Drink Lagos: The Backyard
Everyone likes The Backyard and that's why I don't like it here, particularly. First off, it’s always crowded and on weekdays too, maybe that’s a good thing. If you ever want to take nice outdoor pictures, do not miss the rustic backdrop that the Backyard provides.
To start, we ordered the Gin Basil to prove Jerry from RSVP wrong. He once mentioned to Folarin and I that the cocktail was exclusive to their bar in the whole of Lagos, which didn’t seem quite right.
The drink had the usual components – gin, fresh basil, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. Folarin preferred this version solely because it was sweeter than RSVP’s, “I like the fact it has more simple syrup since heavy citrus isn’t my thing but I have to admit this isn’t a better drink than RSVP’s.” We came to a conclusion that what constitutes a great bar isn’t the ability to merely construct drinks, but its duty to mean something to the customer. On our RSVP expedition, despite knowing the predictable elements of the drink it never skipped being an exciting experience probably due to Jerry’s personality that seemed animated, passionate and big-headed.
For me, the gin basil at The Backyard is a good drink but isn’t quite balanced so when I shared my plea with Femi, our bartender. He had an interesting response – he picked up the gin, moved to my glass and uttered “you’ve just hurt my feelings so you have to tell me when to stop unless I wont”. Well, I ended up having a lot more gin since I was carried away laughing and not focused on the task. I loved how interactive concocting our drinks was, it distracts you from everything and maybe that’s the point.
We moved on to a cocktail called Red Splash made from – tequila silver, merlot wine, lemon juice and agave nectar topped with grapefruit soda. This wasn’t so memorable because it has taken concrete time to write this line, but I remember it being strong due to the merlot and tequila. I’m starting to love cocktails that imbibe spirits and wines, it makes such a solid base for anything especially rosé because that’s what I’m used to. Merlot and tequila stood out especially to Folarin as he ordered the cocktail, I was proud he wasn’t shy from all the citrus – grapefruit soda and lemon juice. According to him, “It’s strong but smooth. I don’t like that there are artificial undertones which is probably the agave nectar but that merlot nestles and bodies the weirdness”. Perhaps the full bodied merlot is what lingers in your throat, as the tequila causes the heat.
My favourite drink of the night was the Quiet Storm, which had Christina’s stellar cocktail ingredients – lychee and rum! It was made with – vodka, spiced rum, brown sugar, fresh lime and lychee puree. I’m a big fan of lychee fruit whether fresh, canned, pureed etc. and loving this wasn’t that surprising since I love cocktails that don’t have to taste like methylated spirit to get you buzzed. Any concoction done with this fruit always tastes amazing.
The cloudy texture of the fruit clings to the roof of your mouth immediately as the sweetness masks the intensity of the vodka. Vodka and rum in a drink was really interesting as these spirits are often rivals than friends, I think they make quite good partners when they’re not set apart. The spiced rum exceptionally lifted the methylated-ness of the vodka and created a boldness that rum despite its sophistication doesn’t quite embody by itself. Don’t get it twisted, vodka next to rum remains a bystander. I really don’t know where rum was during uni days cause being teleported to Latin America as a form of escapism from hectic deadlines isn’t a vibe I would have minded, to be honest. This brand of spiced rum reminded us of the Zacapa from RSVP.
However, the only con of this cocktail was the bottom, our straws kept picking huge lumps of fruit which may or may not have been intentional but definitely ruined the palate. There are other sophisticated ways to use lychee.
The fact that The Backyard gave us an avenue to express and compare its drinks to other bars doesn’t make it a bad bar, it just means they could be the best if competition is their thing. I find that I am most critical about drinks when they have a chance at being the best (I really sound like a class teacher). Maybe it’s environs will do that to you, even when the drinks aren’t up to par, sitting in a nicely structured yard with bartenders who have a sense of community definitely heightens your experience.
And if that isn’t the point, what is then?
Good for: After work drinks - Pre drinks - Date Night
Food: Full Kitchen
Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: Yes | Beer: Ye
Red Splash - N3500
Gin Basil - N3500
Quiet Storm - 3500
Christina is a TV and Film junkie who also spends an incredible amount of time reviewing skincare products she can barely afford.