Drink Lagos: The George
So we decided to be bougie last weekend and visited The George. To give you a little perspective, the hotel has an art collection that consists of just Italian renaissance art and if you don’t think that’s border line contemptuous especially in a West African country that is home to some of the best modernists in contemporary African art then maybe you need to read this paragraph again.
But who knows? Maybe the owners wanted an authentic Italian vibe. After all, we know Nigerians love to hit two birds with one stone – if you can’t go to Italy of course you can bring it down here.
But then, I saw ‘Nigerian chapman’ and other local drinks on the menu so there’s that theory out the window!
I had a hilarious experience at the car park, which involved a valet who was performatively kind and quite skilled at opening car doors for a living, no matter how hard you signal that you’re in control.
I also do not know why hotels never see women (read about The Radisson experience here). Initially, I thought it was just unaccompanied women but boy, was I wrong. Walked in with Folarin and yes, I get it, maybe the height difference is startling but I don’t think it’s enough to make me invisible. The receptionists only uttered; “Good evening Sir”, despite seeing me in my obvious white ensemble.
We had quite a back and forth with the mixologist who refused to acknowledge the best cocktail. We even asked him what he’ll probably make for himself at home if he ever needed a drink and he said: “it depends on my mood, and what I feel like.” At this point, I just gave up because how are you a person without usual rituals?
Folarin ordered The Angelo, which had Black Label, caramel peach syrup, fresh pineapple juice and angostura bitters. The drink had a sour sloppiness that Folarin felt was due to the fresh pineapples but after a few sneak peaks here and there we discovered it was in fact chivita pineapple, as we always find. It wasn’t memorable although I wouldn’t say it was bad either. There is so much you could do with caramel peach syrup and angostura bitters that wasn’t well executed here.
We also had The Shady Cartel with smirnoff vodka, passion fruit syrup, fresh pineapple juice and triple sec. I am just going to say it wasn’t a memorable drink either as we couldn’t find the pictures of the cocktail we took. According to Folarin, it just disappeared and maybe that’s reflective of how trash the drink was - triple sec and vodka?
The Primavera looked interesting with a mix of Zacapa, basil leaves, lemon juice and house maitai mix. The Zacapa is a special kind of rum usually aged for years and infused with fresh lime slowly stirred with homemade date and ginger syrup. It’s one of our favourite mixers and is made by Guatemalan women – so extra points, of course.
The drink was essentially The George’s take on the maitai, and I think it was just there to be honest, Zenbah’s beats it hands down. The Zacapa lifted it in a way that made it clear that the extraordinary detail about the drink was the rum. It tasted like a fusion between a bourbon mojito and a whiskey sour. We had a different mixologist who had an extra oomph from our somewhat rigid one obsessed with playing safe. Also, we have decided not to mention their names so there’s no tension between them. Let’s just agree we liked the second one a lot more, he seemed spontaneous and made the most wicked whiskey sour I have ever tasted!
It was divine and had a distinct sweet and sourness that makes this particular cocktail one of pop culture’s fav. It was made with jack daniels, lemon juice, simple syrup, angorusta bitters, and of course egg whites. Perhaps the only magic that can come from a wacky drink like jack daniels is incorporating it in the whiskey sour, it’s extremely spicy and smoky undertones embodied the cocktail well. So much it felt like coming up for fresh air. From all the half-baked whiskey sour’s in Lagos, this is definitely at the top of the list! Extra points to the mixologist who wasn’t bothered by the rules, it was a refreshing experience.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The drinks here weren’t as bad as The Harvest, or Brass and Copper or even 12 Temple, but it was just too safe and boring. It didn’t reek of cheapness or consist of weird components either, it just wasn’t ‘the experience’, that RSVP, or even The Wheatbaker gave us. The drinks were also quite identical despite their individual flavours and maybe that’s an indication of conformity. It’s the George after all, where bartenders aren’t allowed to engage with their customers on politics even on an election weekend.
Good for: Dinner & Drinks
Food: Full Kitchen
Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: Yes | Beer: Yes
Primavera - N5000
Shady Cartel - N5000
Whisky Sour - N5000
The Angelo : N5000