It’s Friday, and if you’re like us, you’ve had a hectic week – you’ve faced the pressure of deadlines, had innumerate meetings, and are feeling the heat in the city this August. Come 5pm on a Friday, you’re ready to leapfrog out of the office, find your respective friends/colleagues, bag a table at a bar and order yourself a very large, cool beverage.
Cocktails, as far as we are concerned, are the go to drink for the summer. Who doesn’t want the ice packed, refreshing punch of a Mojito?! Or perhaps the chilled sophistication of an espresso martini? But in London, you’ve got your work cut out. It’s a lot more complicated than that. With an abundance of venues, let alone drinks, it’s difficult to know where to go. So, we did a little research of our own, (for the benefit of our esteemed readers, of course.)
Dukes Bar, St James’ Place
Dubbed by the New York Times as “The hotel bar which some say concocts one of the world’s best Martinis”, Dukes Bar’s signature cocktail, ‘89 St James’, arrived deconstructed sur trolley, recommended served in a iced martini glass swiftly pulled from the freezer. The cocktail, was invented by Dukes in tandem with Floris perfumery. A generous squirt of rose liqueur sprayed from an Edwardian style cut glass atomiser perfume bottle completed the almost over brimming flared glass’s contents of South American tonka beans, Sacred Dukes Exclusive Amber Vermouth, Stolichnaya Elite, Mozart chocolate bitters. Stirred not shaken.
The Donovan Bar, Browns Hotel, Albermarle Street
The establishment is currently under renovation but, do not be perturbed, as the Donovan Bar are still serving their famously good cocktail list. Our inquisitiveness was rewarded and, having perused the menu, the world’s first distilled non alcoholic spirit, Seedlip, drew our attention, with a twist of red grapefruit. The slightly perfumed blend demanded slow sipping, and with a shot of tonic water on ice, made for the perfect long drink.
The Donovan Bar
The Rivoli Bar, The Ritz
The glamorous Art Deco Rivoli Bar at The Ritz
claims to have the ‘Best Cocktail Menu in Mayfair’. Designed by Tessa Kennedy (designer for Royals, major corporations and the generally rich and famous), they certainly have a jaw dropping interior. Naturally, the fact that they had a cocktail trolley
filled with exclusive vintage spirits did not escape our notice. Reserved for their vintage Ritz cocktails, the Macallan ice drum ensured ice
cubes sized to perfection (not that the ice rocks produced behind the bar were bad.) Perhaps more aptly described as icebergs, the single Rizoli branded rock fitted snuggly in the cut glass tumbler. A unique saffron infused liquor, served from its own mini shaker, filled the void and was expertly served by the head bartender Tiago Mira.
The Rivoli Bar, The Ritz
The ‘art of drinking’ never ceases to amaze: the liquors and their various accompaniments, the atmosphere, the seats, the staff, the glasses, the ice – all contribute to the theatre of its consumption. They can really make or break your experience. With so many options in London this summer 2017, it can seem overwhelming to decipher where to go and what to drink. However, don’t let this get the better of you. We think that Alessandro Palazzi, the Head Barman at Dukes, hit the nail on the head when he told us:
“there are already too many rules to remember in life…If you love it [your cocktail ] a certain way, that’s what makes it the most memorable and perfect drink of all”.
Alexandra Kate and Nicholas Wells