I’ve been very excited about writing this post, because I couldn’t wait to share what I got up to last weekend! (Well, a bit at least. If I told you everything, I’d have to kill you.) Hands up if you’ve ever been to Rotherhithe? If you’re like me before the weekend, your hand will remain floppily by your side. Well, I’m encouraging you to change that, dearest chums, and raise that wrist heavenwards with pride. Rotherhithe is actually rather ace, and I’ll tell you for why.
I can’t remember where I first read about Midnight Apothecary, but I’d like to thank that publication whole-heartedly. Botanical cocktails on a roof garden, marshmallows to toast, AND a tour of the Brunel museum sounded like a heavenly way to spend a Summer evening, and after coming back from Sludgefest 2015 (Secret Garden Party), I was ready to hit an actual Secret Garden in the sun.
Luckily, it was a gorgeous evening as we wandered down from Rotherhithe station – via Shadwell, which I can’t talk about in the same glowing terms, sadly. We spotted the museum straight away, a substantial tower rising up from the residential street with an unmistakeable waft of barbecue. Clambering up slender steps to the roof, we were soon greeted by the sight of a proper English garden, full of laughter and sun, and the scent of burning sugar from the marshmallows. If you’re unclear as to what that translates to, I’ll tell you: that, my friends, is sheer happiness.
The cocktails are provided by Lottie Muir of The Cocktail Gardener, who is by all accounts, a bit of a whizz. We managed to make our way through all but one of the 7 strong menu, and I tried everything from Douglas Fir vodka to hibiscus syrup, via a lavender gin fizz, and a strawberry and thyme concoction. Pretty AND lethal, just the opposite of how I like my men. I truly believe the soul can be entirely soothed just by sitting calmly in a garden, spotting birds flying overhead, inhaling the scent of gas lamps mixed with herbs, with a shot of vodka or two by your side. After a day in Shoreditch and surrounding areas, it felt awfully calm and peaceful.
We moved from the outskirts of the garden into the centre, round the campfire, and grabbed a couple of stakes to toast our marshmallows on. Never has there been such a feeling of being simultaneously entirely masculine (large pointy wooden stake) but entirely girly (tiny pink marshmallow), and I enjoyed it immensely. As it turns out, my toasting skills are VERY poor. My phone is still bathed in a kind of marshmallow ectoplasm, and I was mercilessly made fun of by my Canadian pal who is adept at these kind of essential life skills.
Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly get any happier, an effervescent and actorly chap leapt out in a red hat and told us he’d be giving a tour of the railway tunnel itself – this is absolutely not to be missed. We clambered through a small tunnel and went down into a huge underground room, where we learned all about the two Brunels and what they’d created. It was quite thrilling to sit there and imagine people banquetting all the way underground, and Queen Victoria making a visit.
If you’re a bit fed up of the usual pop ups and the same old bars, and you like your cocktails with both a botanical AND a historical twist, there’s nowhere better than the Midnight Apothecary. Book some tickets through Design My Night (a mere fiver each), and have a truly unique and relaxing evening in Rotherhithe!