I’ve tried to bag tickets to Pernod Absinthe‘s The Green Hour several times now, but each time I’ve received an invite I’ve found the event has sold out within hours.
Therefore, I was so so grateful when my London Cocktail Society buddy, Mike Harris, invited me along as his guest. I’ve heard so much about Rebel Dining Society but was desperate to experience it for myself.
The intrigue and excitement starts with the invite. I was to arrive at The Hoxton Pony between 6-7pm and search for someone who was enjoying Absinthe the traditional way. Once spotted, I was to let him know ‘The Green Hour begins’. Upon delivery of this secret code, I would be presented with an Absinthe spoon and given the details of the secret location for dinner. Oooh….
The secret venue, looks quite innocuous from the outside, but walking through the metal container-like doors you enter what looks like a converted warehouse with exposed brick walls.
Heading straight to the Absinthe Bar, I was greeted by the Pernod team who were creating a range of concoctions – I tried the French Kiss; a mixture of Pernod Absinthe, Passionfruit and lime juice.
The venue is a stunning find and a spectacular place for dinner and drinks. But this is not just any dinner and drinks, it is the final installment of Pernod Absinthe’s The Green Hour and was already living up to expectations.
Once seated, we kicked things off with the Absinthe Ritual, followed by candied tomatoes with balsamic jelly and mozzarella and, for us veggies, a consomme and followed by pumpkin risotto aranchini with pumpkin puree and basil oil finished with wait for it ‘the best brownie in the world’ Rebel Dining Society style.
The centre piece of the tables were the Absinthe coolers, filled with iced water. For the Absinthe Ritual we were directed to take a glass of Absinthe, place a spoon on top of the glass, balance a sugar cube on the spoon and allow the iced water from the glass cooler to slowly drip over the sugar cube dissolving it and causing the absinthe below to louche into a white creamy-looking liquidm as all the essential oils in the absinthe precipitate out.
The balsamic jelly served with candied tomatoes and mozzarella was immense, the risotto cake was amazing but really I could have eaten three of them, and although I thought it brave to lead with ‘the best brownie in the world’ as dessert (it was a tall order) I was not disappointed, divine!
Yes tonight was about haute cuisine served in an unusual setting, but it was also about way more than just food.
Rebel Dining Society is an all immersive environment, which is strange, unusual, intriguing and most of all fun! It is a combination of all the quirky little touches which made it a magical evening, unlike anything I’d experienced before.
An example being, when we first took our seats, we had to complete a superhero questionnaire and give it to the Pernod Absinthe box. There a mysterious hand would emerge from the box, take the completed questionnaire and a few minutes later swap it for a blank superhero mask and our super hero identity.
We then got to help ourselves to a playbox full of glitter, felt tip pens and shiny things and decorate our masks as we saw fit. I haven’t had this much fun since my Blue Peter days, to see a room full of grown adults take so much joy in cutting and sticking was rather wonderful.
I guess what ultimately makes an event like this is the company. As well as being invited by a great new friend, I met a stack of interesting people that evening; from the guy who plans to travel to 100 countries before his 40th birthday (and is currently at number 93), the guy from Seville who has just moved to London to the Italian designers sat next to us. Each and every person I met that evening was getting into the spirit of it all, having a ball and genuinely enjoying themselves.
Speaking as someone who works in the drinks industry, I have to say this was one of the best brand experiences I have seen in a long time. All the branding was there but in an interesting and unobtrusive way. The event itself offered incredible value to consumers, who paid £20 a ticket for an amazing night’s entertainment. Loved it!
To sign up for more Rebel Dining Society events, click here.
I arrived back in Madrid, Spain last weekend after four long months away. I’ve collected a lot of stories on my travels