Drink Lagos: Bottles
Lagos is quite a stressful place and tickets to ‘exotic’ places cost a fortune, perhaps that’s the reason Bottles exists. Remember when your Aunty lied that her and the family were vacationing in America but she really just went to a studio? Yeah, Bottles is the place for that. I haven’t been to Cuba in my lifetime, but I think the ambience at Bottles qualifies me.
The decor at Bottles is very heavy on a rustic aesthetic, which draws a lot of inspiration from Latin American structures. Think Cuba or Mexico. The colour palettes, although ridiculously loud, are perfect for the Tex-Mex vibes it wants to give off. There's an outdoor and indoor bar, which interface each other, but I particularly chose to sit by the indoor bar because its mixologist was a woman.
Drinking around Lagos has shown me the interesting personalities behind drinks and, more importantly, it's made me notice how the scene is largely dominated by men. Mostly Nigerian, with some expats here and there, but predominantly men.
Seeing Josephine, my bartender at Bottles, felt like coming up for fresh air. She wasn't a drinker, funny enough, but she claimed to know the technicalities behind all the drinks.
The drinks at Bottles are more affordable than what you’re used to. I wish I went along with more friends, so we could all get in on fun. My brother was a good sport anyway, so we ordered, in batches - starting with the Mexicano
According to popular culture, rum is to Cubans as tequila is to Mexicans. It is no surprise the Mexicano is a tequila-based cocktail: 2-parts tequila; 1 tsp grenadine; ½ parts lemon juice; 1-part pineapple juice and ice.
To be honest, the Mexicano is just fancy pineapple juice with strong notes of tequila that sneak up on you. Tequila is a spirit I love. Its fermentation process utilises juices from the Blue Agave plant and like rum, which is harvested from fermented sugarcane and molasses, these spirits are the best mixers for cocktails because they do not taste like methylated spirit. My brother, Dave, felt this is what you want to have on the beach in the tropics of any Latin American city. In his words; it tastes like the ocean.
The Mexicano was a perfect pairing for the heat that came from the complimentary salsa and tortilla chips we were served.
Our next drink was a recommendation from Josephine, the Wild Sex. I was triggered to try it because of mixes a couple types of rum with peach-schnapps, grenadine, cranberry, orange and pineapple juices. A bit like the Mexicano, but an inferior version. The Mexicano is a bit more sophisticated.
I do not like sweet alcohol, but I imagine this is how you do sweet. Malibu is a coconut flavoured rum equally distilled from sugarcanes and has a smoother texture than other rums, which I love. That said, I did not taste a lot of the orange and pineapple, the cranberry was very dominant.
We moved on to a cocktail simply known as Best. In it was Best gin, shisha flavour, cranberry, coconut syrup, lemon juice, and pineapple juice. I ordered this only because I was curious about the shisha flavour. Apparently there is an entire world of cocktails that try to mimic shisha flavours that I had no idea about.
I liked it because, despite the fruitiness of the shisha, it isn’t overpoweringly sweet and it had a nice sting from the gin and lemon. The coconut syrup gave it a Caribbean feel and, on the whole, this cocktail had a fine balance between sweet and sour. Like a Cosmopolitan. The bartender at The House needs to take some cues from Josephine.
The final drink was Adam’s Apple: brandy, apple juice, lemonade and fresh apples. This reminds me of a whiskey sour minus the egg whites. Brandy is one of the rare spirits that is rich enough to be paired with the simplest ingredients. Bottles' take on this cocktail was quite different from the last time I had this. The last time I had it, the bartender used chartreuse liqueur, ‘apple’ brandy, gin and dry vermouth. To be frank, all the times I’ve had this drink it never stuck to a recipe but its apple-ness remains constant.
If this was poured in a gothic mug it would make a great Tiki. The sour aftertaste from the apples compliments the spicy notes from the brandy perfectly. I think the point of the drink is to tickle your Adam’s apple, if you have one.
Christina is a TV and Film junkie who also spends an incredible amount of time reviewing skincare products she can barely afford.
Good for: Groups - After Work Drinks
Food: Full Kitchen
Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: Yes | Beer: Yes
Adam's apple - N1700
Mexicano - N1700
Wild Sex - N1700
Best - N1700