First, a bit of background… Kay Cooper owned highly-successful hair and holistic well-being centres in London’s Covent garden and Bloomsbury in the 90s but later changed course to follow her greatest passion, interior design, attending Somerset Arts and Technology College. Commissioned to mastermind a barn conversion for friends in the Algarve, she travelled to and from for 18 months, by which point she didn’t want to be anywhere else. She moved, considered taking on various new design projects, but instead opened a bar and restaurant and ran that for six years.
Blake Perrow started in the restaurant and bar industry over 35 years ago in TGI Fridays, Covent Garden where he learned his trade. He travelled the world, and on returning, landed a bar job at La Perla, next door to Kay’s salon. For 20 years he remained there as General Manager discovering his passion for Tequila, Mezcal and all things Mexican under the tuition of owner Tomas Estes, who holds the official title of Ambassador of Tequila to the European Union. Blake and Kay were neighbours in business and best cocktail-tasting buddies for 22 years. When he visited Kay on the Algarve, he stayed, and their partnership in life and in business began…
The twosome have pooled their considerable expertise and created The Margarita Machine cocktail service, which specialises in Tequila- and Mezcal-based cocktails and a trailer service for weddings and special events. A vintage horsebox, called Frida (after Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist), was converted into a professional bar, stunningly designed and with bespoke bar equipment; it has fast become an in-demand feature at get-togethers and now restrictions have lifted, the diary is filling upfast.
Kay and Blake offer pop up modular bars – along with bar stools, tables and umbrellas for those who want to supply their own drinks and manage their bar – but it is Frida the horsebox bar that, unsurprisingly, clients have top of the list. And of course there is Blake’s magical touch with the Margaritas that gives an event a stylish and funky twist. It’s a treat to have a cocktail made in front of you, just for you, created by a real professional, from a professional bar.
Clients gets to choose six delicious cocktails, from an extensive list. Top-quality spirits – only 100% Blue Agave Tequilas which are in limited supply – are used, unfused with flavours like chili, cinnamon and hibiscus. The preparation for an event can take up to two days, depending on size, and during that time the juice of hundreds of freshly-squeezed limes is bottled in readiness and locally-sourced organic fresh fruits are dehydrated for garnishes. The offering is cool and contemporary and the perfect focus point for a party.
It comes at a price of course, but that’s the part that is especially appealing. To hire Frida and the cocktail service, the start cost is €1,000. For that you get the delivery, bar hire, event bar set up, glasses, ice, garnishes, bar utensils and, of course, the all-important bit, up to 80 cocktails. Without Frida prices start at around €800. Now think about this – the part that really appeals: When you last had a G&T, at a favourite restaurant or beach-side bar, what was the bill? A Blake special, with all the service trimmings, works out to just €12.50. Enjoy!
Words: Susi Rogol Goodkind