Artesian Bar, London

The Artesian Bar at the prestigious Langham Hotel has had a long reign as reputedly the World’s best cocktail bar. Having visited so many of Europe’s best cocktail caves, I feel I am now an expert examiner in this field and had my critical faculties alert for my recent visit. It is said that London’s best mixologists are to be found behind the bars in hotels and it is with the classic recipes that they really excel. At the Artesian Bar you will taste a superior Martini, Manhattan and Mojito… the best spirits, the coldest ice and perfect technique.

I was most excited about experiencing the innovative and artistic creations of which Artesian are so proud. The bar area is a big contrast to the lush pink decor in the rest of the hotel… dimmed lighting, low key music and a host of smart and polite bar staff. We sat quietly observing our surroundings and marvelling at the glowing assortment of bottles behind the bar.

Soon snacks arrived, delicate and delectable, to nibble on whilst we sipped our drinks. If you choose to be adventurous and try the experimental Artesian concoctions you will be given the clever wheel of cocktails chart, a bespoke butterfly themed menu from which to choose. Here the recipes are split up into categories dependant on flavour, strength and aroma: woody and deep, delicate and delicious, oriental and floral, fruity and refreshing, fresh and sexy and rich and aromatic.

We tried a variety, each one entirely different from the last both in taste and look. ‘Above & Beyond’ was an unforgettable revelation, a strong but balanced drink, it arrived with a collection of anecdotes. A plastic pillow that you are invited to burst and smell (a deep scent drifts from the plastic), and inside a little gift: a bag of worry dolls from a remote village in Guatemala! It was an intricate mix of flavours, apparently involving banana, coffee and Zacapa 23. I couldn’t discern any of these flavours instead it was a wonderfully balanced smokey and strong drink that soothed the throat. ‘Forever Young’ is inspired by The Story of Dorian Grey and is served behind a mirrored vessel with opium-scented incense. With eucalyptus, Grey Goose and maraschino as ingredients, it is refreshing and intriguing with a citrusy edge.

‘Perfume’ is a simpler drink, a winner for girls wishing to try something interesting but delicious. The Ketel one and Lillet Vetiver based cocktail is topped with an edible flower and perfumed paper. If you want to sample the menacing and tropical looking skull ask for an ‘Aqui Estoy’ which is part of the fruity and refreshing group.

We experienced a thrillingly delicious evening of cocktail mastery. Artesian Bar continues to experiment and explore cocktail creativity and definitely deserves the title of top cocktail bar.

More information here: www.artesian-bar.co.uk