City A.M.’s cocktail expert
WHOEVER came up with the idea of the pub crawl has a lot to answer for. There is nothing more unpleasant than witnessing an increasingly rowdy group of halfwits dragging their inebriated friends across the city, deluded in the belief that heroism lies in the ability to withstand more beer than their fellow man or woman.
A cocktail bar crawl, however, is an entirely different proposition. To prove it, Rémy Martin VSOP has teamed up with six of London’s best bars to create One Night in London, a Rémy Martin cocktail drinking amble.
First up is Connaught Bar, the art deco drinking haunt of choice for many of London’s cocktail aficionados. Here you could try the Fleurismo cocktail, a combination of Rémy Martin VSOP, a sugar cube, home-made bitters, violet liqueur and champagne. Second stop on the amble is Lab, the home of purposeful experimentation, where you could opt for the Bitter Sweet Truth, a concoction of Rémy Martin VSOP, fig liqueur, Campari, lemon, orange bitters and champagne.
Next up is highly rated Artesian at the Langham Hotel, where you may want to try a Vieux Carré, a powerful combination of Rémy Martin VSOP, Cocchi vermouth, Pikesville, Benedictine, Angostura bitters and Peychauds bitters. The Vieux Carré was created by Walter Bergeron in New Orleans in the 1930s at the Hotel Monteleone.
Fourth on the list is Bam-Bou’s Red Bar, which is what I imagine an upmarket opium den to be like. Having climbed three floors of this Georgian townhouse, you’ll earn your Forbidden Garden cocktail. The Rémy Martin VSOP, Mandarine Napoleon, orange and lemon juice, sugar syrup, aromatic bitters and basil leaves will provide the necessary refreshment.
Penultimate on the list is the busy bar at Novikov, which hosts some of the capital’s wealthiest drinkers. While the non-doms lap up the champagne and vodka, you could opt for the sophisticated and unexpectedly delicious Touzac Crusta, a combination of Rémy Martin VSOP, Falernum syrup, grapefruit bitters, lemon juice, Strega and plum sake. Finally, take a seat (there is no standing room) at the sublime Happiness Forgets, where you can finish off the evening with a Baptiste: Rémy Martin VSOP, lemon juice, maple syrup, orange bitters and Breton cider.
Zigzagging across London to visit all six bars in one night is a serious undertaking, so splitting the amble into two or three evenings is the way to go. After all, you’ll probably find a bar (not too quiet, not too busy) and a cocktail (not too bitter, not too sweet) that suits your particular taste and want to stay. There is a cocktail to suit all – from the sweeter Baptise, to the fruitier Forbidden Garden, to the bitterer Vieux Carré.
These bars and cocktails only represent one shot of London’s remarkable cocktail scene, but every amble starts with a step – or six in this case.
The One Night in London app is available to download on the iPad.
30ml Rémy Martin VSOP
30ml Cocchi vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Peychauds bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice
Pour all ingredients into ice-filled absinthe glass
Spray with lemon zest over the top