Mixing it up at B.Y.O.C!
41 Meeting House Lane
I was let in on a little known secret last night in the form of the only cocktail bar in Brighton that doesn’t sell alcohol. There’s not so much as a whiff of a liquor license here, but they’re going to get you drunk anyway.
The clue is in the title with this one. At Bring Your Own Cocktail, you bring your own alcohol, pay a £20 fee, and watch as a mixologist mastermind transforms your lowly spirits into some of the most exquisite cocktails you’ve ever tasted.
On first inspection, it looked suspiciously like we were paying £20 for the privilege of handing over the contents of our drinks cupboard with some orange juice and cocktail umbrellas thrown in. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This experience is worth every penny.
The bar is certainly elusive, tucked away under the benign looking ‘Juice People’ bar in the heart of the South Lanes. It’s a speak-easy haven that takes you into an old fashioned drinking Nirvana. A hushed up, candle lit, vintage fantasy twinkling with glassware, vintage décor and crooning jazz.
Joseph was our host and mixologist extrordinaire. We offered up our bottles of Gin, Rum Vodka and to my shame, Malibu, and watched as they were transformed in front of us. Most of the fresh syrups and bitters, pressed fruit and vegetable juices, spices and herbs are made upstairs at the juice bar, and all the ingredients are fresh, authentic and original.
We started off with a fiery ginger concoction or a “Thai-Tini” which blasted away the cobwebs and sat in a gorgeous golden tea set for us to sip on throughout the night. The drinks kept coming as we sampled spicy beetroot and chocolate based shots, long island ice teas with a twist, and an obligatory Pina-Colada to deal with the Malibu embarrassment. Armed with carrot juice, Joseph somehow managed to make the usually sickly tipple taste fresh and subtle. My favourite was a truly delicious yellow pepper and raspberry drink. It was heavy drinking disguised as a detox.
Aside from the drinks, the best thing about B.Y.O.C is the passion and care that goes into delivering an intimate and personal experience. It’s miles away from your next hurried cocktail bar, the drinks are tailored to the individual and you receive an education as well as a hangover.
Once you’ve paid the set price you’re free to let your taste-buds run riot. For Joseph, this is the best thing about B.Y.O.C: “No matter how much money you have in your pocket you have the same amazing experience. There’s nothing on the menu you can’t afford.”
B.Y.O.C is a veritable playground of flavours and colours that will provide you with a bespoke drink or 5 and a really special experience.
For more information and to book visit byoc.co.uk