- A “Magical Cocktail Experience” is coming to London in March 2018.
- Guests will create their own drinkable potions using a wand.
- The people behind it also plan to open a Harry Potter-inspired pub.
The team who are planning to launch London’s first ‘magical’ Harry Potter-inspired pub — The Cauldron — have another more imminent surprise in store for fantasy fans.
Cauldron co-founders Matthew Cortland and David Duckworth are launching a “Magical Cocktail Experience” in central London in March.
The potions class will see guests brew “magical potions” using interactive “magic wands” and molecular mixology.
The classes will take place at a basement gallery in Dalston with vaulted brick arches, which the company is “custom fitting with embedded tech for an immersion experience.”
Upon arrival, guests will “descend the stairs to receive a robe and magic wand, which they use to pour their own pint of The Cauldron’s bespoke beer,” according to the company. The beer is being made in collaboration with London’s Fourpure Brewing Co.
Cortland told Business Insider that the wands use the same technology as car key fobs to move things without touching them, and can be activated by movement and by voice.
He said they will be used for “opening drawers, pouring drinks, turning on the light — which is how I imagine that a wand would be used if magic were real.”
The guests will be taken to their own interactive workstation, equipped with a cauldron and instructions book.
They will then collect “fresh and bottled potion-making ingredients and materials” from the brick-vaulted storerooms.
“Students chop, grind, and prepare ingredients and follow instructions to brew two drinkable potions,” according to Cortland.
The “magic” will include cocktails that bubble, smoke, or change colour.
Tickets for the “Magical Cocktail Experience” — which will last an hour and forty-five minutes — are already on sale for £29.99, and the classes will run for “several months.”
“The experience we are putting together is fully immersive and combines a lot of scientific principles into one class — DIY hardware, software, magnetism, chemistry,” Cortland said.
Despite being inspired by fantasy and science-fiction stories like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, The Cauldron stresses that it is “not endorsed by, affiliated with or associated with Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling or otherwise connected with Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, or any other specific book or movie.”
Instead, the company claims to “take ideas from across literary and world history and brings them to life with science and technology.”
A permanent pub could still be in the works
The project began as a Kickstarter on June 26 — the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter — in an effort to fundraise for the “Cauldron Wizarding Pub & Inn,” a project from self-proclaimed geek and former reading teacher turned designer and technology entrepreneur Cortland.
The idea was to create a pub using technology and the Internet of Things — a combination he calls “The Magic of Things” — to bring the magic of the wizarding universe to life inside a “small and shabby looking pub” inspired by the works of J.K Rowling, J.R.R Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis.
Cortland hoped the pub’s “magic” would include the likes of wands using touch and voice control technology to control the lights or the fire, a bar using touch sensitive and auto-refill technology, candles that float in mid-air using magnetism, as well as moving photos on the walls. And, of course, food and drink inspired by the most loved magical stories.
If enough money was raised, the company said it would also build an inn which will use “magic wands” instead of room keys.
Cortland told Business Insider that while the campaign did not reach its hefty goal of $US500,000 (£389,200), which was based on the cost of a venue in central London, it did raise nearly $US40,000 (£30,292) from 266 backers, providing “validation that our idea was a good one, and that there is an appetite for it in London.
“At one point we had 35 pub elves (volunteers) doing grassroots promoting; you don’t get that kind of enthusiasm if people don’t believe in what you are building, and that gave me the fortitude to take a risk,” Cortland told BI.
However, as the Kickstarter didn’t reach its goal, Cortland had no real source of funding to put towards his project.
“I had to decide how to move forward — to abandon the idea or to make it viable in some way,” he said. “Around that same time I was made redundant at the tech startup where I was working for three years, and then really had to choose: make this happen or move on.
“I took what money I had left, packed up my stuff, moved to London from Dublin, and re-branded The Cauldron as a pop-up experience.”
He met his co-founder, David Duckworth, at London Cocktail Week.
“Dave is a molecular mixologist and cocktail designer and has been involved in setting up and running some of London’s most renowned cocktail experiences such as ABQ and The Bletchley,” Cortland said. “He’s a really creative guy who loves designing amazing experiences around cocktails, and so it’s a natural fit.
“I also recently found out that he owns two black cats named Mischief and Magic, so I feel like this is fate.”
Cortland said that a permanent pub is “definitely on the horizon,” with plans of another investment round for the project in 2018, but the pop-up model allows The Cauldron to “operate more flexibly and with lower overhead” in the meantime.
“If you like the idea, please buy a ticket to our classes or contribute to our GoFundMe, which will support the project,” Cortland said, adding that those who buy a ticket before December 15 can also have their ticket gift wrapped, including an invitation letter sealed with wax, printed tickets, a corked vial, and a bookmark.
Brewing beer crafted by wands
If you buy a ticket for the Potions class before December 1, you’ll also have the chance to win one of 15 spots in The Cauldron & Fourpure’s focus group, which will take place at Fourpure’s brewery in Bermondsey in an effort to “guide the direction of the collaboration beer served in The Cauldron’s immersion experience.”
“The focus group will explore including the ingredients traditionally used in magical history and witchcraft in the brewing process,” Cortland said.
“The guys at Fourpure really understand what we are doing, and we are working together to craft a beer that uses ingredients traditionally found in magic and witchcraft — berries, herbs, and woods like pine, ash, and oak.
“We think it would be really interesting to craft beers inspired by a wizard’s main instrument: the magic wand, and, without giving too much away, every wand is made differently using unique magical elements.”
Guests who visit The Cauldron’s classes are encouraged to bring a copy of their favourite childhood book, which will be donated to a reading classroom in need.
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