Davy’s has long been a favourite for a glass of wine, so when they recently opened a cocktail bar in the basement Victorian wine cellar, I couldn’t wait to go
The Cooperage has a real speakeasy feel with low lighting, comfy leather armchairs and a musty, basement air. The cocktail menu is small but expertly crafted, featuring home-infused spirits. The waiter recommended their signature cocktail – a roast pepper and paprika margarita – tequila infused with roast pepper and paprika for a savoury note. It’s a bit of an acquired taste – it takes a while for the brain to process that smokiness when it’s used to something sweeter in a glass like this. I opted for something a little zestier next time, a Sidecar (brandy flavoured with lemon and sweetened with orange juice). Despite my insistence that I really don’t like sweet cocktails, this was right up my street, punchy and sharp. My friend had opted for an espresso martini, and despite my horror proceeded to order it decaff. The waiter was only too obliging, but I was slack-jawed. People drink decaff espresso martinis? The world has gone mad.
By this point the spirits had taken effect and we were feeling pretty merry, so we made the one-for-the-road call and ordered a third – a spiced apple punch, made with The Cooperage’s own rum infused with apples and spices and lengthened with more apple goodness. My friend ordered a Martinez, the precursor to the Martini, slightly sweeter thanks to the vermouth and maraschino liqueur – perfectly apt for the festive season.
161 Greenwich High Road SE10 8JA; 020 8858 7204; davy.co.uk/cooperage