The COLD Bar, situated just off Fleet Street and boasting over 200 gins, is yet another one of those speak-easy style cocktail bars which has been popping up around the capital for the past couple of years. Candles? Check. Quirky décor and antiques? Check. Impeccably dressed barmen? Check.
Don’t get me wrong, I like all of those things, but there are plenty of other places that fit the bill. But there’s a little extra something which sets the COLD bar apart; the massive fuck-off copper working still in the middle of the room.
We sat at the bar, mainly to admire the number of gin bottles on the back bar, but also to watch the barmen at work. I tried their signature Martini, complete with grapefruit peel, which was strong, warming and delicious. Highly recommended. For an exceptional choice of gins (although their own-brand is worth a try, too) in the square mile, look no further.
Does The Alchemist make the world’s best Martini? Well, no, probably not. The drink I had wasn’t even called a Martini, for a start, but it was – and I don’t say this lightly – abso-bloody-lutely delicious.
Famed for it’s clever cocktail making and fancy techniques (it’s amazing how thrilled one can be by the novelty factor of dry ice in a drink, don’tcha know?), The Alchemist is a gimmicky cocktail bar. Fun and different, sure, but it’s built a reputation on magic and glamour. I decided to shun the fancy stuff and go for something simple when we visited the London branch of The Alchemist recently.
Something fancy with dry ice and Chambord
The White Martinez is a heady blend of Hayman’s Old Tom (40%), stirred with lemon bitters, Gancia Bianco Vermouth, and garnished with lemon peel. Delicate citrus flavours lifted the sweetness of the gin and created something pretty special. Given half the chance, I’d have guzzled 12. Highly recommended for something a little lighter on the palette than a regular dry gin Martini with a twist.
I’ve been cheating.
I’ve been cheating on my good, old reliable chum, gin, with a dark, classy, mysterious mistress. In short, dear reader, I am addicted to Espresso Martinis.
That would be two parts vodka and two parts espresso to one part Kahlua, in case you’re wondering. Shaken vigorously over ice. Espresso beans optional.
The last time I ordered one, my friend looked in in mock-horror that I hadn’t ordered something gin-based, which made me wonder, would gin in an Espresso Martini work? My heart says ‘HELL no, you mad woman’, but my head says ‘errrm, remember Hotel Chocolat’s Cocoa Gin?’
Watch this space.