Cocktail Hour

Cin Cin! Thank goodness we no longer have to cheers ourselves in the mirror. No, we can now go out for a proper drink. And we don’t mean a pint in a beer garden. We want a cosy, dimly-lit bar with a bit of glamour un-dampened by rain. We want to wear something other than a puffer coat. But where to go? Here’s a reminder of some of our favourite bars around town.

Best for Martinis: Duke’s is the classic option – the martinis are so strong you’re not actually allowed to order more than two. The new kid on the block is the Noilly Prat terrace at Sussex in Soho. Go for Martini cocktails and freshly-shucked oysters.

The Berkeley Bar

Best for Champagne Cocktails: It’s hard to beat London’s old school hotel bars. Claridge’s Bar is a classic for champagne. We rate the French 75s at The Connaught where you want to be in the back bar rather than the Coburg Bar at the front. The Berkeley Bar and Terrace was recently refurbed, book The Snug to have the powder-puff banquette to yourself. And maybe it’s Mitford fever, but we wouldn’t be adverse to a glass at Searcy’s St Pancras Champagne Bar before hopping on a train to Paris.

Best for Margaritas: Dalston’s Hacha is London’s first Agaveria. The must-try is the award-winning Mirror Margarita that looks clear like water but don’t be deceived. This week Soho House’s West Hollywood Mexican restaurant, Maya opened up in London at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. Think rooftop views and plenty of mezcal and tequila-based cocktails.

Smokey Kudu

Best for Classic Cocktails with a Twist: We’re huge fans of Smokey Kudu, Peckham’s first upscale cocktail bar. Drinks have a South African twist; try the Afro Twinkle and the Queens Road Sours. Old Street’s Tayēr + Elementary is another place shaking things up. The more casual front bar, Elementary offers pre-mixed cocktails on tap from just £7.50, whilst the back Tayēr section is more experimental with an ambitious changing cocktail menu.

Bar Termini

Best for Negroni and Spritzes: Bar Termini is perfect. Espresso, cocktails, plates of prosciutto crudo – Rome by way of Soho. The new Eataly next to Liverpool Street station has all the Italian cocktails you could hope for from Bellini to Limoncello spritz.

Best for Gin & Tonic: The Gin Bar at Holborn’s Rosewood is a G&T paradise with over 500 bottles. Sit at a glamorous copper-topped bar. Mr Foggs’ Gin Parlour is fun and kitsch.

Best for Stay-at-Home Cocktails: Lockdown has really upped the delivery game, and not just for food. The best cocktails we’ve found come from Swift who translated their menu to at-home pouches – think Elderflower Gimlets and Smoky Old Fashioned’s. And for an alternative to Seedlip, we’re loving the new Sprigster from Pythouse in Wiltshire. A botanical shrub aperitif it’s made with five ingredients sourced from the garden – and can be mixed into dry non-alcoholic version of a G&T.

Cocktail Kit

This drinks trolley is made from alu-rattan meaning it has a strong aluminium frame and can be kept and used outdoors. Roll onto the terrace for cocktail hour, £856 from Skandium

For an indoor rattan drinks trolley we like this Carlo Bar, £481 from Fabiia

Art Deco style drinks trolley, £330 from Maisons du Monde

These are very good Martini glasses, £40 for a set of 4 from LSA

Manzanilla olives for the perfect Dirty Martini and silverskin onions to slip into a Gibson. £2.95 from Harvey Nichols

Hand-blown tumblers available for pre-order now, £28 from Bias Editions

Pink Bon Bon glass, £298 from Helle Mardahl

Handblown Italian circus glasses, £45 from Edition 94

Chiara Double Old Fashioned glasses, £12 from Anthropologie

Champagne couples by the Dutch brand &klevering, £19 from Arket

Brass sintra server, £175 from Aerin

Proper maraschino cherries, £10.95 from Harvey Nichols

Fortnum’s have 20% off summer tipples from 17-31 May 2021, with an extra 10% off if you buy a case. Get ready for a summer of spritzes with this Italian sparkler case, £195 for 12 bottles including delivery from Fortnum & Mason

— Daisy Allsup
19th May 2021