The Woodford Reserve Lounge at Sager + Wilde (at Paradise Row restaurant/bar/terrace not the Hackney Road wine bar) offers a subdued earth tone retreat from the world with a lofty perch above the Bethnal Green bustle.
I dropped by recently for an elbow bend at the new lounge with Head Bartender Marcis Dzelzainis – recently nominated for the International Bartender of the Year award at the Tales Of The Cocktail Awards in New Orleans – and Woodford Reserve Brand Ambassador Tom Vernon. Marcis shared a few of his more notable Woodford cocktail recipes while Tom informed about what’s doing over in Versailles, Kentucky – home of the Woodford Reserve Distillery.
Marcis’ Olive Oil Old Fashioned lulled my palate in an extra yummy way. Think of the drink as a toned down and less bitter version of the classic cocktail with fuller mouth feel and more (but mellow) vanilla notes. A touch of sandlewood syrup makes it even more distinctive and subdued.
As for the news from Kentucky, I forget what Tom said was kosher or not to mention (blame it on the second Old Fashioned) but keep your eyes out for the UK launch of a double oaked Bourbon, a rye, and more.
The setting itself, the lounge upstairs above the bar, was a masculine but cushy den of a space that I’d love to see my myself imbibing again soon.