I’m sure I heard someone toast skál as Brad, my barman, handed me my lingonberry-rimmed Arctic Martini. Where am I again?
Five years ago, Oslo sprung up from the ruins of the old Hackney Central train station ticket hall, originally designed by Victorian Architect Edwin Henry Horne. Once one of the busiest stations in the country, and now thanks to the Overground Line, Hackney Central station has had a re-emergence as one of the hippest sections of the city. When conceiving this new bar and restaurant, the owners decided they would draw on their Norwegian heritage when creating the drinks and food menu.
Smooth as the Blue Lagoon, Reyka Vodka is at the helm of the Arctic Martini, to which a splash of Taffel Akvavit and a dash of Double Bergamot Earl Grey Syrup have been added. Reyka is the only vodka I have in the freezer right now, and I‘ve been hearing romantic tales of Reykjavik from their brand ambassador, Fabiano Latham. Lining the edge of the cocktail glass with lime and dried lingonberry dust lends a slightly citrusy tang and a touch of acidity sending it from good to great.
Wanting to get all hygge, I sampled the Delusion next. Having just returned from Kentucky, I saw Bulleit Bourbon as one of the ingredients and knew it would bring back memories of my recent trip to their distillery. A perfect segue from the Arctic Martini, the Delusion immediately warmed me up and had me reminiscing, not only of the birthplace of Bourbon, but of fireside holidays of yore. Orange liqueur, cardamom and rosemary spices, orange and chocolate bitters, as well as a little apple sherbert to keep you awake for Santa, all make for the perfect yuletide tipple.
I finished the night by trying the Mai Tai from their Classic Cocktail menu. After watching the flames rise on the rum-doused sugar cube, I was immediately hypnotised to thinking I was on holiday in the Caribbean. Not bad on a blustery November day in London, even if Havana is not quite in the vicinity of Scandinavia.
All of their cocktails – seasonal and classic – have made Oslo as one of the best bars in, not only the neighborhood, but in London proper. Make sure to head up to Hackney every Thursday or Sunday night to take advantage of their 2 cocktails for £9 – an insanely fantastic deal. Oslo isn’t just in Norway any more.
1A Amhurst Rd
London E8 1LL
020 3553 4831