Cocktail bars seem to be popping up on every street corner. Once upon a time cocktails were sticky sweet, unnaturally coloured and headache inducing. Nowadays though, mixologists and top bartenders are considered to be the talented chefs of the drinks world, creating complex concoctions using scientific methods with a range of flavours and intricate garnishes. I love a classic old-fashioned but also enjoy trying the innovative new cocktails available so readily in London. Here are a few of the newest cocktail bars to check out, located in the centre, south and east of town.
Cahoots – this secret cocktail bar is great fun with good drinks too. You will be transported to the year of 1946 and taken down beneath the streets to a disused tube station, Kingly Court. The retro décor is brilliant, so convincing that it is difficult to know which bits are original and which bits have been created for the theme. The waitresses are in character with vintage dresses and cute accents which makes the experience even more immersive. The menu comprises mostly rum and gin drinks, though I highly recommend the whiskey based ‘Maker Street’.
Shrub and Shutter – Brixton has a few places worth trying for cocktails but Shrub and Shutter is easily leading in style and innovation. It is the first project from Salt of the Earth consultancy, an experimental and brave venture. The cocktail list is extensive with a range of unusual flavour combinations. Often the cocktails are presented with an edible snack, carefully chosen to match and accentuate the flavours of the drink. We tried the smooth and unexpected citrus gin based ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ and the intriguing ‘The Deerhunter’ which combines tincup bourbon with orange, smoking pipe bitters, capovilla tabacco amarone, birch sap and venison. S & S also serve small plates if you are feeling a bit peckish.
Joyeux Bordel – the name of this new Shoreditch cocktail den translates to ‘happy mess’. It is the newest venture from the Experimental Cocktail Club connoisseurs. The venue has a lived-in feel and serves French inspired cocktails and shared punches. I haven’t tried it yet, but can’t wait to go along with a few girlfriends to try the menu.