Highly anticipating the start of spring, many of London’s rooftop bars will finally be throwing their doors open over the next few weeks.
Chief among them is the rooftop terrace at Coq d’Argent, the first and most famous sky-high drinking hotspot in the City of London.
Attached to the classic French restaurant of the same name, the terrace has hardly changed in the two decades since it made its debut on the Square Mile scene, and it’s still a firm favourite among fans of the long, boozy lunch.
Being French, the wine list is as extensive as it is expensive and, with over 70 whiskies on offer, it was recently voted one of the top ten whisky bars in London. Less well-known is its array of in-house cocktails, including The Palatial. With its zesty citrus overtones and floral garnish, it’s the perfect aperitif to sip on the balcony on a fresh spring evening.
Bar manager Peter Merheb says the team were casting around for a name that was an accurate description of the interiors at Coq d’Argent before alighting on the name. The key ingredient is Sauvelle vodka, which is “the best vodka on the market now,” according to Merheb.
Produced in Cognac, it’s kept unfiltered and put through an oak smoothing process. Merheb says it’s “a raw spirit with a rich, incredibly smooth character.”
Getting the infusion right is the key to perfecting this sweet crowd-pleaser at home. The Coq d’Argent team adds 300g of cut, dried apricot with two teaspoons of Earl Grey tea into a bottle, then leave it to infuse for 48 hours before double straining it. It’s a delicate balancing act, but when the sun’s shining, there’s nothing quite so grand.