There are many reasons to visit First Aid Box, but £6 cocktails for London Cocktail Week make the trip even more worth it.
We often find ourselves visiting multiple bars in one evening, but never has bar hopping been so convenient as at First Aid Box down in London’s Dulwich neighbourhood. A light and airy room filled with medicinal gear such as jars, stethoscopes, pill boxes and tools gives way to a dark and cosy back room that pays homage to Peaky Blinders in the form of a prohibition-style bar. It’s a bit like Jekyll and Hyde, feeding two personalities all at once.
We sat along the bar in First Aid Box speaking to Sammy Khan as he prepared just a sampling of what’s to come during London Cocktail Week. (It’s on now October 1st – 7th so be sure to take part if you’re interested in £6 cocktails). Our first prescriptgin was Dropped from the Tree, a blend of Brockmans, Calvados, chestnut liqueur, cider reduction, fresh lime, and salted peach bitters. Giving off a beautiful deep pink hue, Sammy placed the drink atop a tree stump coaster, garnishing it with a few autumnal leaves. Tart and salty, it was just the perfect tonic to start our talk.
Originally from Bangladesh, Sammy came over to London just about 10 years ago after studying accounting in his home country. He landed a job collecting glasses at a Drake & Moran bar in Canary Wharf, before working his way up to barback after trolling the internet and classic cocktail books to learn about the basics. A quick learner, he became the top seller on his very first shift behind the bar as a bartender, and his career in drinks accelerated from there.
He followed Chris Edwards to The Shrub & Shutter, Chris’ very own place and ran the bar there before moving to First Aid Box when they opened the bar. They kept the concept simple: make everything fresh, and if possible, find the medicinal qualities in plants and fruit to use in the various cocktails. In fact, they aren’t able to serve certain classics because they just don’t have the mixers stocked, that is unless they make their own version.
Every two months or so, the team gets together to create a new cocktail menu. But some of their signature cocktails remain, like their Brockwell Park Bramble complete with a syringe of Chambord. Pair that with their street food-inspired menu or head in for weekend bottomless brunch, and you can easily spend your entire week in this cosy neighbourhood bar.
As we begin to wrap up our conversation as the bar starts to fill, Sammy prepares us a second cocktail. This time it’s a twist on the clover club, with a finish of honey and floral notes. We may just have enjoyed this one even more than the last, so ask for it when you go in…
1. Describe First Aid Box in a few words.
Cosy, great service, it’s a place for everyone.
2. What is the best thing you have overheard at First Aid Box?
Can I get a cappuccino without chocolate on top?
3. Why is gin so popular?
Gin has lots of character and you never get bored of it. Loads of botanicals make for a variety of cocktails to be made.
4. What about Brockmans appeals to you?
It’s different, super smooth. I like the floral notes at the back.
5. If you could have one last drink before you died, what would it be?
My drink on the menu called Rhubarb & Custard.
Dropped From The Tree
By Sammy Khan
- Brockmans Gin
- Chestnut liqueur
- Cider reduction
- Fresh lime
- Salted peach bitters
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a glass.