Since the 1920s, London has been renowned for its cocktail bars, with many of them taking a top spot in the coveted ‘World’s 50 Best Bars’ list. So when it comes to getting a cocktail in the city, you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Many of the drinks are world-renowned, from the famous martini James Bond sipped in the 007 films, to Prince Wills & Kate’s (alleged) favorite party drink. Here BUCKiTDREAM gives you the ultimate bar crawl – six legendary London cocktails you just can’t leave the city without trying.
Start Straight-Up With a Twist, With a James Bond-Style Martini at Dukes Bar A, must for any die-hard Bond fans, this world-famous bar is said to be what inspired Sir Ian Fleming to think up James Bond’s signature martini and coined the famous phrase ‘shaken, not stirred’ way back in the 1950s. On ordering a Bond martini, you’ll get a little trolley wheeled over to your table, with spirits that have been taken straight out of the freezer. The cocktail is made with No. 3 gin, dry vermouth, and a lemon twist. Then, of course, shaken with ice (so it’s slightly diluted). But if you want it extra strong, go for stirred.
Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NY
Try a Royal Favorite at Nam Long La Shaker Located in the fancy Chelsea district, this bar is a popular party hangout for London’s most rich and famous. The place is renowned for its Flaming Ferrari cocktails, and allegedly Hugh Grant is a big fan, along with Wills & Kate, who, sources tell us, enjoyed a cheeky one on one of their last nights out on the party scene. The legendary drink is made with Green Chartreuse, Grand Marnier, dark rum and yellow chartreuse – it’s then set alight so that the whole top of the martini glass is one big blue flame – the aim of the game is to drink as much as you can through a straw while it’s on fire. Try this one at your own risk, guys!
159 Old Brompton Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0LJ
Sink the Famous Hanky Panky Cocktail Where It Was Invented – American Bar This cocktail is known the world over and was invented at London’s longest-standing cocktail bar, American Bar. The woman behind it was Eva Coleman, a famous bartender who headed up the place way back in the 1900s. Legend has it, she came up with the recipe on a whim when a famous actor (and regular) Sir Charles Hawtrey asked for a pick-me-up one night. He came back again the next night and said, “Could you make me some more of that Hanky Panky” and boom – name coined! Made with gin, sweet vermouth few dashes of Fernet Branca and an orange twist – a sippable little piece of British history.
The Savoy Hotel, 100 Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
Stir Up Some Trouble at One Of the World’s Best Bars – The Connaught The Connaught is another of London’s most famous cocktail bars – known across the globe for their martinis (back in 2010 they were named the World’s Best Cocktail Bar at the industry-famous Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards). Unlike James Bond’s Dukes Bar, the martinis here are always quietly stirred, and never shaken. Made with premium gin or vodka and a unique vermouth from Italy that is only available at The Connaught.
Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL
For Goodness Sake, Take a Shakey Pete’s Ginger Brew at Hawksmoor, Spitalfields This cocktail is becoming a bit of a legend in the city, invented in 2012 by Pete Jeary (otherwise known as Shaky Pete) and it’s stuck around on the Hawksmoor menu ever since. What you’ve got here is a turbo shandy with gin, ginger and London Pride ale – this is a real British drink. Served in a chunky beer glass, it’s a great way to sort out any hangovers too, along with one of Hawksmoor’s famous steaks.
157A Commercial St, London E1 6BJ
Demolish a Deconstructed Bloody Mary at 69 Colebrooke Row After trying all of these lip-licking libations, you’ll be in need of a good old hair of the dog. This cool little cocktail bar does an interesting hangover cure. Called the Prairie Oyster – originally invented in the American Bar (above) during World War II. The classic drink features an egg yolk dumped in a mixture of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, salt, and pepper. But this inventive cocktail lab has come up with a modern twist – re-clarifying tomato juice and turning it into a jelly-like yolk, where it sits in a mix of horseradish vodka, green tea, spice mix, and “oyster leaf” herbs, served in a custom-made ceramic oyster shell – a great one for your Instagram feed.
69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA