Itchy's Top 5 Cocktail Bars in London
Five of the most memorable cocktail bars in London
69 Colebrook Row - Spitfire (£9.50)
This classic twist on the New York Sour is a crowd pleaser and the most popular order in this intimate bar. Crowd pleasing can sometimes mean being merely inoffensive but its the quality of its ingredients that make the Spitfire really memorable. The House Merlet Cognac is made especially for 69 Colebrook, and the delicate white peach puree is made in their laboratory tucked away behind the bar. It is quality that gives this drink its real impact and bestows it its popularity.
Shochu Lounge - Mawashi Geri (£9.00)
Mawashi Geri is a translation of ‘spin kick’ and the use of schuchimi pepper syrup and Japanese whisky provides a really interesting boot to the mouth. Yet it isn’t so spicy as to be overbearing and the whisky itself is much more subtle than some of its Western counterparts, so there’s no need to be intimidated by its presence. The whole drink is cooled by a hunk of ice that is chopped from a bar top ice block with a sword. Both that, the drink and the bar itself may well be over the top, but all have enough sophistication and intrigue to pull it off.
Kensington Rooftop Gardens - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (£12.50)
It was impossible to tell whether it was the cocktail that enamoured Itchy, or whether we would fall in love with anything drunk whilst on this stunning rooftop bar. However it speaks volumes that even when standing in the moonlit garden, this drink still stood out as breathtaking. This blend of strawberries, fresh mint and passion fruit pulp all muddled together with a shot of tequila and then topped up with champagne is potentially lethal, but also delicious, elegant and worthy of the surroundings.
Bread Street Kitchen - Bread Street Passion (£9.00)
This Gordon Ramsay bar provided us with the best cocktail we tried in the whole of London. It uses chilli infused Tequila and Cointreau, shaken with passion fruit and lime. Served with a whole chilli slice, it is as spicy as it looks, but the passion fruit cuts through leaving a delicious warm sensation. Just don’t make the error of trying to get every last drop of the yummy cocktail and end up with that whole slice of chilli landing squarely on your tongue... (Seriously. Ouch.)
Freuds - Bloody Mary (£6.50)
Itchy's first impression of this bohemian family-run bar near Covent Garden was following someone through the door where they exclaimed, ‘Jesus, is this place ever not busy?’ Even on a Tuesday night there was a shortage of seats and the friendly crowd buzzed at the bar to choose from a long list of reasonably priced cocktails. What makes this Bloody Mary so good is that unlike other bars who emphasised serving it in a goblet or with an entire celery stick, the focus here was entirely the taste, with subtle spicing, a smooth blend of spirits and a hearty serving. This unpretentious cocktail tasted as this classic should; no fuss, just an appetising blend in a charming bar.