Passion Fruit Martini. Espresso Martini. Old Fashioned. Mojito. Aperol Spritz.
Of all the little luxuries we’ve lost – from the thrill of slipping into a killer pair of heels that will mean all eyes on you, to the pleasure of dawdling peacefully through a bookshop – there’s one luxury in particular I miss. It’s cocktails.
I know there are wine people who miss going to low lit bars and craft beer people who miss going to shiny industrial breweries. But I’m a cocktail person. I like the ingenuity in blending the flavours, the surprise of the first sip when you try a recent invention. I like the traditional, tried and tested ones too. I like the way they make me think of both summer rooftops and Après-ski, of girls’ nights crammed with giddy laughs, of good dates, bad dates, late night rendezvous and maybe hotels. Cocktails are an Occasion.
All of us have lost a lot throughout this pandemic but where alcohol is concerned, I’m going to argue cocktail people have faced the severest plight. Where to get a mixologist and a million obscure ingredients in the middle of lockdown?
I’m not asking rhetorically. I have the answer. When retracing your footsteps through your local park for the umpteenth time, you may notice a change. The runners and dog-walkers are still out in packs. The endlessly pacing population are still everywhere on the green. But wait… what’s this?
Is it a mirage? Is it a dream? No. It’s Meetini.
Meetini is the brainchild of Daniel Vajsabel, developed with his girlfriend, Millie Lawrence. They customised a cargo bike into a portable cocktail bar, complete with a panel that converts to a tabletop. No, I haven’t made this up. You may now take your compulsory weekend walk in the park with a twist.
For just £7.00 you can receive a classic from their core menu of 6, or a mocktail, shaken and stirred before your very eyes by a trained barman, garnished to perfection. Much more pleasant than showing up for your socially distanced walk with a warm beer in your backpack, Meetini brings new joy and new purpose to our wearied park wanders, brighter colours and tastier treats to our picnics. And for exhausted parents of cooped up kids – a mid-day reprieve! Pretty soon, going for a drink will take on a new meaning. Instead of elbows in an airless bar, it’ll mean rambling companionably to your nearest Meetini bike.
There’s more good news. I can even make it guilt-free for you. Meetini is resolutely zero-waste, with sustainability a pillar of their strategy. Their bike bars have solar panels which can be used to recharge the internal battery. They offer compostable cups and straws, reusable cups and even offer a discount if customers bring their own.
The founder, Daniel, is very much the expert. Having previously worked for Inception Group’s specialty bars including Cahoots and Mr Foggs, like many hospitality staff he faced a grave reckoning in 2020. After being let go, he leaned into his other passion, sustainability, landing himself a job as operations manager at The Society Company, a sustainability-focused grocery subscription service. His interest stems from 7 years spent living and volunteering in Panama. Perhaps more than most of us he is qualified to implement sustainable practices, having a better knowledge of the implications than many in the UK who are only just beginning to grapple with green issues.
Look, I think I’ve said all that needs to be said. Here’s what it is: cocktails in the park, at a really great price. Now why don’t you scroll back to the top, and pick which one you’ll be having first.