Stolichnaya Lemonade Van

Stoli Man

Covent Garden Piazza

It’s 5:30 on a Friday afternoon and the sun is bouncing down the white stone of Covent Garden piazza’s encircling buildings, and there’s classical music in the air. In the middle of this rather perfect setting is a converted Citroën H van serving Stolichnaya vodka lemonade and brand new, freshly-made vodka, mint and lemonade sorbet. Though the astro-turf,  deck chairs and parasols make the van look like it’s pulled up on Hove lawns, it’s probably easier to think of it as a ‘Friday ambulance’, revitalising all the parched and exhausted office workers that are filtering through the gap in the foot – high picket fence. Boozy sorbet and lemonade, delivered by van to the middle of London? Pinch me.

As you approach the van, you’re met with taster shots of the lemonade (the lure above the hook), and once you’re at the serving hatch, you’re offered a full measure in a big red solo cup. The lemonade is served ice – cold, with a big ring of perfuming lemon on the top, and a clean and reassuring (so you know it’s there) burn of vodka underneath the dry citrus palette. It’s lemonade like your mum used to make, but just for her and your dad. It shatters what memories remain of my own desk, and focuses me entirely on my weekend and the balmy evening at hand.

Stoli Setup

Then there’s the sorbet, which can be yours for the price of a nice Tweet or Instagram post, tagging up with #stolilemonade. As discussed with Lucy and Kate from the event team, ice-cream is currently undergoing a transformation, not unlike craft beer was a few years ago. With Chin Chin, The Icecreamist, and Oppo all offering something very different, you can rightly expect a lot from the contents of your little paper pot these days. Stoli’s own sorbet was created by the team at Gelupo, Soho’s very own gelataria, which boasts the best gelato ‘this side of the alps’. It’s a dark, earthy green (‘like fresh mint, rather than just a flavouring’ I’m reminded), and just sweet enough to count as a desert. This is then blended with vodka and fresh lemonade, so the fragrant mint is boosted by the sugar and booze, and then finished off by the dry bite of the vodka.

Stoli Wafers

If by now you’re grinding your teeth and flexing your knuckles at the thought of missing out on this, you can unclench now. As well as popping up at a few more of London’s most popular destinations (look out for the team at Truman’s Brewery on Brick Lane very soon), the van is going to be transplanted onto Camden Beach for the remainder of the summer. That’s right, all the above can be yours, in the modern day paradise that is Camden Lock. Just look for the brightly painted van surrounded by weekend (and most likely week-night) warriors, and rather sharply dressed waiting staff.


Twitter: @joe_emerick

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