12 - 22 OCTOBER 2023


Cocktails paired and inspired by luxury poppers are launching at Sweeties Bar at the Standard, London as part of London Cocktail Week.

Bompas & Parr will be creating the world’s first super premium poppers, paired with a curated drinks offering as part of London Cocktail Week at the bar-meets-late night party spot, Sweeties, at The Standard, London. With pleasure at the forefront of the ‘Excalibur XO’ activation, these artisanal poppers will be launched in an unbridled celebration of queer innovation, public joyfulness, sex positivity and exceptional design, with strict regulatory policies in place to ensure the safety of all participants. 

Bompas & Parr’s Excalibur XO concept, curated in collaboration with Adam Zmith, Author of Deep Sniff, will present a variety of opportunities for programming across London Cocktail Week including:

  • Queer micro-exhibition – celebrating poppers at the convergence of pleasure, erotica, art and history
  • Poppers Sommelier at Sweeties – presenting artisanal products with inspired paired cocktails
  • Aromatic panel discussion – exploring the history of poppers and its place within queer culture, complete with an optional sniff-along addition

Contextualising Excalibur XO 

The brand and product name –  Excalibur – references the title of the booklet 'Raging Sword’ by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs published in 1868, an account of his speech to the Congress of German Jurists considered by many to be the first ever gay rights protest speech.
Poppers are strange yet iconic products. In the UK they are used by many, with one in twelve having tried them (Home Office, 2016), yet entirely unfamiliar to the masses. They are one of the few products that are legal to sell entirely mislabelled – as ‘leather cleaner’ and ‘room odouriser’ – a far cry from their widespread and tacitly acknowledged use as a gateway to pleasure.

Bompas & Parr’s product and exhibition sits at the occlusion of a number of important social and experiential drivers:
  • Pleasure Principle - Post Covid-19 pandemic, people are seeking ultra-sensory decadence. With focuses shifting from productivity to enjoyment, let the pleasure revolution begin.
  • Queering of Culture - 800% increase in use of the term ‘queer’ between 1985 and 2019. The work heroes the innovative aspects of queer culture.
  • New Sex Positivity - The early 2022s have been hailed as a golden era of sex positivity with people accessing the linguistic, spatial and societal tools to explore sexuality without taboo and shame. Long may this continue. The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes report that ‘anal sex rose from approximately one in 10 in 1990–1991 to approximately one in four men and one in five women in 2010–2012.’

Sitting at the convergence of multi-sensorial experience design, artisanal product creation, and drink innovation, the Excalibur XO concept aims to create an inclusive and educational space whilst inspiring and leading the way in creativity within the sphere of F&B innovation. Through multi-disciplinary collaborations with the likes of Adam Zmith, Author of Deep Sniff, and Tom of Finland, one of the twentieth centuries most prolific artists of gay erotica, the Excalibur XO series will honour and celebrate the very core of queer culture through informative design and representation.

An energetic pairing

The inspired cocktail serve at The Standard, London paired with an optional aromatic of Excalibur XO, will be a tongue-in-cheek exploration of how the drinks industry has evolved; a parody delving into the shift from alco-pops injected with sugar and food colourants, to sustainably crafted artisanal spirits, all in the space of a decade. Crafted from a mélange of medieval botanicals and inspired by the fast tempo, HiNRG genre of music that characterised the heyday of poppers, the Excalibur XO cocktails will invigorate and tantalise. 
By experiencing a cocktail adjacent nightlife accessory, Poppers, the never-before-seen serve at London Cocktail Week will tell the narrative of queer culture through a selection of experts, partners and collaborators operating in the field of LGBTQIA+ studies.

Supercharged launch party
The Excalibur XO launch party at Sweeties will be the first preview event for London Cocktail Week, flying the flag for ingenuity and creativity within the drinks industry, with HiNRG sounds to match. Set to be the energetic highlight of the week, curated drinks pairings designed by Bompas & Parr and The Standard’s in-house mixology team will be heroed, all with a view to encouraging insight, understanding, personal exploration and, of course, pleasure. 
Sweeties at The Standard, London, has hosted a plethora of queer focussed programming, from parties with Adonis, FabooTV, Jeanie Crystal and the Rimmers (part of the Buttmitzvah family) to hosting the likes of David Hoyle, Drag Syndrome, and BBZ.

Co-Founders & Organisers of London Cocktail Week, Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, note “We’ve been long-time fans of Bompas & Parr who never cease to amaze us with their creative ability to break the mould and make a bold statement with every project they release. So we couldn’t be happier that their latest launch will be happening as part of London Cocktail Week, especially one with such an important narrative behind it. We can’t wait to experience what they’ve created.”

Nick Hadfield, The Standard, London’s Director of Music and Culture, said "In collaboration with Laurie Belgrave (founder of South London nightclub The Chateau), we've hosted a series of events focused on the history and narratives of London's LGBTQ+ community over the past few years at The Standard, London, culminating in our soon-to-launch club night ‘Climax'. We’re excited to be bringing it all together with Bompas and Parr for an intoxicating multi-sensory experience soundtracked by members of our queer community."