It was a weekend of endless possibilities, where the sun was high and two friends walked through London with their heels in their hands. Flower crowns embedded in thick curly hair, flared trousers and extravagant smiles, licked lips. For this was the weekend where two friends would have their very own staycation in the heart of London and finish their stay with a boozy afternoon par-tea at The Cocktail Trading Co, nestled in the heart of Shoreditch. There would be live music , a musician crooning covers of cult classics like Jamie Foxx’s ‘Golddigger’, expertly playing the piano as music coursed through his veins hungrily. But what would wait for us inside? Friends and strangers seated at wooden tables, drinks being poured at the bar, gulped down thirsty throats. The sun might be blazing outside but inside we were placated with cold refreshing drinks, the cup-o punch was a firm favourite among friends, toasting each others success-it was magical. Laughter, roaring laughter and tears streaming down our faces, our catch up was long nigh, but when would our food come cried our rumbling tummies?
An ‘afternoon tea stand’ came in propped in by welcoming hands and placed at the centre of our table, the tinkling of a piano firmly in the background. Fresh strawberry notes plopped in ice, fish bowls for large groups, cocktail glasses for us, edible flowers in the mix, sandwiches to our left, delectable cakes at the bottom. The drink went first, lacing the mouth for the culinary experience that would happen next. Strawberries infused with passionfruit, a sprig of mint lay centre, a leafy crown in a sea of red. Salmon crustless sandwiches for the fish lovers and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches for the vegetarians, flowers weaving in and out of the sandwiches with gusto, hungrily consumed in a matter of seconds. They were not stale but fresh, soft bread on parched lips, crumbs on our clothes, we didn’t mind. But it was the cakes that stole our undivided attention, as we sang along to the guy on the piano, shoving cakes in our hungry mouths at The Cocktail Trading Co. There was red velvet, a red sponge sandwiched between white cream, it melted in the mouth. Frosted mini cupcakes dancing upon marbled strawberry cheesecakes with a chocolate base, the symbol of upmost divinity. The guilty pleasures kept on coming, cake upon cake, stored away in a sweet lovers fantasy to file away for a later date.
We were all caked out but it was time for another drink, a tropical shake and bake in a short glass, a battenberg perched atop precociously. A muted ‘freakshake’ in a ‘drink version’ it slipped down throats like liquid gold. A cross between a British tea party and a tropical beach getaway, the two worlds collided in one drink, transported into a fantasy that seemed almost unreal. Jolted back to reality, the last of the sandwiches entered the realm of the stomach, we were almost full, needed room for our last cocktail. A breather between courses, salsa dancing sitting down, the piano began again, Britney Spears met Luis Fonso in a bridge of melodies that accompanied our boozy afternoon par-tea, we fell in love. We didn’t want it to end, the real world no longer existed in our minds. But it was the ‘Strawberry Meme’ that slid its way over to us, with cunning in its berry red disguise. A tall glass filled to the top, by jove that would quench our thirst all right. Fresh strawberries reminded us of summers at Wimbeldon, glasses clinking with layers upon layers of ice. For The Cocktail Trading Co wanted to throw a party each month to celebrate life, an alcohol infused afternoon tea, where we could escape our realities for a few moments in time.
The fruits all danced together in unison while the sandwiches disappeared one by one, feeding famished stomachs that rumbled no more. Our stomachs protruded with satisfaction until we could eat no more, our culinary journey had almost come to an end but there was one more surprise in store. A raucous encore from ‘Piano Guy’ who took us on a melodious end to our boozy afternoon tea, as we let the food and drink settle in our stomachs happily, while we shouted ‘bravo’ in appreciation of the music that had reached our ears. One by one the press filed out the door, smiles of contentment on their faces, eyes dilated in pleasure, until we were the last ones standing, a football game at Boxpark awaited our arrival, wooden seats waiting for us to be perched on. More drinks waiting, the sun beckoning to us with its golden fingers. Tan lines and sunburn, but the drinks cooled us down, coursing through our veins with vitality. But even though the football showed a disappointing result, we remembered what our afternoon had brought us. Pleasure, food, company. Our spirits were lifted and our constitutions fed with the precision of a culinary god sending treats from above. We dreamed a dream where the cakes and drinks were dancing once more, a merry go round of cakes galore. And then I remembered, tucked away in my bag was the last remnants of yesterday’s antics at The Cocktail Trading Co, red velvet cake next to iced cupcakes… they were gone in a matter of seconds.
Have You Ever Had A ‘Boozy’ Afternoon Par-Tea Before?
Please note me and a guest were given a complimentary ‘afternoon tea with drinks’ in exchange for this post but all thoughts are my own and not affected by complimentary services.