Autumn cocktails at TwoRuba

It’s getting cold and crisp outside, and the weekend’s almost there…

You know what that mean – time’s just right for some Autumn cocktails.

Luckily, I know just the place.

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Nestled inside the Hilton London Tower Bridge hotel, TwoRuba’s¬†has quite the reputation for serving the best¬†crafted cocktails in the area.

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Their new autumn menu definitely holds up to that reputation.

Filled with expertly crafted seasonal creations and twists on the classics, it’s filled with¬†perfectly balanced and innovative¬†concoctions.

And when it comes to naming their creative elixirs, the team doesn’t shy away from a good pun – just the way to my heart!

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

So what will it be?

Scary Mary? Autumn Lady (a gin sour with a ginger kick) ? Or the ever elusive, unicorn-worthy Rainbow cocktail?

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Orange juice, grenadine, vodka and curaçao, beautifully layered into a tall glass.

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

And garnished with delicate flowers to create the most ranunculus-ly gorgeous drink I’ve ever seen.

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Having tried my hands at recreating the above wonder, I can confirm it’s not quite as easy as¬†the pros make it¬†seem.

TwoRuba ‚óŹ London cocktail bar ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

So better leave it to¬†TwoRuba’s¬†to make your fall Fridays rainbow and unicorns kind of days!

TwoRuba, Hilton London Tower Bridge, 5 Tooley St, London SE1 2BY

More things to do by the River

A walk along the Thames

Exploring London’s Bankside

Padella

Shopping at the Borough Market

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Autumn cocktails at TwoRuba

London’s Dry Martini Bar

Hidden at the heart of the rather unassuming M√©lia White House Hotel, London’s Dry Martini Bar is a cocktail bar like no other and a must visit for Bond-wannabes and true martini lovers alike.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

The first of its name in the UK, this unique bar pulls together the sophistication of the marble-clad hotel and the traditions and heritage the Dry Martini Bar trademark is built upon.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

The Meliá White House was built in 1936 and was originally launched as The White House luxury apartments. The hotel’s building still preserves its architectural value as a prime example of late 1930s architecture.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Mélia White House boasts an eclectic style, where contemporary design meets classic.

The area hosting London’s Dry Martini Bar, with its resolutely modern Spanish surrealist art selection, art deco stylings and blues and rock soundtrack, illustrates this perfectly.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

But the true gem in the room is the bar itself.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Inspired by¬†the glamourous¬†1920s, with its leather chairs and polished brass details, it’s a jewel in its own right.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

And a really well stocked one at that!

Dozens of whiskies, about as many rum varieties…

And enough bottles of gin & vodka to make any martini lover’s head spin with the endless possibilities opening to them…

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

The perfect spot for the ultimate Martini-mixing lesson*!

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Under the watchful eye of bar manager and expert mixologist Diego Cruz, we take turn behind the bar to stir the perfect classic Martini.

Which is much more work that the simple-looking cocktail might let you think.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

First, fill a cocktail mixing glass with ice. Use a bar spoon to swirl it around a few times to cool it down.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Remove the excess water.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Pour in a double measure of your poison of choice (this would be mine, in case you were wondering)…

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Add a few drops of sweet vermouth and stir carefully with a bar spoon.

Make sure not to bang the ice to much as this would result in a more diluted Martini, miles away from the potent, botanical-heavy beast a proper dry martini is.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Strain through a Hawthorne strainer into a clean, chilled martini glass.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Up to the very last drop!

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Twist some lemon peel over the glass to express oils, then rub around rim of glass.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Garnish with the lemon peel or an olive.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Actually, if you’re mixing one for me, make it two olives.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

I like¬†my Martini like I like my men: with a pinch of salt, slightly dirty and concerned about preserving the environment, if only to make sure there’ll always be enough ice to mix a proper Martini whenever one’s necessary.

Dry Martini Bar London, Meliá White House, Albany St, London NW1 3UP

*I was invited to attend a Martini masterclass at London’s Dry Martini Bar by HotJoint, London’s latest food website, aiming at bringing together the capital’s foodies to tell the stories of the city‚Äôs best eating and drinking venues. A little bird tells me they’re planning many more fun events of that kind in the new year, so make sure you subscribe to their newsletter¬†to know what’s cooking!

London’s Dry Martini Bar

The Cinnamon Club

Was it the Colonel Mustar with the wrench in the library?

As I was perusing the cocktail menu while waiting for the Mr. to get to The Cinnamon Club for his birthday feast, Cluedo-themed flashbacks kept popping into my mind.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

And for good reasons, as Chef Vivek Singh’s flagship restaurant, an instution in the world of Indian fine dining, is set in the historic Grade II listed former Westminster Library.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Opened 15 years ago, The Cinnamon Club has a long history of serving innovative and creative Indian cuisine in a magnificently majestic setting.

And the restaurant’s bar is no exception and is an absolute heaven for book- and cocktail-lovers alike.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Books all round, old London maps, beautiful, plush chairs in deep-blue, elegant charcoal and vibrant yellow shades…

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

… and stunning cocktails to match!

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Pisco Punch (turmeric-infused pisco, herbal liqueur, lemon juice, pineapple syrup & preserved pineapple)

Refreshing, tropical but not too sweet, it’s¬†the perfect drink for the season!

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

The Cinnamon Club’s signature cocktail, the Affinity (Mango infused Scotch whisky, sweet and dry vermouth, herbal liqueur, bitters) was an even bigger hit as it was perfectly mixed and just the right balance of strength and sweetness.

The perfect start to any celebration if you ask me!

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Shortly after, we were led to our table in the restaurant’s main dining room.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

And what a stunning room it is indeed: massive, luxurious yet so restrained, it’s the perfect backdrop to highlight both the building’s stunning features and Chef Vivek’s incredible modern Indian cuisine.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

The perfect spot to get lost into a good book…

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

…or, you know, a good menu!

Soon after, the table started getting covered in fragrant plates.

As soon as we finished one, another immediately appeared in its place.

Much like having dinner in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’s enchanted library, really.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

First things first, more cocktails and some Champagne!

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

The amuse-bouche of the day, a cube of rice sponge (similar to South Indian Idli if only a bit more dry) with tomato chutney and other bits…

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Super moist & succulent Reshmi kebab of Norfolk free range chicken, with excellent yoghurt raita & coriander chutney.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

But the star of the whole evening was the dish that made us book a table in the first place after tasting it earlier this year at Taste of London: the restaurant’s signature¬†Smoked Herdwick lamb fillet and galouti kebab mille feuille.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Layers of delicately spiced mince lamb meat, seared lamb fillet & velvety lamb kebab, with picked vegetables, raita & coriander chutney.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

An extremely technical dish, where every element was cooked to perfection and came together to form one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.

So good in fact that the Mr. said he couldn’t get a better version of that same dish anywhere in India (and he’s really demanding¬†when it comes to kebabs, so that’s really saying something!)

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

There was also Black lentil Makhani dal, which was very nicely spiced if only a touch too ‘bit-ey’.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Mopped up with sweet, soft Garlic naan (what else?)

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Tandoori breast of Anjou squab pigeon, tawa mince of legs, black stone flower reduction

Juicy, pink pigeon breast, strong, almost offal-y mince, served alongside a generous quenelle of velvety, spicy mash, it was a lovely combination that could only have been improved by a bit more of the aromatic sauce on the plate…

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Roast saddle of Romney Marsh lamb, corn sauce, pickled root vegetables, masala cashew nut

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

An unexpected combination that worked wonders, carried by eye-rollingly good lamb (I actually did) and subtle spicing across the plate.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + WhiskyThe Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Another shining example of The Cinnamon Club’s chefs way with lamb, and a beautiful combination with a glass of dry Bourgogne wine.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + WhiskyThe Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Pudding came with a bit of flamb√©-ing tableside show…

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Baked Jalandhar, an Indian-inspired take on the classic Baked Alaska.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + WhiskyThe Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

With layers of thandai (a traditional drink combining almonds, fennel seeds, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar), saffron and carrot halwa ice cream topped with spiced meringue and set on fire before your very own eyes!

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

The ultimate exotic show-stopper of a pudding!

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least, Green cardamom brulée with rose petal biscotti.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + WhiskyThe Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Silky smooth, with a good cardamom taste and a thin layer of caramelised sugar on top, it was everything a good brulée should be.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

The birthday treat, complimentary Lassi panna cotta was also perfectly crafted.

Light, creamy & jiggle-y, it’s the perfect pudding for those times you wish you could manage pudding but aren’t sure you actually can.

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

Encouraged by the attentive and truly hospitable team, we linguered over chocolate truffle petits fours (and a sneaky little glass of sticky Pedro Ximenez) until late in the night.

Chatting, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

The very best way to celebrate your nearest & dearest special day, and I cannot recommend The Cinnamon Club enough, especially for a special occasion.

It is not cheap, but considering the quality of the food, the drinks and the service, as well as the stunning venue and felted atmosphere, it’s well worth it and I garantee you’ll leave feeling like a Maharajah!

The Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BU

PIN FOR LATER:

The Cinnamon Club | Cake + Whisky

The Cinnamon Club

Basement Sate Dessert & Cocktail Bar

A party without cake is really just a meeting.

And birthday meetings aren’t really a thing, so cake was most definitely needed after our Bao feast.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Dessert bars are having a bit of a revival in London, and Basement Sate was one of the trend-setters.

Created by two friends who love well made drinks, decadent desserts and meaningful music in equal parts.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Inspired by the revival of Soho, they created a place where people can sate (= satisfy (a desire or an appetite) to the full) themself in an informal and social setting, and where the music is as vibrant as the cocktails & desserts.

Cocktails + dessert it was then!

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Little Japan for the Mr.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

An unusual but intoxicating mix of Japanese whisky, artichoke liqueur and sweet vermouth.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

El Pampa (pisco, almond & champagne syrup, granny smith juice) for me.

… and then the puds!

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

The Hazelnut Rocher.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

A Ferrero-inspired wonder combining hazelnut praline brownie, chocolate espuma, milk chocolate sphere, dark gianduja, caramelised hazelnuts, chocolate caviar and caramelia pearls.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Between smashing the chocolate dome¬†& all the endorphins, it’d be a delicious cure for a bad day (and the perfect way to make a good one eve better!)

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

And then there was fruit.

Cocktail-inspired fruit-based pud’, that is…

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

The beautiful, zesty & exotic Bitter Orange.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Basically a Negroni in dessert-shape, with white and pink grapefruit jelly, gin-infused rhubarb wind, vanilla poached rhubarb, chocolate crumble & orange sponge cake.

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Creative desserts & cocktails, Basement Sate definitely lived up to the expectation and is the perfect venue for any special celebration (or any time you want to treat the sweet-toothed in your life!)

Only one thing left to say: ‘Pip Pip Hooray, it (was) my birthday’

Basement Sate, 8 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1F 8HN

PIN FOR LATER:

Basement Sate | Cake + Whisky

Basement Sate Dessert & Cocktail Bar

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester

Manchester is a great city by day, but it only comes truly alive at night.

Famous across the country for its buzzy nightlife and eclectic music scene, Mancurian bars & clubs are second to none and a visit to one of the city’s top cocktail bars ¬†is an absolute weekend must-do.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter is full of¬†great places to spend the night, but top of my list is Dusk til Pawn.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Find the big ‘Pawn Shop’ sign in the window and make a beeline for¬†one of Manchester’s coolest speakeasy bars.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Popular with locals and visitors alike, Dusk til Pawn is famous for both its creative cocktail menu & its great atmosphere.

Dusk til Pawn MCR 14

… not to mention its impressive liquor collection (and that’s not even all of it!)!

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Grab a seat at the bar, pick your poison and watch in awe as the bartenders work their magic, stirring, mixing and shaking glass after glass of delicious creations for you to taste.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Favourites included The Sinnerman (Bourbon, cinnamon, cherry juice)

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

The Bail Bond (House celery gin, elderflower, rosemary, tonic)

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

The Brass Ball (Whisky, marmelade, ginger, bitters)

Make sure you also order ‘A Million Dollars’.

You might not end up quite as rich as you’d expect, but you certainly are in for a treat…

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

… And a bit of a show!

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Let the oak smoke infuse into the barrel-aged fig old fashioned for as long as you can bare it.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Then delight in the strong smokey notes, balancing perfectly against the sweetness of the fig.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Another highlight was the Diamond Glove (Gin, rhubarb, rosemary, grapefruit).

And even if you’re late to make it for your¬†restaurant reservation (#truestory), you must have a Hustle (oh, the irony!)

Dusk til Pawn MCR 20

Combining house plum gin, bail, lime and pomegranate, it’s one of the most surprising cocktails I’ve ever tasted.

Quite¬†worth the risk of ending up without a table¬†to be honest…

So whether you live there all year round or are just visiting for a couple of days, make sure you include Dusk til Pawn into your Manchester weekend plans.

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

 

And in case you were wondering, yes, we did make it in time for our dinner booking in the end.

But that my friends is a (burger full) story for another day (tomorrow)…

 

Dusk til Pawn, Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 1FB  

Dusk til Pawn, Manchester