Not only does the Big Smoke boast some of the best cocktail bars in the world, but many a classic was actually created by the bartenders working in them. Here are our favourite London-born beverages!
1. The Breakfast Martini
The Breakfast Martini was invented by legendary bartender Salvatore Calabrese while he was working at the Library Bar at the The Lanesborough Hotel. This tasty gin cocktail was inspired by his English wife, whose preferred breakfast was marmalade on toast. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day …
Photo: Salvatore Calabrese
15ml fresh lemon juice
1 full teaspoon of thin cut orange marmalade
Orange peel to garnish
1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and stir to dissolve the marmalade. Fill with ice.
2. Shake and strain mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Shred some orange peel on the top of the drink as garnish.
2. The Collins
Created by bartender John Collins in the mid-19th century, The Collins is a twist on a classic gin punch, one of the most popular cocktails at the time. This classic drink made its debut in the tony neighbourhood of Mayfair, and was once celebrated in a limerick poem:
My name is John Collins,
head waiter at Limmer's,
Corner of Conduit Street,
My chief occupation is filling
For all the young gentlemen
Photo: Culinary Ginger
1. Add the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
2. Add ice to a highball glass and pour the mixture over the ice.
3. Top up with soda water and garnish with lemon and maraschino cherry.
25ml lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
3. The Vesper Martini
This is probably London’s most famous cocktail, created in the bar of Duke’s Hotel in the 1950s for James Bond author, Ian Fleming. Fleming loved the drink so much he included it in Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel, and named it after the secret agent Vesper Lynd, Bond’s tragic paramour.
1. Combine the gin, vodka and vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well.
2. Serve in a Martini glass with a twist of lemon.
4. The Bramble
Created in London in 1984, the Bramble was the brainchild of bartender Dick Bradsell, who worked at the famed Fred’s Club in Soho. Bradsell wanted to create a British cocktail inspired by his memories of blackberrying on the Isle of Wight; hence, the Bramble was born.
1. Add gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and ice to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
2. Add crushed ice to a tumbler style glass and strain the shaker contents over the ice.
3. Drizzle the crème de cassis over the cocktail and garnish with blackberries and lemon slice.
30ml lemon juice
15ml crème de cassis
15ml sugar syrup
3 fresh blackberries
1 lemon slice
5. The Hanky-Panky
The Hanky-Panky cocktail was created by Ada Coleman – or "Coley", as she was fondly known – in 1903, while she was working as a bartender in the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel. Ada first made this cocktail for Sir Charles Hawtrey, the English actor and director who, after draining the glass, proclaimed "By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!"
Photo: Mix That Drink
1. Stir ingredients well in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
2. Twist a small slither of orange peel over the surface of the drink to garnish.
40ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Fernet Branca bitters
1 orange twist