Thursday, September 27, 2012
It is impossible to get bored in London. The city’s size, diversity, and never-ending stream of events, openings, festivals, pop-ups, and exhibitions mean that you could spend the rest of your life in London and still not see and do everything it has to offer. If you don’t believe me, I will show you. I will show you in cocktails.
We’ll start with openings. This year a new restaurant called Dabbous opened in Noho. It is so popular that it is fully booked for dinner until next September. But if you go downstairs, there is a bar where the rest of us can drink and sample enough of the food that we will get crazy and book a table for a year from now.
Last week I was invited to try the cocktails and nibbles at the bar at Dabbous. I spent an enjoyable evening with a fellow London blogger imbibing in the good hands of Oskar, who had the run of the place.
He first made me an off-the-menu cocktail called a Pooh Sour, which was a Winnie-the-Pooh-inspired drink made of bourbon, lemon verbena, and acacia honey infused with chamomile. Served in a tiny honey pot and topped with a flower, it was the cuddliest cocktail I’ve ever had. It was good, too.
From the land of Pooh and honey, Oskar spirited me off to the shores of Southern California with a drink called the Beverly Hills 2090210. A mix of No. 209 gin, Aperol, grapefruit, lemon juice, and cream soda, it made me feel like I was on the beach in LA when I hadn’t even left central London.
That’s to say nothing of the food. The free-range hen eggs with woodland mushrooms and smoked butter and the chicken wings with fenugreek and garlic were some of the best food I’ve ever had. Seriously. There’s a reason you have to wait a year for dinner reservations, and I experienced that reason firsthand. Good thing I can go to the bar anytime.
But with so much else going on in London, it might be hard to find the time. Near Noho by Oxford Circus, the Palm Court at The Langham hotel has been transformed into a pop-up bar in the evenings. The Sipsmith Gin Palace is its name, and—as it implies—its menu features gin cocktails.
I went to the launch party of said bar the other week and sampled cocktails that were as beautiful on the eyes as they were on the palate. There were pastel colored drinks with large single ice cubes in the middle and cocktails served in sweet little teacups. They made the rounds to live jazz music from the piano, and they were seriously moreish.
Further west, the annual London Design Festival was in full swing last week. I was invited to a launch party for the Brompton Design District, which ran in conjunction with it.
Bombay Sapphire sponsored the evening, and I sipped some of their cocktails while exploring everything from rooms full of Mongolian cashmere in wireframe gers to tables covered in tiny treats that represented good luck in various parts of the world.
Back at home, I barely got a night’s rest before I was out again in London soaking up more of the new, the historic, the traditional, and everything else that makes this one of the most exciting cities I have ever lived in. Including the cocktails.