Check out our review of TT Liquor, a chilled-out drinks hub on Kingsland Road that specialises in historically inspired cocktails
TT Liquor in a nutshell: This Kingsland Road drinks emporium is a haven for booze buffs. As well as its liquor store, which has a carefully curated stock of spirits, beers and wines, it also runs cocktail-making classes, supper clubs and tastings. Its latest project is its cellar bar, which has been transformed into a slinky, subterranean cocktail den.
Where is it? Shoreditch, a five-minute walk from Hoxton Overground Station.
What’s the vibe?
Its multifunctional nature – shop, events venue and cocktail bar – could have meant TT Liquor lacked character but the vibe is warm and inviting thanks to honey-hued wooden flooring, panelling and furniture throughout. Enter via the liquor store, where, if you’re not distracted by the shelves lined with bottles, a staircase leads down into the revamped cellar bar. It’s here that the building’s former incarnation as a 19th-century police station is more obvious, with bare-brick walls, stone flooring and low ceilings. It could be dank and gloomy but a judicious use of soft lighting and more of that warm-coloured wood (here seen in the bar and tables, and display cabinets filled with backlit bottles of spirits) means that the space remains as intimate and welcoming as upstairs.
The cellar bar at TT Liquor
What’s the drinks menu like?
TT Liquor’s new cocktail offering is themed around four different historical eras. Drinks in each section ode to the culture and characters of the period, so Belle Epoque (1860 to 1914) features takes on classic, early cocktails like the Sidecar and Gimlet, while the Prohibition-themed The Noble Experiment includes a cocktail inspired by famous rum smuggler Bill McCoy. Boom to Bust spans the 1950s to 1980s, while the final section, Our Time, is influenced by contemporary bars and trends. If the cocktails don’t lure you in then there’s also a concise roster of wines available by the glass and bottle, plus three craft beers.
The Midnight Run cocktail, inspired by a Prohibition-era rum smuggler
Which cocktails to order at TT Liquor?
The Groglet, a tribute to the gimlet (check out more classic gin cocktails here), saw the hefty punch of Plymouth Navy gin tempered by dry floral notes from jasmine tea, while lime juice and Rose’s lime marmalade added zestiness.
The Madison was a riff on a classic martini, with Chase vodka, Belsazar dry vermouth and a savoury twang thanks to cornichon vinegar. It came with a playful garnish of gherkin, salt beef and cheese, a tribute to a classic New York salt-beef bagel. The final highlight of the night was the unusual Dorian – here, Redbreast 12-year-old whiskey was blended with hazelnut syrup, chocolate bitters, and came garnished with a blow-torched orange slice. With delicate dried fruit, spice, smoke and cacao notes, it was one of the more complex, and enjoyable, cocktails of the night.
Is there any food?
TT Liquor offers a simple pintxos menu – we liked the Spanish tortilla with homemade aïoli, and chorizo with a red-wine-and-honey glaze.
The Madison and a platter of pintxos
Anything else? We sampled its new cocktail journey experience, which lets you try one cocktail from each era, each of which comes paired with small plates. Drinks expert Jake introduced each drink, providing lots of interesting historical detail and anecdotes.
Where to go nearby for dinner: For vibrant flavours and no-nonsense pricing check out the many Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road, just a short walk away. Or, to continue the salt-beef vibe, head to Monty’s Deli.
Insider tip: Reserve one of the tasting vaults to sit in. Formerly jail cells, these cosy alcoves come with comfy leather banquettes and flatteringly dim lighting, perfect for dates.
Price: Cocktails are £8.50 each, while the cocktail journey experience is £45 per person.
Written by Hannah Guinness