I was unsure what to expect from the Reyka Vodka’s Icelandic themed cocktail night. I was passed 3 pebbles as my tokens for my free cocktails. I immediately regretted not bringing my award winning stone collection with me. I rarely leave the house without it.
Despite being one of the first to arrive, the venue already had a distinct atmosphere. The stark white walls, hanging cloth from the ceiling and atmospheric blue spot lights gave the place an ethereal feel. A nice and bizarre touch were the large models of houses with corrugated iron roofs.
I weaved through these bizarre structures and headed straight for the cocktail bar. There were several different cocktails to choose from and I opted for a Nordic Spring, which was a sharp lime based cocktail garnished with fresh coriander. It was very nice and was made with real passion by the bar staff, who were knowledgeable and friendly.
I was told how the Vodka is distilled through 100 year old lava rock in the small town where the company is based. The word Reyka means steam in Icelandic, which is apt because I was soon steaming drunk. This event was an unofficial UK launch of Reyka Vodka. It is available exclusively in Waitrose currently but they are looking to build their brand and introduce a wider audience to this product.
The next door room had a series of traditional wooden seats of vastly varying sizes and a video about Reyka Vodka playing in the background. This was a chill out room that was much quieter than the main room, which got pretty busy.
I went to their bitters bar and admired the huge block of ice. Here you had a wide range of infused bitters of different flavours, which were added to the vodka with a pipette. I thought back to my Chemistry teacher’s sound advice “Never drink from a pipette”. I ignored this advice and picked out one of the flavours. This didn’t quite dilute the vodka as I’d hoped and it felt like I was drinking neat vodka. I quickly retreated back to the cocktail bar.
There was a very cool, relaxed vibe to the event and people mingled happily. A band briefly sang an Icelandic song and were then on their way. I wondered if they charged by the song or were simply in a rush. I tried two more cocktails and they weren’t stingy with the vodka. Feeling slightly inebriated I chatted away and happily let the surreal and interesting atmosphere wash over me. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for Reyka as a brand and if they throw any more events I would recommend checking them out.
Written by Martin Stocks
Follow Martin on Twitter @Stocks1986 or https://twitter.com/Stocks1986