As part of Throwback Thursday, we delve back to Fall 2014 when we participated in a very unusual tasting. First of all, we are certainly not strangers to tastings. We’ve gone to a Johnnie Walker tasting, a Macallan tasting, and a Guinness tasting. However, none of them could prepare us for the strangeness that was the Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual.
Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual was a free tasting held at Mack Sennett Studios in Los Feliz/Silver Lake and all over the United States. In order to attend, we RSVPed for a time slot (9:00PM) since space was limited in the venue. When we arrived, our host led us to a small room filled with displays of dusty books and stuffed rabbits. A bartender handed us some Hendrick’s & Tonic along with tokens good for two complimentary drinks per person. Our host tapped a bookshelf, which then opened on command. Much like Alice falling through the rabbit hole to Wonderland, we walked through a walkway covered in shrubs to a larger, more fantastical world.
The venue inside looked more like a circus than a tasting. A short man wearing a tribal bird mask guarded a woman over twelve feet tall. He then informed us that certain individuals were rewarded special tokens that allowed them to go under her skirt, where a bartender offered them another Hendrick’s cocktail. At the other end of the venue, writers became lost in their works as they typed out poems on their typewriters to patrons without speaking or looking at them. Next to the writers, hands popped out of holes in the wall. If you interacted with the hands successfully, they might hand you free gifts. One of the hands played thumb wars with me and then motioned me to come closer. As I approached the hand, I randomly got slapped, and I was rewarded with a deck of playing cards afterwards. The atmosphere of Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual was definitely unusual to say the least.
Of course underneath all the festivities, Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual was still a tasting so they offered an array of cocktails, including a Cucumber Southside, an Unusual Negroni, a Benevolent Bog, and the Traveling Emporium Punch. Some drinks were laid out at the bar. The Traveling Emporium Punch however was poured from a well, and the taste of citrusy herbal tea made it one of my favorite drinks of the evening. Placing a drink token into one of the walls caused a painting to slide upwards, revealing the Benevolent Bog, a fruity but strong drink. Servers also walked by with trays of small bites for us to eat between drinks. Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual did not disappoint with its variety of drinks at the tasting.
Compared to other tastings, Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual focused more on presentation. The event was gimmicky, and it might annoy those who simply wanted a tasting without the grandeur. For me, it was a fun experience that’s in line with their branding, and underneath all the decorations, they provided patrons with a wide selection of drinks to satisfy everyone. Even though Hendrick’s Emporium of the Unusual ended, you can visit Hendrick’s Gin’s website for information on future events. You can find more photos on our Facebook page. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA.
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Until next time,