Now, I love a cultured moment. My favourite thing in the world is walking around big cities and taking in the architecture, the art, the vibe, the movements. And typically when we spend time in our capital city, we’d visit a museum or two. But this weekend, our mission was clear: we needed a drink.
Our ascent to boozy greatness kicked off on the train; we treated ourselves to first class so naturally I was out for all of the free beverages I could get. Luckily that included a train lager so things were off to a good start.
When we arrived on Friday afternoon, it was a swift hotel check-in, then naturally I headed straight to Selfridges and was immediately offered a few rum tasters. I could (and do) spend hours and hours pouring over the alcohol shelves in fancy shops. On my way around town I also spotted one of our fave wine shops, but I managed to refrain from overspending on booze. I only made one cocktail-related purchase, a bottle of raspberry dust that I want to use in a pretty pink drink soon!
I met up with Dan in Soho and we went martini-hunting – a lesser known skill but one that I am wholly embracing in my thirties. A glance at the queue for Swift meant we headed for the bar opposite, so we found ourselves in Bar Termini. It was just brilliant – a moody atmosphere, wonderful service at every point, dark enough to feel intimate without spilling your drink, and ideal for people-watching. We decided quickly on Marsala Martinis – Beefeater gin, Marsala dolce and dry vermouth, served with a champagne-vinegar soaked almond. They came in these outrageously decadent glasses, and have hit my top martini list of all time. And yes, they were short but strong and I drank mine really quickly, which is probably why I look so wired in this photo… the accidental flash didn’t help.
Now it was time for dinner, and we’d reserved a spot at Noble Rot. Dan has been following them for a while and has their book about wine, so as far as I’m concered a visit was well overdue. We sat upstairs, which was dark and intimate, with the most incredible paintings either side of the room, depicting the view each side of the building. But most stunning of all was the wine! Noble Rot sell individual glasses of the most incredible wine, so we enjoyed some Hambilton English sparkling, a 2008 Mosel Kabinett Riseling, a glass of 1996 Volnay, 2016 Morgon, and beautiful food. I would absolutely reccomend you give them a visit!
No rest for the wicked – Saturday morning started with a coffee from WatchHouse at Somerset House, then we walked our way to Covent Garden to meet our awesome friends. We haven’t seen them for a while so had a catch up over champange at Flesh & Buns, followed by lots, and I mean lots, of cocktails. I started with a Lytini (vodka, yuzu sake, lychee) at Flesh & Buns; it was exquisitely sweet with a perfect sharp edge, reminiscent of my birthday when we enjoyed loads of lychee martinis!
A few espresso martinis, an Amaretto sour, more fizz and some wine later, we headed to our booking at the Blind Pig. It’s a cocktail bar hidden above Social Eating House by Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton. The entrance is disguised as an opticians and the cocktails are all inspired by dishes on his menus, so they feature some pretty out-there ingredients. How exciting!
My first drink here was the ‘Burrata, Figs and Truffled Honey’ – yes, that’s three of my top foods brought together in liquid form, with Seven Tails XO Brandy. Win-win. It was rich and sweet, served with a hazelnut disc that added to the culinary concept.
Next up, a ‘Brogdale Pear’. I adore drinks that are sweet and creamy while remaining balanced, and this drink is exactly that. Whisky-oat caramel, bee pollen-infused pear liqueur, pear puree and soured milk syrup. Combined with crushed ice and topped with a divine little pear meringue that melts on your tongue. Why don’t I make more pear drinks!?
The foodie drinks aren’t for everybody though… my friend ordered the goats cheese, whisky and honeycomb number, and it didn’t go down well! However I still got a photo of it to show off this incredible honeycomb ice cube! We called it a night after dancing around Ronnie Scott’s with a gin and tonic for a while… when I got back to our hotel at 3.30am I’d already done my steps for the day, so that’s a good sign.
A solid twelve hours of drinking taught me some things… I learnt that a pickled almond is the perfect martini-finisher, I’ve fallen in love with some glassware, been inspired to try a pear-based cocktail at home, savoured fine wines, been put off goats cheese, and proudly managed to resist spending all of my money on rum in Selfridges. All in all, a success and a pleasure!