Blow the Budget, September 2021: Alcatraz (Brighton)

Once a month a member of The Cabinet is given a budget to blow on something drink related, and then to report back.

27th September 2021

Picture this, a 1970’s American ‘prison’ with small barred cells (equipped with obligatory scratchy blanket), crooked guards (who keep up the charade that you are in fact, a highly dangerous criminal) and a fully functioning canteen (where the chicken soup is in fact, delectably strong cocktails.)

From start to finish the experience was fully immersive. We were promptly given orange jumpsuits to change in to, as well as a bible which suitably hid our sinful bottle of vodka; which we were expected to shuffle inconspicuously past the warden. Our bottle was quickly dispatched to the canteen where we were asked what types of cocktails we would like…. like the hardcore criminals we were, we chose ‘strong’. And strong they were - our 35 cl vodka bottle was depleted after 8 cocktails.

Upon arrival, initially we thought we'd be left to our own devices in essentially a prison-themed bar. But we were very much mistaken and and were pleasantly surprised to be fully integrated into the experience of prison life… our mug shots were taken, we filled in our prison record cards (my crime was stealing a donkey - guilty as charged!) and I wrote a cheeky letter to the warden.

Because this is prison, there was no cocktail menu. I can only describe the cocktails as passion fruity, gingery/Christmassy, strawberryish and coconutty. Don’t be fooled by my amateurish descriptions, they were pretty darn good and packed a punch.

Later on in the proceedings, suitably tipsy, I was singled out by the warden as having a positive urine sample and was escorted to the ‘shoe’… a dank, low ceilinged cave-like room, where we were rewarded with a surprisingly delicious shot from the bent guard’s clandestine hip flask.

The cocktails were frequent, the story was amusingly convincing, the decor was credible and the jumpsuits were fetching. A big thumbs up from us for a unique Saturday night.