Wine tasting and drag queens go together like milk and cookies. If done right, it fuses the colourful world of drag and cabaret with a journey of taste in wine. But did the very first Brighton drag queen wine tasting at the Redroaster Café leave us on cloud wine?
The event was carefully orchestrated to delight and inform the senses
The alternative wine tasting was hosted by the two stars of Amazon Prime's The Three Drinkers, Beth Brickenden and Vanity von Glow. Together they are a perfect pairing of infotainment: the bright and bubbly Irish sommelier Beth Brickenden providing the wine expertise and Vanity Von Glow, the internationally ignored superstar from Glasgow doing the entertaining.
With advanced qualifications in wine, Beth Brickenden has developed a fantastic new approach to wine tasting, creating immersive, playful and accessible events. She electrified the wine scene by bringing Vanity on board. Vanity Von Glow herself has spent over a decade as a cabaret tour-de-force and one of the West End’s most recognisable drag queens. A singer, pianist and comic, she also hosts regular live music events and Soho's The Drag Brunchette.
The Drag queen wine tasting was equally informative and fun. We got to sample three different new world wines, while learning a lot about their flavours and aromas. Did you know that acidity in wine makes you salivate? Beth gave us a great overview of different types of wine and taught us to taste wine like a pro. Now I know to place my pinkie up the bottom (the wine glass, of course).
Vanity Von Glow kicked the tasting off with a raunchy I just wanna make love to you, which went down well with the first glass of white – an excellent Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Next Vanity breezed into her ABBA routine, daring us to Take a chance on me. She was such a sweet Dancing queen, a great match for the refreshing Chilean rose. We wrapped things up with Total eclipse of the heart and a lovely light South African red.
The only thing that left a sour note on my palate was the setting. Even though it was fun to replace your five o’clock tea with wine tasting, a later time slot would have suited much better. Also performing drag at a doorway of a café must be a strange experience, as the Redroaster Café on St James’s Street isn’t exactly a very intimate surrounding. But as true professionals they are, Beth and Vanity didn’t let anything stand in a way of a good show. Beth was such a gracious host, welcoming everyone on entry and chatting away long after the tasting.
The wine tasting was quite expensive, even though Vanity Von Glow is cheap (her words), but everyone seemed happy with what they got for their money. It shows that Beth and Vanity have mastered the concept with their great chemistry and affectionate banter. The event was carefully orchestrated to delight and inform the senses. Every one left the place elevated – and tipsy – ready for another glass. Wine not?