Feel like a Zombie some days, but a Tonga Twist on others? Then you’ll feel right at home at London’s most exclusive cocktail bar, as Jack Mendel did on a Jewish News staff outing.
When Prince William fancies a cocktail, there isn’t a watering hole in the capital that isn’t ready to shake and stir at his command.
With so much choice available, Mahiki in Dover Street has every reason to feel proud that the future king, who was last week’s guest of honour at Jewish Care, chose Mahiki as the place to host his 30th birthday.
With a recommendation from HRH, the staff at Jewish News were delighted to follow his lead and spend a night drinking at the exclusive cocktail bar – but, more importantly learn how to rustle up Raratonga (Brugal Anejo and Dark Navy rum) or a Bikini Blast (watermelon, pineapple, Don Julio Blanco) for ourselves.
Only the other evening, the cast of reality drama Made In Chelsea were at Mahiki working on their own Wicked Wenches (it’s a group cocktail) so our team were ready to blend right in.
Entering Mahiki is like boarding a pirate ship docked in a tropical rainforest somewhere near Hawaii. The staff who aren’t pirates wear flowers in their hair, but it was the pirates who brought us our Treasure Chests of Mahiki grog, which is a mixture of brandy and peach liqueur shaken with lime and sugar and topped with a bottle of Moët & Chandon. It serves eight or a very greedy four (not naming names) and went down very nicely.
Having never mixed a cocktail in my life, beyond adding 7 Up to vodka – I was a little apprehensive about the masterclass, but when our cocktail making teacher rocked up smiling with shades on, and a tropical shirt – it was clear he was keen to show us a good time. He also told us he had been doing this for nearly a decade, and that he loves what he does, so I figured I would, too.
One by one, we ordered our Zombies, Piña Coladas, Mahikis, Monkey Brains and Fa’fefenes. Come my turn, I wanted something I had never heard of.
In fact, I asked for something not even on the menu, but with lots of whiskey. Obliging, and thinking on his feet, our ‘mixologist’ enthusiastically called for items, handed me a bottle of Bourbon, and told me I was having a Deep Purple – including mint, blackberries and syrup, topped with crushed ice.
For my second mix, I chose a Bajan Whirlpool – packed with Caribbean rum, lemon and mint with ice perched on the top of the signature ‘tiki’ cup, which was shaped like a shell. As I shook things up, my fellow slurpers armed with straws were onto their second Chest.
Word has it that we had three of the seemingly endless vats of fruity Mahiki treasure – with regular visits from the resident pirate who was better equipped to walk the plank than the rest of us.
I don’t know how Prince William felt on the morning after his 30th birthday, but if his experience was anywhere near as much fun as that of Jewish News, he will have struggled to make it down to breakfast at the palace.
I’m hoping that Mahiki’s open door policy means we will be welcomed back, if only to remind myself about how to make a Honolulu Honey.
• Mahiki, 1 Dover Street, Mayfair London W1S 4LD.