Our first Survivor Salon, held at L’Escargot, brought together a lively bunch to learn more about alcohol, how it impacts the body, and of course Survivor – accompanied by a specially curated tasting menu designed by wine columnist Douglas Blyde.
Laurence Cardwell, Survivor founder and Douglas Blyde, wine columnist
London’s oldest and most celebrated French restaurant and members club was the scene for our first Survivor Salon on June 20th, bringing together 20 trade journalists, influencers, and colourful characters in the wine, drinks, and hospitality industry – such as Millie Milican at Imbibe, Simon Stockton, Piper Heidsieck Ambassador, Butty Conville, Head of Marketing at Annabel’s Club, to Jan Konetzki, Wine Director and Chateau Latour Ambassador at Trinity Square Hotel.
Perhaps they expected the standard, staid conference-style press event, with handouts and a powerpoint presentation. Rather, they were confronted by founder Laurence besides celebrated drinks writer Douglas Blyde: co-hosts to a carefully curated journey – lovingly, cleverly, and at times devilishly crafted by Douglas: Six Drinks, Six Canapés, and Some Survivor.
A fitting introduction centring on the historical venue – which hosted Coco Chanel, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Judy Dench, and the late Princess Diana – alongside snails, and the finer drinks in life – was delivered by none other than Brian Clivaz himself – owner of L’Escargot, head of The Arts Club, and a slew of top restaurants across London.
Brian Clivaz, owner L’Escargot
Some of the more theatrical drink and food highlights included: a measure of Oban single malt whisky (43% ABV), poured over a Scottish oyster in its shell, and later a flaming pot of garlic-soaked snails flambéed using pastis, served with a glass of pastis Ricard (40% ABV).
Butty McConville, Simon Stockton, Millie Milican, Tanya O’Donnell
This was when Survivor was presented: handed our newest packs amidst many ‘Oooohs’ and ‘Aaaaahs’, our guests were instructed to take two capsules in accordance with the dosage instructions on the pack.
Following a spicy ‘Survivor Bloody Mary’ topped with a strong Mezcal and freshly-chopped chilis came the grand finale. Instead of presenting our guests with the standard espresso and digestif, out came the Stroh Bomb – like a Jäger Bomb, but using 80% ABV Austrian rum Stroh (whose motto is appropriately ‘The Spirit of Austria’) mixed with Red Bull – inspired by Laurence’s half-Austrian roots.
After this final Bomb, some guests lurched out – while a large bunch stayed at the bar – despite our attempts to send them home to test Survivor in isolation…
What did our guests say?
Mark Ludmon, Bar Magazine: “I slept well. No funny dreams. No queasiness. No side effects… Writing this at lunchtime after coffee, I have not yet been overwhelmed with the urge to curl up into a quivering ball under my desk. So, on this first test, Survivor appears to have worked for me.”
Jon Massey, The Wharf Life: “The million dollar answer is better than expected…it has taken the edge off hangover that might otherwise have been life-endangering. I thought the event was excellent, out of the ordinary beverages and presentation.”
Viola Levy: “…mixing drinks is usually a recipe for disaster, I don’t feel as hideous as I might have expected to – no headache, severe lethargy or nausea – and I think that’s definitely related to the tablets. Have also been super productive at work this morning- if anything it might have given me more energy!”