Shortly after I joined Metail in late summer 2011 there was a typical English bit of weather; namely an apocalyptic downfall of rain just as I was leaving work on a Wednesday. I was immediately transported back to a Kenyan balcony on which I had spent many happy hours as a proper colonial – sipping a G&T and watching the sun go down. The temperature was right, the sun was low in the sky, the tree was in full bloom (well it had leaves on it at any rate) and a tropical storm was in the air. Thinking that it was only fair to share this experience with those who had not been fortunate enough to have exposure to the original I packed my bag on Friday with a selection of gins, tonic and appropriate accoutrements.

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Unpacking the essentials after moving office

This went down well with colleagues and every Friday since we have endeavoured to gather and raise a glass to the end of the week. It has provided a great opportunity to relax and to meet other team mates and their partners and children. It also allowed teams to bond and cross-team conversations to happen. We also got the chance to hear the result of Nick’s nimble fingers (this harks back to the halcyon days when there was room to swing a cat and strum a guitar upstairs in 16), and share in the occasional sing song.

As the team has expanded I have not been able to support the whole cost so have asked for contributions of £10 a month towards the cost and welcome any suggestions or requests for particular drinks. As well as widening the group who make the drinks each week. We have progressed from simple gins and tonics to brambles, why nots, and even non gin-based drinks – manhattans, daiquiris, sidecars and orange brulées spring immediately to mind. Most of our shopping is done at Cambridge Wine Merchants who are always happy to help us out with ideas or substitutions for ingredients.

Oh and finally like any good dealer – your first few hits are free.


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Ace of Clubs Daiquiris made by Ian Taylor and photographed by Andrew Dunn

For anyone thinking of setting up something similar, the following price structure was designed to be as inclusive as possible and has been in place as the office head count has more than quadrupled. It has kept the club in the black and allowed it to provide something alcoholic and non-alcoholic for everyone at Christmas. Membership of the club is purely optional.

Members: £10 a month (first month free)

Interns: drink free

Partners: drink free

Guests: drink free

Non-Members from the office: drink free