Since I’m a New Mexico native, I had the bar set pretty high for anything Albuquerque related. Especially when this Albuquerque related thing is being done in London. I even felt the need to pull out my New Mexico license to show off like the truly special snowflake that I am. And explain things like a drink being called the “505” is because 505 is New Mexico’s phone code.
In all honesty, I have really mixed feelings about “Breaking Bad”. It provided a huge influx of money into the local economy (it was all filmed in Albuquerque), but now instead of beautiful scenery, incredible food and the International Balloon Fiesta, people associate Albuquerque with meth. If I had a dollar for every person who asked me if, since I’m from Albuquerque, I knew someone who did meth, then I’d be able to buy an awful lot of meth.
The ABQ London popup is literally in an RV stationed in a Shoreditch lot. You pay your booking fee, bring your own booze in and the kind folks there supply all the fancy mixers (like dry ice, nitrogen capsules, taste bud altering pills, etc). They are all dressed in hazmat suits, with masks, goggles and gloves on every table. It’s as much a science class as a night out. My one very slight criticism is that I wish they had gone further with being in character. There was the occasional “yo” or “b***h” but I’m always up for being more in the spirit of things. (It’s my inner actor).
The first drink we had was the 505. This Albuquerque namesake consisted of vodka, maple, rose H20, lychee and dry ice. This one was probably the most fun to assemble. Our table became a mass of beakers and test tubes, of rubber hoses and of course, martini glasses. Our second drink was the “Fly”; a dangerous mixture of rum, vodka, xanthan gum, sodium alginate, calcium lactate, lime and coke. It was deadly. It was definitely one of the strongest cocktails that I have ever had, and the cola caviar was surreal. The last drink we had was the “Tripping”: a mixture of vodka, carbonated citric, and grapefruit. You took a sip to get a taste, then you let an anonymous pill dissolve on your tongue and then tried your drink again – little did you realise but the pill had altered your taste buds and your drink was suddenly sweet. It was amazing, a really great trick.
ABQ London is soon to go on the road to Paris. So any resident Breaking Bad fans in the City of Lights should book in now. And hopefully, when the RV gets back from Paris, they will set up in a permanent home somewhere in London. With the current waiting list to get into the RV and start “cooking” being at around 45,000 people, ABQ London definitely deserves a permanent home. I just hope that it doesn’t lose it’s rough edges when it does.
ABQ London is currently based at Cleve Workshops, Boundary St, London E2. Open Thursday – Saturday (reservations required)