Not a drop of black cardamom syrup could be found at The Trading House on our arrival – and guess who was to blame?
Perhaps the quirky menagerie adorning the downstairs drinking space? The beady eyes of tigers, zebras and birds cast their gaze over the City’s drinking scene.
No, the culprit was none other than the Queen.
Though a rowdy royal night – during which Elizabeth had drunk the bar dry – wasn’t the reason.
Fresh batches of the syrup – a staple within a handful of the bar’s spice-based cocktails – were being whipped up for impending celebrations marking her lengthy reign.
So the taste bud tantalising Cardamom Smash was off the menu.
The manager said staff might have been able to eke out a couple. By then it was a little too late.
Instead, I plumped for a Clove Cooler (£7.95). Combining pineapple juicy and white wine, it was an attractive zesty yellow tipple in a tall glass.
Though the colour was deceiving, the taste was inoffensive, not as sweet as expected although the rum and clove made no impact.
Surely Queen Liz hadn’t raided the clove cupboard, too?
My friend had a similar headache courtesy of Number One.
The pairing of Paulaner Hefe Weisse beer with a separate tumbler of passion fruit and white rum mint, lime juice and that pesky clove syrup proved confusing.
We thought the pair had been teamed up to be mixed but we were told they should be downed separately.
But this took away from what at first appeared a novelty.
After taking a few sips of Lavender Sazerac (£7.95) and Port of Havana (£7.75), both of which lacked any alcoholic impact, we gave up and reverted to beer and cider.
Things improved courtesy of the summer tipples and mound of humus and crudities that arrived at the table, as well as a platter of olives, cheese, coleslaw and ham.
The Trading House is worth a visit for its exotic decor and grub – but maybe plump for a trusty red instead.