Food & Drink

The best kind of diplomacy

Reliving the halcyon days of empire is easy -- simply go to a stranger's house and tell them you live there now, and that they'll be running errands for you and whatnot, and also that they have historically hated their other neighbor, even if they didn't realize it. Or, you can start drinking, at Powder Keg Diplomacy, launching tomorrow.

From a group of ex-Lost Society bods, this Clapham drinker/diner celebrates everything about the empire's apogee, filling itself with ornate Victoriana, portraits of the young queen, gramophones, leather-bound seating, a huge conservatory, and a map of the colonies from back when the sun never set on them, hegemony we're obviously being punished for by its never rising on us.

Resurrected recipes use homemade liqueurs, cordials, bitters, shrubs, and even ginger beer wherever possible to revive realm-building boozes like Chatham Artillery Punch (mead, cherry-infused rye, gunpowder green tea, Chapel Down sparkling), and the Empire Cocktail: gin, the house's apricot brandy, and a cider brandy matured 10yrs in barrels retrieved from a shipwreck off the Somerset coast, protected from the salty brine by a "shipment of bibles written in Zulu" (Rorke's draft?).

A strictly Brit-sourced menu will serve up edibles like game terrine w/ drunken cherries & peppercorn oil, a pot-roasted gypsy pheasant, and a venison fillet w/ parsnip champ & Dorothy Goodbody stout, though if you consider a stout body "good", you're clearly a little dotty.

Despite the genteel trappings, the merriment also comes casual-style, with pints of British crafts and a pub glass of prawns, along with other snackage like drop scones with maple & bacon, and a classic full English, something so many unfortunate nations never got to be.