I like to keep my fingers on the pulse when it comes to the best places to eat and drink (especially cocktails) in London. So when I attended the Woodford Reserve masterclass recently, I had a quick chat with Woodford Reserve brand ambassador Tom Vernon, about the top artisan cocktail bars in London right now.
Here were three of his top recommendations for those in search of a top notch crafted cocktail (the words though, are purely from my own research).
1. Powder Keg Diplomacy, Clapham
Colonial-style interiors and a stunning conservatory certainly set the tone in this ultra cool bar set off St John’s Hill. Then once you delve into the menu, the range of tipples are endless. Think innovative Victorian influences, historical gins and whiskeys and artisanal bitters and cordials. Be sure to try the Botanist gin, ‘gunpowder’ green tea vermouth, and hibiscus and sour cherry infused Woodford Reserve.
2. Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel
If you haven’t yet been to the Dandelyan, chances are – if you’re a cocktail enthusiast – you’ll have certainly heard of the head mixologist, Ryan Chetiyawardana, AKA cocktail God, Mr Lyan. His name often pops up amongst those ‘in the know’ who discuss London’s top artisan cocktail bars.
In the words of this highly-esteemed bartender, creating a cocktail is ‘…not just about putting alcohol into a shaker’. And with a string of awards to his name – and owner of two top-notch bars – we think this man knows his stuff.
At Dandelyan, Mr Lyan’s tipples take inspiration from ‘the Botanical wilds of the British countryside’. So the cocktails are divided into super unique categories ‘cereal’, ‘vegetal’, ‘mineral’ and ‘floral’. They also, of course, have super unique names. So feast your eyes on the captivatingly titled Koji Hardshake, Dry-Hopped Gimlet and Concrete Sazerac. (Wowsers).
Ever sipped on a cocktail containing Dandelion capillaire, pink salt soda or patchouli? No, me neither.
At Dandelyan, these hand-crafted cocktails are catered to the uber discerning palate, but without taking themselves too seriously.
And once you’ve got your tipple of choice, the Mondrian Hotel has prime location on the Southbank. So if you’re on the hunt for top artisan cocktail bars where you can drink in superb views of the Thames, this is it.
Check out the Dandelyan website here
3. Nightjar, Shoreditch
If you’re an East End hipster, Nightjar is quite possibly one of your regular cocktail haunts. But the reason this Shoreditch joint draws in the crowds, is the use of small-batch spirits, vintage-style mixology and incredible attention to detail.
Once through the unmarked door, you will see why this City Road bar co-founded by Edmund Weil and wife Rosie Stimpson has picked up a string of awards.
The menu unveils a long and varied list of seriously complex drinks made up of homemade infusions and syrups. Ingredients are fantastically unusual (think artichoke tea, banana blossom and tobacco sugar) and you’ll find a fabulous level of skill, with mixologists fully embracing the molecular gastronomic trend with a variety of absinthe smokes, sorbets and jellies.
With a distinct old-school glamour and focus on the pre and post American prohibition era, hand crafted cocktails fit oh so right in here. If you’re in the unadventurous crowd however, you definitely won’t.
Until next time x