The outbreak of over-the-top signature cocktails that look like theme parks has caused an allergic reaction in many serious appreciaters of the art of mixology. The backlash has brought us breakout stars like Fabio Sinisi and David Tan Bach, scholars who swim against the current, bringing back truly classic cocktails and honouring the roots of their craft. In early 2018 they opened the Tuxedo Social Club, a Victorian club in the Born, hidden behind the façade of a bookshop – a secret spot, with no signage, where you can get in only if you have signed up for membership on their website (or at the entrance in person).
The Tuxedo has no time for Instagrammers, but does seem to love strict rules for behaviour: you're not allowed to take photos inside, you're not allowed to talk on the phone, and you're not allowed to be an asshole. It's all part of a ritual to invoke original cocktails that go back to the late 19th century. The idea is to bring back true classics, whether you've heard of them or they're obscure, and to discover the essence of all that goes along with that. The house speciality is the Tuxedo de 1882, an example of the high art practised in this temple of cocktails. Made with Old Tom gin, vermouth, orange bitters, maraschino, absinthe and candied cherries, it's dry, short, meticulously prepared and served in antique glassware. Tuxedo Social Club is a place to drink and learn to drink. It's much more than a club or cocktail bar: it's a dream.