Police raid Nightjar over illegal whale skin cocktailBy Becky Paskin
London bar Nightjar has been raided by police after selling a drink containing illegal whale skin.
The bar, which has consistently been named one of London’s best, was visited by officers from the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Unit on 3 December who seized a bottle of Scotch whisky containing a strip of dried whale skin.
The bar claims the 5cm strip of skin was purchased by an employee while on a trip to Japan in autumn 2011, and placed in a bottle that was topped up with whisky over the course of the year.
The whisky had been used to flavour a Nightjar cocktail named Moby Dick.
However, under EU legislation it is illegal to hunt or trade cetaceans such as whales or dolphins.
“Until the Police visit, neither ourselves nor our employees were aware of the COTES legislation under which the bottle was seized,” said Edmund Weil, director of Nightjar.
“In hindsight we realise that regardless of the legal framework around such products, it was an error of judgement on our part to include this on our menu, and we would like to offer our wholehearted apologies to anyone who may have been offended by it.”
The Moby Dick cocktail has since been removed from Nightjar’s menu, while the bar owners are preparing to train staff in the responsible sourcing of ingredients, as well as COTES legislation.
Nightjar has also donated all proceeds from the sale of the cocktail to a whale conservation charity.