Demon drink: designers create cocktails for Brompton Design District’s 10th anniversary

Two cocktails side by side
Inspired by the dark history of the original ’Brompton Cocktail’, curator Jane Withers used this as the focus for the Brompton Design District’s 10th anniversary. Pictured left: Max Lamb’s ’White River’ is inspired by Cornwall and the area’s foragers. Right: Arabeschi di Latte’s ’Pretty Hanky Panky’ pays tribute to Ada Coleman, the first (and to this day, only) bartender at London’s Savoy Hotel
(Image credit: TBC)

The 'Brompton Cocktail' has a dark and somewhat disturbing history: a London legend, the concoction was administered as palliative care to the local hospital since the 1920s, and included a mix of morphine and cocaine that acted as a painkiller. 

The blend inspired curator Jane Withers, who used it as a focus for the Brompton Design District’s latest project. The 'Brompton Cocktail', explains Withers, is about transformation, which is also the theme for the district’s 10th anniversary: ‘From diverse ingredients into a potent formula, from base materials into thoughtful ideas and objects, from one state of mind to another, from one world to the next.’ The project celebrates the area’s transformation, and its diverse creative offering, ranging from independent design destinations to the large furniture showrooms existing in close connection. 

Withers invited a group of London designers to create modern-day interpretations of the lethal cocktail (which was administered until the 1970s, and served as inspiration for the Italian Futurists, and more), and the resulting menu, she notes, reflects the diversity of the district’s collaborators. The fantastic range on offer is an inspiring look at creative mixology: from Tomàs Alonso’s ‘Rusty Nail Sbagliato’, to Max Lamb’s Cornwall-inspired 'White River', Martino Gamper's 'Gingerini', a conceptual beer experiment by Peter Marigold, and de Allegri and Fogale’s 'Flora Gin', among others.

Presented through an installation by inventive gastronomic studio Arabeschi di Latte (who themselves contributed a cocktail, the 'Pretty Hanky Panky'), and served in specially developed glassware by Bitossi, the project is accompanied by a recipe book, should anyone wish to recreate the creative cocktails at home. 

A row of cocktail glasses

The cocktails were served in glassware specially developed by Bitossi...

(Image credit: TBC)

Orange table with set up for a party

... and presented through an installation by inventive gastronomic studio Arabeschi di Latte 

(Image credit: TBC)

cocktail with a large ginger on it's side and a menu

Pictured left: Martino Gamper’s cocktail, the ’Gingerini’, is a sophisticated blend of champagne, fresh ginger root and strawberries over ice. Right: all cocktails are documented in a recipe book, detailing inspirations as well as ingredients, and shaking instructions for each creation

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information, visit Brompton Design District's website

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.