Anejo? The blind tasting sesh which journeys through the different classifications should help.
To avoid a case of "one tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor", they also serve up some slamming Mexican dishes. A seriously delicious bowl of guac and dip that you'll wanna dive into head first (don't do that. This is a group masterclass), some spicy little bean tostadas and soft, messy fish tacos which are so good we suggest momentarily suspending your table manners. No, you're licking lime juice from your wrist.
After all that sampling, the fun doesn't end. You get sent home with a bottle of Herradura Blanco and your very own barrel. Hell yeah! It's been made exclusively by Herradura’s cooperage in Mexico and is gonna look pretty bloody great on your booze shelf. Take away to barrel-age your very own tequila at home. Give it a few weeks and then invite your amigos round to sample your masterpiece. We sense a fiesta on the horizon.
Tickets to the Agave Sessions are available for £100pp and includes four agave cocktails; tastings; a lunch of Mexican food, a 70cl bottle of Herradura Blanco Tequila (RRP £40) and bespoke barrel. Nab your tickets over here.
The Distillery, 186 Portobello Rd, London W11 1LA