Cider with a hint of fruit and the sharp flavour of a spirit may draw to mind those snakebite student days. But there’s no sign of paint-strippingly cheap vodka here, nor Sainsbury's-own blackcurrant. Cider artisans Blind Pig have turned a questionable classic into a drinkers delight, infusing their cider with wild fruit and hard liquor flavours.
But they’re not just sipping-pretty; Blind Pig has a side of spirit, and not the drinking kind alone. Bringing substance to their fine ciders, Blind Pig Collective saw the booze-buffs take a series of talented artists under their wing, with paint, film and photography all taking a stand.
Like all good liquor-pushers, they threw a party. Though 1920’s in style, Gatsby must have had other arrangements, for this was less a lavish affair and more of a side-street knock-and-hope-for-the-best charade.
A boarded up butchers on Brick Lane was resuscitated and Blind Pig Collective oversaw its metamorphosis into a four-storey American 1920’s speakeasy, exhibiting unique interpretations of times gone by from their chosen artists. Award-winning illustrator Laura Carlin (Moonlight, below) portrayed an ethereal scene of eccentrics; Adam Simpson (Secret Knocks, feature image) a sepia-toned layered painting. Digital artist Shonagh Rae (Blockers, above) combined pencil, stencil and photography in striking composition, while Rebecca Scheinberg displayed a photograph of a gramophone swimming in glowing golden light. Filmmaker duo Brass Moustache screened a piece intertwining clandestine stories with silent impulse.
Behind the bar, staple concoctions included Whiskey, Honey & Apple and Bourbon & Blueberry, while a swing orchestra with dancers brought the 20’s to life. Hairdressers, make-up artists and a dress up box gave attendees the chance truly soak up the essence of the era and sashay through the quarters in style – from a casino to a distillery and an authentic 1920’s press room.
To finish on a high, presumably before guests got a little too comfortable with their cider-goggles, a bevvy of actors-cum-policemen swarmed the place and rounded up revellers, à la old-school liquor raid.
They’ve coined a clever slogan – Cider for Insiders – a reflection of their unique stockists and status as a drink for those in the know.