68 and Boston, London
On the evening of Valentine’s Day we crept up the dark staircase and fell into Boston, the cocktail half of 68. Named for 67 wine producing countries (+1 for fun) and a Boston Shaker, the wine bar and cocktail lounge has quickly become a firm Soho favourite. Following the dark wood paneling we found the beautiful bar, sandwiched ourselves between two couples and handed the head bartender, Mustafa, a bottle of Brockmans.
“You want to try the cocktail right now?” he asked having never even tried our gin. We watched as he gathered his syrups and juices before opening Brockmans and giving it a smell. “Wow,” he said as he poured himself, one of the couples and us a shot, “That’s different.” About a minute later In Bloom had been created, a beautiful mixture of jasmine green tea syrup, sour lemon and goji berry liquor to enhance our natural wild berry notes. An extra splash of lemon and he was satisfied.
Work complete, Mustafa began talking. Raised in London before heading off to university to study classical music (‘a waste’ according to him), he spent his evenings working in a nightclub creating Skinny B*tches. Soon he found himself working in a Private Members Club where he “met all the right wrong people,” downed a few Prairie Oysters* (which he considers to be the best hangover cure), and eventually ended up back in London as part of the opening team of 68 and Boston. Back then he had to wear a white dinner jacket, “the kind you’d see on a *bleep* dinner cruise.” Needless to say it didn’t fit his punk rock vibe, and things have since changed.
He then surprises us by saying he’s been completely sober for a year (straw sips and tasting shots aside). That explains being able to envision In Bloom without having even tried Brockmans. As he puts it: “Pharmacists don’t sit around popping pills ensuring they work. Same for me.” Fair enough.
For now, he’ll take some time off to become a cycle courier. He’d like to focus on his music and pick up bartending in the summertime. So Mustafa will leave 68 and Boston with a completely new cocktail menu, inspired by 7 artists in the 27 Club. Missing this might be deadly…
Describe 68 and Boston in a few words.
A Turkish Cypriot, a Bulgarian and a Chinese man walk into a bar. That’s my version of saying the bartenders and clientele are very multinational.
Best thing you’ve ever overheard at your bar?
A heated discussion, well fistfight, between two off duty bartenders. They were arguing about the proper way to prepare potatoes for a Sunday roast (Roasties). FYI it’s in duck fat.
Why do you think gin is so popular?
Gin is popular because a lot of men with twiddly moustaches living in Portland Oregon said it was so.
What is it about Brockmans that appeals to you?
It’s easy to neck and has lots of berry notes on the palate. Berries = antioxidants. Antioxidants = healthy*
*Not a medical professional.
If you could have one last drink before you died, what would you choose?
Brompton. Not sure if I’m allowed to tell you the recipe… But I’m about to die so I should at least go out in style.
- 50ml Brockmans gin
- 25ml lemon juice
- 15ml jasmine green tea syrup**
- 10ml goji berry liqueur
Shake and fine strain into a pony glass and garnish with rose petal
If you’d like to see Mustafa in action, you better head over this week. Until he returns that is…
*Egg yolk, 4 drips of Tabasco & pepper
**Add 3 jasmine green tea bags to 300ml boiling water. Stir for thirty seconds and then remove the tea bags. Add 300g white caster sugar and stir until dissolved. Keep refrigerated.