Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar

Once upon a time, in the heart of London, there was a magical cocktail bar called St James Bar.

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

Inspired by Coco Chanel’s 1920’s Paris appartment, it was aluxurious and elegant place, with a dark marble bar, velvet seats and painted paneling.

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

The bar itself was a bit of an alchemist’s den and hosted a myriad of little vials.

Bitters, shrubs, syrups and liquors lined up on mirror shelves, each a key component for the fairy tale cocktails concocted by the gifted team of bartenders.

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

The cocktail menu, taking inspiration from classic tales, read like a fables’ book and making a choice was no easy fate.

Should I follow Peter to Neverland or Pinocchio in his mischievious adventures?

Should I watch in awe as Belle’s & the Beast’s love unfold before my eye or join Alice in her race with the White Rabbit?

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + WhiskyFairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

But in the end, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so it had to be the Satine’s Dilemna.

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + WhiskyFairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

Combining sweet and sour flavours, this subtly floral cocktail arrived topped with red rose petals and an edible diamond.

Just like it’s namesake, it’s entrance definitely made an impression!

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

A heavenly mix of Botanist gin, rose syrup, plum bitters, lemon juice, homemade grape shrub and bitter foam.

And just like Satine’s aspirations, it’s perfectly balanced.

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

My second choice was a bit wilder – but that’s just how life is when you’re a Lost Boy Girl!

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

A playful take on the classic Negroni, the Fear O’ Clock  is a great representation of the story of the boy who doesn’t want to grow up.

Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar, London / Cake + Whisky

And on that note, tick-tock, time’s up!

Race you to St James Bar for Friday celebratory cocktails?

St James Bar at Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Pl, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4AN

More on cocktails

A British Cocktail Masterclass at Hixter

Autumn Cocktails at TwoRuba

Cocktails & Magic at Mr Fogg’s

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Fairy Tale Cocktails at St James Bar

Mulled Wine Inspired Christmas Martini

‘Tis the season for Christmas parties & a little festive tipple!

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

And in that field, things don’t get any better than a tangy Christmas Martini.

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

I first tried them at the Borough Kitchen Christmas press do, and they immediately became a seasonal staple.

They are a modern take on traditional mulled wine and a real Christmas cracker of a drinks recipe!

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Super easy, quick and completely delicious, I have it on good authority that Mr & Mrs Claus enjoy a few of these on the run up to Christmas eve.

Just make sure you drink them responsibly… ‘elf & safety first, promise?!

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

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More festive inspiration & recipes

The A to Z of Christmas in London

Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls

Christmas orange salad (VE)

DIY Christmas bingo cards

Mulled Wine Inspired Christmas Martini

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside

Bankside is one of my favourite parts of London.

Home to the fantastic Borough Market and some of my favourite restaurants in the city, Bankside is a fantastic destination for dinner and weekend meanderings alike.

And in October, things are getting even more exciting along the Lowline with the launch of the Bankside School of Food and Wine!

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

To celebrate Bankside’s emerging food scene, various venues are holding a range of food and drink workshops.

From doughnut making to butchery classes, chocolate workshops and mixology lessons, there’s a lot to choose from.

But you know me, I’m never one to say no to a good cocktail!

Which is how I found myself in Mark’s Bar at Hixter Bankside for a hands-on British cocktail masterclass.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

After a Hix Fix (a delicious mix of cherry liquor and English sparkling wine and the best selling cocktail across all Hix restaurants) on arrival, it was time to get down to cocktail-mixing business!

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

First things first – a quick refresher on the history of cocktails, must-know techniques used in cocktail making and of course, the provenance of the spirits!

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Much like for the food, the approach to cocktail making focuses on local, seasonal ingredients such as Black Cow vodka – the world’s only Pure Milk Vodka™.

Made entirely from the milk of grass grazed cows in West Dorset, it makes for an exceptionally smooth vodka with a unique creamy character.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

After eagerly tucking into delicious bar snax (the signature Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers is an absolute must-order!), it was time to recreate some of Mark’s Bar’s renowned cocktails.

First up on the cocktail menu – the Dorset Donkey (a British take on the classic Moscow Mule).

Made with the freshest seasonal produce (blueberries in the summer, blackberries in fall and preserved Morello cherries in the colder months), it’s a great drink to mix for impromptu guests any time of the year.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

All you have to do is crush a couple of Morello cherries and sage leaves at the bottom of a highball glass.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + WhiskyA British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Top with 20ml lime juice, 50ml Black Cow vodka, 10ml cherry brandy and 15ml honey or sugar syrup.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Fill the highball glass with ice cubes.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Top with ginger ale.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + WhiskyA British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Garnish with a Morello cherry and 2 sage leaves and you’re all done!

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Substitute the sage for orange peel, add a cinnamon stick and you’ll have yourself a smashing Christmas cocktail.

The perfect way to get into the holiday spirits!

Unless of course you’re more of an Espresso martini kind of gal/guy!

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

I have it on good authority that Mark’s Bar serves one of the best in London.

So might as well learnt from the masters!

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

It’s actually not that difficult either.

For 1 glass, you’ll need:

  • 50ml Black Cow vodka
  • 50ml fresh ground coffee or a double espresso
  • 35ml honey or sugar syrup
  • coffee beans to garnish

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Pour all the ingredients into the smaller half of a shaker, add cubed ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

Strain into a champagne coupe and garnish with three coffee beans.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside ● Cake + Whisky

A brew-tiful drink indeed and one well worth learning for yourself!

A inspirational gift or a unique way to celebrate Christmas with colleagues (beats the canapé buffet anyday!), Hixter’s British Cocktail Masterclass will whisky any cocktail lover away! (just remember to book ahead!)

Mark’s Bar at Hixter Bankside, 16 Great Guildford St, London SE1 0HS

*I attended the Hixter cocktail masterclass as a guest of the restaurant and Better Bankside. All words, pictures and love of eau de vie marinated cherries my own.

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside

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 ● London cocktail bar ● 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 ● London cocktail bar ● Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ● London cocktail bar ● 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 ● London cocktail bar ● 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 ● London cocktail bar ● Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ● London cocktail bar ● Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ● London cocktail bar ● Cake + Whisky

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

TwoRuba ● London cocktail bar ● Cake + Whisky

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

TwoRuba ● London cocktail bar ● Cake + WhiskyTwoRuba ● London cocktail bar ● 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 ● London cocktail bar ● 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

Autumn cocktails at TwoRuba

Cocktails and Magic at Mr Fogg’s

We all like to pretend that adulting is all glam n’ brunch – but the truth is, it’s more, as the French say, metro-boulot-dodo.

But when the daily routine gets too much, I know the perfect spot to escape it all…

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

Welcome to Mr Fogg’s, the Mayfair home of the fictional Victorian explorer of the name.

Stuffed to the gunnels with stuffed animals, hunting rifles, flags, maps and all sorts of bits and pieces Phileas alledgedly collected on his travels.

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

As it so happens, Mr Fogg’s is also home to some of the most creative cocktail masters in London – and quite the selection of spirits!

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + WhiskyA curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

The latest addition to that impressive collection: the brand new, retro confectionary inspired Mr. Gladstone’s Curious Emporium fusion beverage range.

Think Rhubarb & Custard, Pear Drop, Pineapple Cube and Strawberry Bon Bon meet wine.

Playful and quirky, the new range is right at home at Mr Fogg’s!

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

If you have quite the sweet tooth, you’ll love them simply poured over ice.

If you like your drinks to be bit more tart, mix them with soda or tonic water.

You can also take it one step further and add a few secret ingredients to create your own extraordinary concoctions!

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

My favourite?

The Lushington Bazoo – a dangerous yet delicious combination of Russian standard Platinum vodka, raspberry puree & fresh lemon juice, topped up with Mr Gladstone’s Curious Emporium Rhubarb & Custard.

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A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

Berry nice indeed… and even better served with a side of magic tricks!

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + WhiskyA curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

Traveling cards, disappearing foam balls… this guy just aced it all!

A curious evening of cocktails and magic at Mr Fogg's • Cake + Whisky

Curious cocktails, great company and a bit of (non-compulsory) magic… the perfect way to shake up your daily routine!

Cocktails and Magic at Mr Fogg’s

A Taste of Summer – The perfect G&T

When life gives you Summer, you better have G&Ts at the ready!

Introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India, Gin & Tonic is the perfect drink for when the weather’s hot and the sun is shining.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

Zesty, refreshing and -most importantly- super easy to make, which is just as well, because in that heat, the least there is between you and a cold drink, the better.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

G&Ts are the ultimate no-sweat cocktail -1 part gin to 3 parts tonic (better measure to taste), with a squeeze of lime for good measure (and extra freshness).

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

It’s the perfect drink to make for one or a crowd – just make it in a pitcher, pour over ice and go wild with the garnishes.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

From the classic citrus twists and wedges, to delicate edible flowers, cucumber ribbons ‘a la Hendrick’s’, fresh herbs a little sprinkle of cracked black pepper…

That’s where the magic of the humble G&T truly is – it’s so simple, yet there are so many possibilities.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

That said, I can’t ima-gin any better version than the pink gin and tonic below!

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Want to brush up on your botanicals? Besides its limited-edition Taste of Summer cocktail menu (including the above Pink Gin and Tonic recipe under the lovely name of ‘Lavender Vida Loca’) , Drake & Morgan is offering a series of complimentary mixology masterclasses at selected bars & restaurants across London.

The ultimate chance to learn the tricks of the trade whilst sipping on classic and contemporary creations!

Masterclasses will run from 6-8pm according to the following calendar:
31st May – The Happenstance – Ocho Tequila with Jesse Estes
7th June – C&B devonshire Terrace – Gobernador Pisco with Chris Dennis
14th June – The Otherist – QuiQuiRiQui Mescal with Melanie Symonds
21st June – C&B Lime Street – Gin Mare with Sarah Moorhead
28th June – The Refinery CityPoint – Capucana Cachaca with Tom Blay
5th July – The Happennstance – Ocho Tequila & QuiQuiRiQui Mescal with Tom Blay
19th July – C&B Devonshire Terrace – Campari with Joseph St Clair Ford

To book your place, please email stuart.cambell@drake-morgan.co.uk & let the good time be-gin!

A Taste of Summer – The perfect G&T

London’s Dry Martini Bar

Hidden at the heart of the rather unassuming Mélia 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’s 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