Photo of
July 10, 2009

At the risk of turning this blog into a billboard for Hendrick’s Gin, I would happily urge you all to skip to Edinburgh’s Bristo Square over the next couple of days and take a squint at the brand’s Horseless Carriage of Curiosities.

I’ve written about the idea behind it here and there is more info here but it’s well worth going to see it in the goggle-wearing flesh. The converted railway carriage was open for business for the first time yesterday and there wasn’t a single passer-by whose jaw wasn’t dropping at the spectacle.

A sort of Antiques Roadshow meets a gin-scented Willy Wonka, the essential premise to the thing is that members of the public can trade a curio for a Hendrick’s g ‘n’ t. The members of the public that donate the most interesting curios will be invited to dine in the carriage on Saturday.

People were getting into the swing of it yesterday and, by the end of play, the objects donated included a prison exercise induction card, a set of flintlock pistols and an umbrella used in Singin’ In The Rain. One man was so keen to whet his whistle that he prised the rattle from his baby’s hand and traded it for a drink. You have to admire that level of dedication.

Hendrick’s hosted a media meal in the carriage last night and I’ve never had anything quite like it. Highlights included lavender marshmallows with phenylethylamine, quail eggs dusted with chilli powder and gold, glow in the dark jellies and oranges which were cut open to reveal layers of jelly and blancmange.

Perhaps most curious of all was the flavour tripping finale of the meal. The host handed around a box of miracle berry pills. Made from a West African fruit, they make sour things taste sweet. We each dissolved one on our tongues and then bit into wedges of lemon and cornichons.

I realise that this may sound like the sort of fairy story which tends to be generated by several gin-based cocktails but there is a good story about miracle berries on the BBC site here.

All aboard the Hendrick's express
All aboard the Hendrick's express