With sherry bar Pepito next door, this similarly diminutive hangout is further reason to visit redeveloped Varnishers Yard. VOC is short for Vereenigde Oo-Indische Compagnie (aka the Dutch East India Company) & the cute candlelit cocktail bar takes its inspiration from the Far East for sensational sakés, stirs, barrel-aged infusions & punch. Beautifully presented in covetable stemware, summery bergamot grog is infused with galangal, fresh tobacco leaf & Earl Grey tea, while Walsingham’s interrogation (Tanqueray & mint lengthened with apple juice & ginger) uncovers a secret ingredient – chywanaprash (a sweet-&-sour Ayurvedic tonic oft-referred-to as ‘the elixir of life’). Otherwise, homemade raspberry shrub matured in vintage-style, wax-sealed bottles is a bushy-tailed zinger. The Italian head bartender’s passion is tangible & his attention to detail pays dividends.
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