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Third time’s a charm. This year’s cocktail extravaganza was hashtagged (as always) with a tip of the hat to the Clash. (See #londonculling and #rockthecasbar entries.)

From our base at the Mondrian London, we headed out to the shard for lunch.

The food at Aquashard is remarkably good. Fuel up!

After lunch, it was off to the Alchemist. Espresso was in the cards since it was early yet.

Next we paid a visit to our friend Alessandro (and delivered greetings personally from Jacques Bezuidenhout) at Duke’s hotel bar. Simply put, Duke’s somehow makes the best martinis in the world. Better to only have one.

Plans called for a visit to the Ritz bar, but we ran into a shoe-ware issue (someone had on trainers that cost as much as a car). So fuck the Ritz. We will be back never.

No worries, the Connaught Bar manned by Micheal was incredibly great. We sat at the bar. Somehow the Connaught became our home away from home with two visits the next day during much fun was had.

We paid a visit to Gerry’s Wines and Spirits to amass a treasure trove of Amer Picon and some very old Cuban rum. Graham and insta-graham were a blast. Gin tasting occurred.

Then it was time for prophylactic ramen at Bone Daddies. Great ramen with a rock and roll vibe. Beer seemed like a good idea.

Bar Swift was our next target. Without a reservation we shlepped downstairs. After a round, our waitress took pity on us and gave us a great round booth. Then we got into the George T Stagg 2016. Wise?? Of course it was wise.

Next up was a visit to one of our all around favorites, the American Bar at the Savoy. Our barman on point at the establishment did what he could to find us some Catoctin Creek rye to use in the Red Lips Rye. He had 24 hours. Sadly, his attempt was unsuccessful, but he did put in a real effort.

We always seem to get stuck at the American Bar for 2 or 3 rounds, after which we head downstairs and transfer our tab to the Beaufort. Two of our party bowed out after the American Bar visit around 10:30.

It was left for the remaining cocktail enthusiasts to pull all of the weight. Down to the Beaufort we went. Frankly we were not impressed with this visit. Though we love the bar and past visits have been fun (if not expensive as hell), there seem to be too many Russians around for comfort these days.

Back home to the Dandelyan it was. We made it in time for fernet and a last call that seems to have involved two CR#2’s and six Liberals. These things happen!

So, after all this we somehow ended up opening a bottle of champagne at 2am on the balcony. That was a bad idea.

You would figure that we had learned our lesson, but we had not. The next afternoon after some ramen (medicinal this time) at Monohon ramen we walked over to the Zetter Townhouse for some hair of the dog.

Which naturally led us back to the Connaught Bar to see Michael again before our fancy night out.

We leave you with a recipe for a Coburg Collins
50 ml London dry gin (no 3)
20 ml lemon
15 ml simple syrup
10 ml fino sherry
2 dashes celery bitters
top up with soda water over big ice.

#rockthecasBAR

May 11, 2017

When iteration one’s hashtag is #londonculling where do you go from there? Obviously #rockthecasBAR!

This time we fueled up before our London cocktail adventure. And we even paid.

Then it was off through the crowded streets of London to Dukes Hotel. If you are in the mood for a Bond-inspired super high octane cocktail on the martini spectrum, Dukes is the place. We were explicitly warned to have ONE (in all caps even) by a professional! Thanks for the warning Jacques, you were right.

We walked the few blocks up to the Ritz for round two. We were almost let into the casino to do some gambling (which was not the plan). A corrected trajectory put us through the front door to Rivoli. It was Negroni time.

The beautiful clear ice was branded in the Savoy style. Everyone is copying everyone else in London.

Time for a cab to Clerkenwell, hailed by a snarky doorman. Back to…wait for it…the Zetter Townhouse to see the dead cat. This is our regular London haunt and we were immediately recognized at the door.

Here kitty kitty

Sticking with the gin, we decided on a Zetter Gimlet made with some infusion or other (I believe a kind of tea). It was delicious. The cat joined in.

While waiting for companion three to arrive from across London at rush hour we started feeling parched, so we ordered a round of 20th Century, some pistachios, and some jerky sausage.

Twentieth Century
10 ml lemon juice
10 ml creme de cacao
20 ml cocci americano
40 ml dry gin (jensens)
stir. strain. express lemon peel. small lemon garnish.

The kitty will have another

Ramen is always helpful the day after too many cocktails, but we were just getting started. Prophylactic ramen is now a thing. Monohon ramen is just as great as we thought it would be. Super authentic and delicious.

As NPS is writing this and feeling rather surprisingly good in the morning, I suppose that the prophylactic ramen did its job. Unfiltered sake was not really what the doctor ordered, but we had it anyway.

Warning: This is not a cocktail

A short walk to Callooh-Callay was when our kung fu set in. We walked right past the waiting people, made a joke with the doorman about being tweeners, and immediately sat down at the crowded bar. We were served by either Carrie or Mary. Callooh-Callay is a raucous place where quiet conversation is not in the cards.

Either Carrie of Mary suggested a Hanky Panky. We’re always up for that.

Feeling like talking to each other again, we cabbed it over to the Savoy to visit the Beaufort. We are sad that the Beaufort has changed its menu. They now feature some kind of cartoon menu that seems very Disney. NPS does not approve.

We ordered a Silver Bullet and a Never Ending Story (or two) even though the waiter tried not to let us.

By this time our phone use capabilities were waning and hashtags were slipping into gobbleddygook. We cabbed back to home base at Mondrian Sea Containers, missing a train in the meantime.

Dandelyon was packed of course, so we used our magic to waltz right in and rearrange the furniture. Alex was behind the bar and one year older. Complimentary bubbly arrived which put us in the mood for a French 75.

This somehow made Fernet happen and then it was off to bed. Meanwhile, the guest experience fairies delivered a bottle of champagne while were were out and left it with a personal note. Nice touch!

#londonculling, #rockthecasBAR, what’s next??

It may be a gray day in London, but it’s blue in room 503 at the Zetter hotel.

And that’s a good thing, because blue is the new red. Loyal readers may recall room 503 used to be red. A complete makeover has occurred making the room cozier and even more modern seeming.

But what’s best is that room 503 was waiting for us when we arrived at 10:15 in the morning after a flight across the pond (about more which see this Delta Does Business posting). So nice to be recognized and taken care of properly. Wonder why the Zetter is better? Well, that’s one reason. Thanks Fabian.

Blue 503 skylight highlight

The Zetter room 503 comfy bed

Zetter sitting now featuring carpet and a modern bar

About the only thing that has not changed is the bathroom which remains nice but small and does feature a tub/shower combo thingy. Tell no one.

The shower is nothing to write home (or blog) about, but it sure feels good after a long flight

The best feature of room 503 is the bank of windows overlooking London. You can see both the gerkin and the shard from bed.

Looking out

Looking in

503 features a fantastic balcony

So all is well at the Zetter. Now we must now manage to stay up all day somehow. Sleep is for the weak.

Stay awake by walking around London in a daze

Lunch at St John is an excellent option.

Real bread at St John

The Tate

As always the Tate is a great place to while away some time. This trip, NPS discovered an entirely new wing?!

Tate Modern

First Iris in London

A sushi dinner at Sosharu was passable. Sosharu is trying to make sushi appealing too close to a train station. Skip it.

Fortunately, a cocktail or two at the Zetter Townhouse was in order. Funny how every time NPS shows up here we have to teach them to make a Liberal all over again. At least they still have the Amer Picon on hand. Back bar fernet with Guy was something that happened.

Amer Picon in the Zetter Townhouse

Also of note during our Zetter time in London:

Dinner at Texture (not as impressive as it should have been).

Brunch at Chiltern Firehouse

A fire at the Chiltern Firehouse in May

A visit to the Artesian bar at the Langham (after tea was ditched in favor of cocktails).

Artesian

Cocktail whose name escapes us

The British Museum

Cocktails at the Aemrican Bar in the Savoy.

The American Bar (wingspan)

A Spinning Jenny is presented on its own little pedestal. Spinning Jenny
45 ml bombay sapphire
15 ml cocchi americano
10 ml pear eau de vie (williams)
15 ml Yerba Mate
15 ml grenadine
soda
Stir. Fizz. Collins rocks. Pedestal.

A new blue five showerheads for the Zetter.

#LondonCulling

April 16, 2016

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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How many fabulous cocktails bars can you visit in 12 or so hours (without rushing)? Who will be left standing (or wobbling) at the end of the day? And most importantly, who will be culled?

We began at the Hutong restaurant at the Shard. The view was fantastic, the food was good, and the company was superb, but the most ridiculous part was the urinals (with a view over the city).

Our supposedly quick tube ride over to the Savoy was thwarted by British public transportation ridiculousness. Tried to buy three day cards on the underground. One was printed, my card was charged for three and a cryptic error message that was entirely unhelpful was displayed. After 15 minutes trying to solve the problem and get a supervisor to give us a refund, we decided the process was not worth completing. So you owe me 24 pounds London underground!

The best part? We used the tickets once.

We started at the American Bar in the Savoy which has a fancy new menu as of January. As always, the drinks were as pretty as they were delicious.
savoy american

The best drink we had was no longer on the menu—the wingspan. A recipe can be found in this NPS entry.

Wingspan: American Bar: Savoy: London

Wingspan: American Bar: Savoy: London

We had attempted to head down to the Beaufort bar around 4:15 until we discovered that it was not open until 5. That left us time for a wingspan. Then we had our bill transferred down.

The beaufort has an entirely different jibe.

The Pan American Highway
20 ml bacardi 8
15 ml zacapa 23
15 ml diplomatico
10 ml amer picon
2.5 ml fernet branca menta
10 ml roasted coffee maple syrup
3 dashes chocolate bitters
Stir down. Strain. Serve in coupe with an interesting piece of ice.

A few light snacks of gruyere and foie gras were not quite satisfying us at this point. So it was off to find some light dinner.

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We ended up at Blind as a Pig where our very cute waitress was happy to play along with our silly shenanigans. Emergency clothes pins were distributed.

Our emergency clothes pin supplier was remiss to be photographed

Our emergency clothes pin supplier was remiss to be photographed

We did some napkin art as follows, which seemed entirely clever at the time.

Sated with mac and cheese, fish and chips, and other finger food, and protected by our large supply of emergency clothes pins, we were off.

Next up was the posh Connaught Bar. Connaught is run by Sardinians, who would dearly like to have some fun but who are not really sure whether they are allowed to.

We introduced the Connaught to the Liberal.

Then it was midnight and time for the great cull. What happened? Everybody dropped out but NPS! Lol. I believe it might have been wiser to stop myself.

In memorium of those who left us during the great cull #londonculling

In memorium of those who left us during the great cull #londonculling

Instead, it was off to visit the Dandelyon Bar at the Mondrian again. By now it seems that we know everybody, but it was a special treat when Iain Griffiths was in the house. Iain helps Mr Lyan create new properties. The planet is small.

Could this really be a good idea?

Could this really be a good idea?

Finally, all energy was gone and it was up the lift to crash. Candles on the porch were a special touch.

The American Bar and the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy have some serious cocktail history. We finally visited.

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The Silver Bullet
50 ml Sipsmith gin
25 ml lemon juice
25 ml Kummel
Stir. Serve up.

The Beaufort

The Beaufort

Oh, and the plumbing in the gents at the Savoy is a complete UK riot.

Rahther

Rahther

UK Urinal: Savoy

UK Urinal: Savoy

Then there was The Bar at the Dorchester where we had Harry’s cocktail. Simply fantastic.

Harry's cocktail from the bar

Harry’s cocktail from the bar

Dinner across the hall at the grill was not good at all. Skip it.

We ended with the Liberal.

Anyway much fun. Rolling blackouts. The usual. Hard to get up to catch the plane home.