This year, the UK celebrates the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. And when it comes to celebrations, there are many of us that like to do so with a toast or two. Located just a stone’s throw from St James’s Palace is the St James Bar, which is marking 70 years of the monarch’s reign with a royal inspired cocktail menu.
The luxurious and intimate cocktail bar is located in the Sofitel London St James, with cosy banquettes and bar stools to perch on while you sip your way through the special menu from the team’s mixologists. In the run-up and immediate aftermath of the Jubilee celebrations, the St James Bar will offer a special menu of three drinks inspired by the Queen, ranging in price from £17-£18.
– Lilibet Fizz: Named after her family nickname, this fruity drink combines two of the Queen’s best-loved drinks, Bollinger Champagne and Pimm’s Cup No.1
– The Coronation: A seriously bling creation inspired by the coronation, features subtle notes of bergamot and wood and pays homage to Her Majesty’s favoured teas, Earl Grey and Assam.
– Jubilee Gimlet: A variation of the Queen’s favourite Martini and inspired by the classic Gimlet, this concoction features gin and Champagne with a mix of sweet florals and acidity.
- The Jubilee-inspired cocktails are on sale from 16 May – 12 June 2022. At St James Bar, Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, St. James’s, SW1Y 4AN. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross. Bar opening times: Thu-Sat 5pm-12am, Mon and Sun 12pm-12am, Tues-Wed closed. For more information, visit the Sofitel St James website.
Top London bars The Sun Tavern (Bethnal Green) and Discount Suit Company are offering festive concoctions to drink at home.
Although we’re currently in Tier 2, not all Londoners can get to their favourite cocktail bars. However, two of the capital’s award-winning drinking spots are bringing some festive concoctions to your door. The Umbrella Project, the team behind The Sun Tavern and Discount Suit Company, have launched pre-bottled Christmas cocktail Quarantini Kits.
Cocktail fans can enjoy four exclusive bottled cocktails inspired by festive aromas and tastes, including:
– Terry’s Chocolate Orange Negroni (Cacao Nib & Orange Peel Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari).
– Three Kings (Gold Rum, Frankincense, Myrrh, Umbrella London Ginger Beer Syrup, Bitters).
– Umbrella Buttered Brandy (Butter Washed Cognac, Rosso Vermut, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Umbrella Brewing Apple Cider).
– Xmas Old Fashioned (Bourbon, Pimento Spiced Liqueur, Douglas Fir & Jasmine Tea Syrup, Bitters).
Christmas Quarantini Cocktail Kits available with two (£30) or four (£50) bottles. Each bottle contains three serves. Can be drunk within three months.
- The Umbrella Project’s Christmas cocktails are available for their online shop. National and international delivery available. Free delivery within a 3-mile radius of The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green. Click & Collect also available.
- The Sun Tavern, 441 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. For more information, check out The Sun Tavern website.
- Discount Suit Company, 29A Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1 7TB. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, check out the Discount Suit Company website.
The acclaimed Athens nightspot is coming to London for a two-day pop-up in March 2020.
One of the world’s best bars is coming to London this March for an exclusive two-day pop-up. Athens’ drinking den, The Clumsies, is currently No.6 in the World’s 50 Best Bars. From 3- 4 March 2020, Londoners will have the opportunity to try The Clumsies acclaimed cocktails at the St James Bar at the Sofitel St James. The Clumsies co-owner Nikos Bakoulis and bartender Christoe Stratigos will be bringing their mixology skills to the five-star hotel.
The Clumsies has been a consistent feature in lists of the world’s most renowned bars in recent years. It’s charted in the top 10 of the World’s 50 Best Bars for the past five years and has landed in 6th place in both 2017 and last year. The bar’s owners Nikos Bakoulis and Vassilis Kyritsis have made it their mission to mix innovation and Greece’s distinctive flavours in their cocktails for their Athens regulars and international customers.
The pop-up at the St James Bar will feature five unique cocktails from The Clumsies team:
– Tea Ceremony (Blended Malt Whiskey, Shitake, Ginger, Honey, Mango Kombucha)
– Synthesis (London Dry Gin, White Beetroot Vermouth, Cocoa)
– Shaker Boys (Aged Rum, Milk Water, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Jasmine Kvass)
– Clear Soup (Blanco Tequila, Coconut & Pineapple Sherry, Lime & Celery Ash, Hops)
– Highball Gimlet (Vodka , Apple Geranium, Fennel Seeds, London Essence Grapefruit & Rosemary Tonic).
- The Clumsies pop-up is open from 3 – 4 March 2020. The Clumsies menu available 5pm–12am. At the St James Bar, Sofitel St James, 6 Waterloo Place, St James, SW1Y 4AN. Nearest stations: Green Park or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Sofitel St James website.
This spring, be entertained and amazed by the stories of three inspirational adventurers. As part of Mr Fogg’s Explorer Series, travellers will be sharing their epic tales of adventure from across the globe. Each evening features a talk, followed by Q&A for guests to ask questions, as well as opportunities to try Mr Fogg’s Tanqueray No.Ten gin cocktails, inspired by the world.
- Monday 24 February 2020 : Ollie Phillips
First up is former England Rugby 7’s captain and Guinness World Record holder Ollie Phillips, who will share his inspirational story of resilience and overcoming the odds. After sustaining a serious calf injury, Ollie’s professional rugby career was halted, so he decided to take part in the Clipper Round the World yacht race, coming 2nd with his GB teammates despite no sailing experience. He has gone on to complete a 100-mile trek across the Arctic, hiked Kilimanharo, cycled across America, driven a rickshaw across India and gained several Guinness World Records along the way.
– For tickets and more information on an Evening with Ollie Phillips, click here.
- Monday 23 March 2020 : Lucy Shepherd
Mountaineer, arctic and jungle explorer Lucy Shepherd has travelled to some of the world’s most remote spots. Having led solo and team expeditions, Lucy was made a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society at just 23 years old. She has solo skied across the Norwegian-Russian border, mountaineered across the High Sierra Range and climbed Tajikistan’s terrifying peaks. She’s currently planning an expedition to cross Guyana’s mountain range – which has never been achieved before. During her adventures, Lucy also films her discoveries as she aims to highlight the climate crisis and how it impacts the places she visits.
– For tickets and more information on an Evening with Lucy Shepherd, click here.
- Monday 20 April 2020 : Stephen Fabes
Adventurer Stephen Fabes recalls his amazing six-year expedition across six countries and 75 countries by bike. Having trained as a doctor before his journey began, he was able to use his medical training along the way, visiting remote clinics and helping to raise money to fight tropical diseases.
– For tickets and more information on an Evening with Stephen Fabes, click here.
During each talk, mixologists can whip up some travel-inspired gin concoctions, including ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ (Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Fermented Banana Shrub, Coffee Liqueur and Lime), ‘Eastern Horizons’ (Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Belsazar Rosé Wine Aperitif, Sake and Pollen) and ‘Pole to Pole’ (Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Passion Fruit Juice, Toasted Rice Mirin, Vanilla and Fresh Lemon).
- Mr Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. All events have a 6pm arrival for a 7pm start time. Free entry. For more information, visit Mr Fogg’s website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in March, click here.
Find out where London’s seasonal terraces and pop-ups are and which bars are serving Christmas cocktail menus.
Christmas is that time of year when your social life kicks into high-gear. If you’re planning a catch-up with friends and family and looking for a suitably festive environment, then why not head to one of London’s seasonal pop-ups or winter terraces. Alternatively, some of the capital’s top bars have curated special Christmas cocktail menus.
London Winter Pop-ups
- 18 October – 5 January 2020 : The Winter Garden @ John Lewis
The flagship department store transforms its roof garden for the winter season, featuring Sage cocktails and candy floss, curling and street food from Jimmy’s Carnival Diner. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-9pm.
– John Lewis rooftop, 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the John Lewis website.
- 29 October – 5 January 2020 : Montague Ski Lodge
The ski lodge returns to the Montague Hotel for another year. The Wood Deck will be transformed into a alpine hideaway, with pine trees, falling snow, reindeer, snowmen, and ski racks. The bar will be serving mulled wine, hot cider, hot chocolate, schnapps, flavoured vodka and more.
– The Montague Hotel, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ. Nearest station: Russell Square or Holborn. For more information, visit The Montague hotel website.
- 5 November – 31 January 2020 : Swan Lake @ Bluebird
Bluebird’s courtyard has been transformed into a mythical woodland inspired by Swan Lake. Featuring heated winter chalets and warm Ciroc vodka cocktails like ‘Sygnet Sour’, ‘White Ember’, and ‘Spellbound’. Open Mon-Fri 8am -9pm, Sat-Sun 9am-9pm.
– Bluebird Chelsea, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the Bluebird Chelsea website.
- 6 November – 20 December : The Winter Forest
Seasonal pop-up returns to Broadgate Circle, with snowy pine trees, twinkling lights, live music and food and drink. During the festive period, there will also be gin tastings, charity pub quizzes, wellbeing workshops, winter floral workshops, and visits from Santa.
– Broadgate Circle, Broadgate, EC2. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Moorgate. For more information, visit The Broadgate website.
- 7 November – 29 February 2020 : The Elyx Chalet @ Rosewood London
The Terrace at the Rosewood London has become a Swedish-inspired hideaway, with sparkling trees, snow and festive cocktails with a Swedish twist. Open daily from 4pm.
– Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, Holborn, WC1V 7EN. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Rosewood Hotels website.
- 7 November – late February 2020 : The Enchanted Woods @ Madison
St Paul’s rooftop bar Madison’s terrace has been given a winter makeover. Cosy up under a blanket in wooden chalet surrounded by twinkling lights and heaters and sip hot cocktails while gazing at the City views. Open Mon-Thu 11am-late, Fri-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 12pm-9.30pm.
– Madison rooftop terrace, 1 New Change, City of London, EC4M 9AF. Nearest station: Mansion House or St Paul’s. For more information, visit the Madison London website.
- 7 November – late March 2020 : Winterland
Riverside, alpine wonderland returns, with plenty of heated winter lodges, cabin and igloos, fire pits, hot tubs, games, hot and cold cocktails, comfort food and more. Open: Wed-Thu 6pm-12am, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-6.30pm. Entry: Wed-Fri, Sun £5pp, Sat £10pp. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.
With the dark nights and dropping temperatures, it can be hard to motivate yourself to go out in the winter. However, the promise of cosy seating and hot cocktails is one way to entice me out of the house! With Christmas creeping up, I got into the festive spirit at the launch of seasonal pop-up destination Winterland last week.
Open from now until March 2020, Winterland is a restaurant, bar, music venue, arcade and adults-playground all rolled into one. Located by the River Thames, the Fulham pop-up covers a large space and features plenty of different spaces to hang out with your friends or lovers. Upon arrival, the festive spirit was well and truly kicking as we walked through a tunnel of twinkling lights, silver branches and Christmas trees. Despite the cold wind outside we had just battled through, the interior couldn’t be more different. Fur-covered sofas, cushions, fairy lights and plenty of trees made for a welcoming and cosy environment in the main covered pagoda. We headed straight to the bar, which serves a wide selection of drinks, including hot and cold cocktails. I couldn’t resist an alcoholic hot chocolate, with lashings of whipped cream and marshmallows on top. It had the right mixture of sweetness and booze, without the latter over-powering the flavour. Read the rest of this entry
A special new winter experience has arrived at Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour and Tavern. The Winter Light Festival launched on 23 October and runs until 24 November 2019. The neighbouring venues of the Gin Parlour and Tavern have transformed into a Japanese-inspired, illuminated oasis, serving House of Suntory cocktails and tasty fusion cuisine.
Visitors will be brought on a sensory journey to the Far East, with sights, tastes and sounds of Japan. After walking through a red Torii, guests can grab a chair and enjoy the photogenic, pink Japanese blossom surrounding the bar. Alternatively, you can follow the lantern trail upstairs to the Gin Parlour.
The two menus features Japanese-inspired cocktails made with Toki whisky, Haku vodka and Roku gin.
- Mr Fogg’s Tavern have created a menu themed around locations in Japan:
– YAGOSHIMA (£10): Suntory Roku gin, Bergamot Liqueur, Fermented Cucumber Juice, Sichuan Pepper Syrup, Egg White and Cherry Bitters.
– OSAKA: Suntory Haku Vodka, Coffee Bean-infused Alipús San Andrés Mezcal, homemade Jasmin Syrup and Coffee flavoured White Tea.
– KYOTO (£10): Suntory Toki Whisky, Elderflower Cordial, Lemon Juice and topped with Ginger Ale.
– KANPAI (£20 / £38) Punch Cocktail (two to four sharing): Suntory Roku Gin, Green Tea & Hibiscus Liqueur, Lavender Syrup, Pink Grapefruit Juice topped with Fentimans Oriental Yuzu Tonic Water. Read the rest of this entry
This year’s extended London Cocktail Week sees more of the capital’s best bars offer £6 cocktails.
October is one of London’s busiest months as its jam-packed with special events and festivals. However, my favourite has to be London Cocktail Week. This year, the mixology extravaganza is celebrating its 10th anniversary so has been extended from the usual seven days to a whopping 10 – lucky us!
To those uninitiated, London Cocktail Week is run by DrinkUp London, who have rounded up some of the capital’s best bars, pubs and restaurants to take part. Across the city, there will be workshops, masterclasses, pairing menus and tastings. This year, the Cocktail Village will be in Brick Lane again, where a host of pop-up bars from your favourite booze brands and drinking destinations will be setting up shop.
To participate, get a £10 pass (on the DrinkUpLdn app) so you can enjoy special, bespoke LCW cocktails for just £6 each from hundreds of participating bars across the capital. You can also find details of workshops, tastings and special events to further explore.
- 1 – 5 October : The Botanist Gin and Hunter Gather Cook
The Botanist Gin’s brand ambassador Abigail Clephane is teaming up with Nick Weston to create special pairing menus. A series of Wild Dinners will take guests on a culinary journey of wild and seasonal dishes paired with foraged gin cocktails. Expect deer, pigeon breast and phesants, with drinks such as Fig Leaf, Nettle Gimlet or Truffle Martini. The evenings will include a five-course meal.
Limited-edition menu sees competing gin cocktails with House of Pink vs House of Orange.
I’m a great believer in drinking to suit the seasons – I would never dream of mulled cider in summer and an Aperol Spritz must always be accompanied by warmth and sunshine. So whenever I hear the words ‘summer drinks’, I don’t need much convincing. Furthermore, when I heard that Dirty Martini were using my tipple of choice – gin – in their new summer menu, I didn’t need much incentive to try it out.
This summer, the cocktail bar chain has created a contrasting summer drink menu, featuring the competing House of Pink vs the House of Orange. Each ‘house’ features three cocktails each, with the common ingredient being either Beefeater Blood Orange or Strawberry Pink Gin. I’m fairly well acquainted with pink gin, but not so much with the blood orange so was keen to experiment. I’ve only been drinking gin regularly for a few years and often find friends declaring they ‘don’t like it’. However, I’ve always insisted that a cocktail or a flavoured gin will be far from their memory of gin, as its such a versatile drink. On my visit, I was accompanied by one of those said friends who didn’t think she liked gin, but was open-minded. With my encouragement, she tried a ‘Strawberries & Dreams (strawberry pink gin, pineapple, strawberries and a coconut foam), which she was pleasantly surprised by how sweet and lovely it tasted. Meanwhile, I opted for a ‘Summer Lover’ (Blood orange gin, passoa, fresh passion fruit, vanilla, citrus, egg white and Prosecco), an even fruitier twist on the Pornstar Martini, which I really liked.
My friend had soon developed quite the taste for the pink gin, as had I for the blood orange, so we let those ingredients dominate our next cocktail choice. My pal decided on the ‘I Lychee Like That’ (Strawberry pink gin, watermelon, lychee and strawberries with dehydrated dragon fruit), with the lychee and dragon fruit giving an exotic twist and refreshing taste. However, I went for the uber delicate ‘Life’s a Peach’ (Blood orange gin, Frangelico, peach, peach schnapps, eucalyptus, citrus and egg white), which was a surprisingly boozy and fragrant drink. Finally to finish, we kept it simple with pink and orange gin and tonics. Having stuck to blood orange cocktails, I mixed things up and went for the strawberry pink gin served with pink grapefruit and mint, which was sweet, but light. Meanwhile, the blood orange gin is accompanied by orange slices and fresh rosemary, with the herb really elevating the gin flavour.
Overall, the summer menu is a treat for gin lovers and even those who think they don’t like gin… you may be surprised! I’ve been back to the St Paul’s branch to enjoy the summer menu more than once, and I’m sure I’ll have to squeeze in one last visit before the season ends.
- Dirty Martini’s Summer Drinks menu is available from 3 June – 1 September 2019 at all branches. London branches include Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument, St Paul’s and Minories. For more information, visit the Dirty Martini website.
- Dirty Martini’s Bottomless Gin Brunch is available from 7 June – 1 September 2019 at Bishopsgate (Fri, Sat & Sun), and St Paul’s, Hanover Square and Minories (Fri and Sat). Featuring Bottomless G&Ts, Prosecco, choice of three Martinis or beer for 90 minutes, alongside a birdcage of sharing food.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar reviews, click here.
Popping up in bustling Farringdon this August will be a secret hideaway cocktail haven. Hidden from passers-by behind ivy-covered walls will be the Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden.
The city oasis will be a destination for after-work drinks and weekend cocktails during the warm August evenings. Step inside a garden full of plants, medicinal herbs and a 200-year-old olive tree to shade under. Guests can sneak through the privet hedge to find the hidden bar, before enjoying a drink on the jasmine-trailed swing seat and gazing at a lemon-filled fountain. As the sun sets, garlands of fairy lights with light up the space, which will be filled with the sounds of live jazz and acoustic music.
Botanical drink company Fentimans have teamed up with mixology expert Dino Koletsas (The Langham, Bourne & Hollingsworth, Callooh Callay) to create a special spritz menu. Visitors can enjoy a redefined series of spritzes featuring Fentimans tonic waters and top British ingredients. The full range of Fentimans tonics (from Valencian Orange to Pink Rhubarb) will be mixed with homemade herbal infusions and liqueurs, fresh fruit and aperitifs. Guests will be able to garnish their own spritzes with rosemary, sage and lavender from the garden. Throughout the three-week pop-up, the Spritz Garden will also host masterclasses, such as floristry, flower pressing, Limoncello making and collages.
- The Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden, Clerkwenwell. Nearest station: Farringdon (5 min walk). Open from 7 – 30 August 2019. Opening hours Wed-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm and Bank Holiday Sunday 12pm-11pm. For more information and the location, visit the Secret Spritz Garden website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in August, click here.