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What's Your Tipple?

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Sypped is the official website for wine and spirits journalist and personality, Adrian Smith. For your dose of wine, spirits, food and lifestyle inspiration, look no further!

Filtering by Tag: cocktails

Sweet&Chilli’s Nine Lives Bar

This summer the established drinks agency, Sweet&Chilliis set to launch a neighborhood bar in East London, and you’re invited. The bar, called Nine Liveswill feature original cocktails, an inviting atmosphere—and like most of the bar operations Sweet&Chilli represents—great music. Since 2002, founders Allan Gage, Emma Hutchinson and Tom Soden, have extended their creative event planning across the Drinks industry. Their award-winning team of Drink experts team together from their global offices in London and Sydney, to develop specialized campaigns and to consult brands on product development. Sweet&Chilli was founded on the belief that every drink should be enjoyed as it was intended. Years later, this philosophy continues to impact and expand their marketing initiatives worldwide.

 

When it came to naming Nine Lives, Sweet&Chilli decided to imbue their project goals with the company philosophy. And so, Nine Lives is re-defining cocktail culture with its sustainable, no-waste movement. Music plays from a re-purposed beautiful rig, old recipes are reinvented and ingredients are reused to reduce waste (and fertilize their backyard herb garden). The name speaks to an “ethos of salvation” that is also reflected in the bar’s design and relaxed overall vibe. The décor is old-fashioned and eclectic: woven lampshades and hanging plants subtly surround you. Even the expertly trained bartenders, clad in re-purposed vintage uniforms, are part of the package. Somewhere near London Bridge, in an unassuming Victorian basement on Holyrood Street, Sweet&Chilli’s Nine Lives Bar has opened its ceiling high balustrade and uncompromising ethos, to you.

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The Purple Bar, Smith & Sinclair Edition

You enter the room, surrounded by a plush purple dream that spreads across the wall, almost like an illusion. Warmth and comfort instantly embrace your mind, heart and soul as you melt into the comfortable seating before your imbibe experience begins. 

This isn't just any cocktail menu, it's a carefully crafted bespoke experience that will make your eyes gaze in wonder as things happen that you have never quite experienced before. The boundaries of mixology are pushed to a new level as edible cocktails, perfumes, vapors and dust become the new norm. It's like Alice in Wonderland meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all wrapped up in one. 

The experience itself includes everything from flavour and colour enhancing cocktails that change as you drink them, to scented alcoholic lollipops, jellies and even booze themed dib-dabs for those who seek even more adventure. If that wasn't enough for you there's even a festive-infused vapour that will instantly transport your mind, body and soul to a Winter pine forest as you close your eyes and inhale. 

The pop-up itself is situated in the famous Sanderson hotel, long known for its bespoke and eloquent service. This partnership offers something never previously experienced within the London cocktail scene and allows those who like a little more 'play' in their lives to have some fun, let loose and enjoy some seriously good cocktails. 


Drink:           8/10
Service:       8/10
Price:            $$$
 

 

Painting the Roses Red
Tequila, Campari, Lime, Clementine Juice, Agave, Hibiscus, Chili and Ginger Ale
Paying tribute to Sanderson’s take on an Alice in Wonderland theme, the holiday classic Tequila Sunrise is given a Queen of Hearts makeover served with an edible playing card

Violet You're Turning Violet
Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Triple Sec, Violet Liqueur
Bringing back memories of Parma violets, don't let your eyes deceive you with this playful twist on an Aviation that changes colour

Summer Leftovers
Vodka, St Germain, Triple Sec, Lemon, Aperol
The last tastes of summer are captured in a burst of fruit and floral, served with an edible perfume pairing for “sweeteningto taste

Rose Gold
Gin, Rosé, Campari, ‘Gold’ (edible shimmer)
A sweet and tart Negroni infused with liquid glitter and served over a chunk of ice and with a scented rose gold lollipop

Thyme for Tea
Whisky, Jasmine, Lillette, Citrus, Prosecco
Served from a signature tea pot is a sweet and refreshing jasmine nectar and citrus-infused whisky, topped with a touch of bubbly, slowly infused with Lapsang Souchong, ice thyme and sage

 

The Bloomsbury Club

Hidden beneath the finesse of Doyle Collections’ Bloomsbury Hotel sits a quaint yet sophisticated bar, teeming with cocktail creativity. A speakeasy mixed with Mad Men vibe on the inside opens out to a rustic and cozy outdoor patio on the outside. The well placed heat lamps keep you warm, so you can spend the entire evening sitting beneath stone arches in all-embracing comfort and privacy.

I always take my hat off to a bar that invites Mixologists from around the globe to come in-house and help them perfect their craft -- and that’s exactly what Bloomsbury has done. Teaming up with a variety of World’s Best Bars, including The Clumsies and BlackTail they continue to push the boundaries of cocktail innovation.

There's a marvelous old school feel the this place which resonates throughout the entirety of the cocktail menu, new twists on old favourties accross a spectrum of gin, rum, whisky and tequila. There's even a couple of exciting surprises thrown into the mix, such as the Gin & Milk cocktail, which was not at all what you'd expect in a truly fantastical kind of way. The highlight of the experience is that not only can you bank on getting a delicious cocktail, it becomes without the typical London price-tag, costing you around £10 per serve. 

You can't help but notice subtle Italian themes peeking through every now and again, especially when it comes to a good old fashioned Negroni, which I have to say Bloomsbury kicks ass at. In an effort to drum up some more excitement and create a personal and tailored experience they will also soon be launching the ability to have your very own barrel filled with a Negroni style cocktail. The thinking behind this being; when you arrive at the venue, you have your own personal stash you can delve into. A solid idea with a wonderfully personally feel to it that compliments the look and feel to this venue so incredibly well.

Well all know that when great food and drink combine they create an other-worldly experience and Bloomsbury is no stranger to this way of thinking – with an incredible nibble menu at the heart of this bar. Whether it’s the quail scotch eggs, lobster taco’s or charcuterie boards that tickle your fancy, these gourmet treats hit the spot, rich in flavor and combine beautifully with the bespoke cocktail menu.

All in all this is a fabulous up-and-coming venue that could really do with some more love from cocktail enthusiasts. The space is incredibly inviting, warm and cosy and I can quite confidently say that I will be returning soon. With cocktails around the £10 mark, it’s an absolute steal considering the quality.

Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel
Address: 16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NN
Phone: 020 7347 1000

Food:            8/10
Drink:           8/10
Service:       10/10
Price:            $$

M Victoria

Our favorite thing about M Victoria Street , Martin Williams’ latest fine dining and nightlife venture an eight minute walk from London’s Victoria Station, is the sheer number of options the venue offers to wine, dine, taste, socialize, and just generally eat, drink, and be merry.

From the high end wine shop through which one enters the restaurant (offering tasting portions from automated dispensers and a “Bottomless Bellini Brunch” on its veranda) to the two sides of the dining room (sumptuous world class steaks at M Grill and ultra-healthy fresh sashimi at Raw Bar) M Victoria has a seat, a glass, and a plate to please even the most discerning of London diners.

M Grill offers steaks from six countries, from Kansas USDA Prime filet mignon or T-bone to Australian Grade 9++ Blackmore Wagyu and mouthwatering sauces to accompany the high quality cuts—from a rich burnt butter emulsion to a fresh, vibrant chimichurri. Want to top your steak with a half lobster or fresh truffles? Sure, M Grill can do that for you.

M Raw Bar serves up favorites like Yellow Fin tuna sushi and soft shell crab sashimi as well as more unusual offerings like kangaroo tartare—probably inspired by Executive Chef Michael Reid’s recent return to the UK from Australia. Whether it’s for a romantic Friday night out with a loved one, cocktails in the chic basement bar with friends on a Saturday night, or a Sunday brunch with Grandma watching her get tipsy on Bellinis, M Victoria has your weekend covered. Just show up.

Myki Sand Bar

Craving an icy tropical cocktail with your toes sinking into the sand, but with no immediate plans to jet off to Santorini or Mallorca? Look no further than Archer Street in Soho for a beach-conjuring escape in central London at Myki Sand Bar, a glamorous pop-up bar that carves a little slice of beach paradise into the unlikely vessel of an urban basement bar.

Furnished and decorated in gleaming whites and blues that call to mind magical Greek islands on the aquamarine Aegean with photos of iconic stretches of sand, palm trees, and of course, an actual sand floor (plan ahead with footwear, stilettoes not encouraged) Myki Sand Bar brings the beach holiday to you, even if only for a few relaxing hours.

Opened in late May and carrying on with the beach party vibe until late October, Myki offers a creative menu of original and classic tropical cocktails featuring Cîroc vodkas and other top quality craft spirits. Try the designed-to-be-shared “Pure Shores”, an oversized cocktail portioned for four featuring Cîroc, pistachio, lime juice, salted watermelon, mint leaves and soda water and be transported instantly from a dreary work week trapped in an office to the bliss of golden sand, lapping waves, and a blissed out atmosphere. Okay, Myki won’t quite substitute for a couple of weeks in Santorini, but it’s a lovely escape—no passport required.

The Savoy

Step into a world that takes you back several decades and witness London in all its glory, with a heritage that is truly like none other. Mix that with a little 1960’s America vibe in two of the most exclusive cocktail bars in England and you have yourself The Savoy. But English heritage aside, we’re talking about a hotel that prides itself in the world of alcohol, the Savoy Collection being a prime example of that and something we’re really excited to share with you today.

The American Bar

With its entrance located in the heart of the foyer, the American Bar can be anything you want it to be. Take in the vibrant atmosphere with a group as you chat away or observe single handedly in peace as you admire the pianist doing what he does best with an unbelievably good cocktail in hand. Order anything from the extensive cocktail menu, full of distinctive classics and local twists; either way, you’re sure to be impressed. Make sure to call ahead and make a reservation, the American Bar is one of the most popular spots in London for travelers and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

The Beaufort Bar

There is no question that Beaufort is a definite contender for one of London’s most extravagant cocktail bars. I mean lets face it, there’s not many places that have a hand-crafted cocktail trolley pull up to your table, and believe me when I tell you, its quite an experience to witness. As if the ambience couldn’t be topped, the state of the art pop-up drinks menu really is the garnish to the cocktail.

I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it before nor will you see anything like it again. The vibe of the room embraces you, taking you back several decades as if you’re in the heart of London just after WWII. Every detail is met to perfection, including each cocktail you will see crafted before your very eyes. The Beaufort is a London gem, a place that like many other bars cannot be replicated in any way, shape or form.

The Savoy Collection

As if two of the most prestigious bars in the country wasn’t enough, The Savoy is home to one of the worlds most luxurious and limited spirit collections.

Decades ago when The Savoy had first opened its doors, there was a spirit collection so prestigious that only the most loyal guests were able to taste. It was the hotels way of saying ‘thank you’ – to the people who kept its doors open and to those who had supported what was to become one of the most famous hotels in the world. A couple of years ago the hotel had a realization… why not re-introduce this custom? Why not once again say thank you to those who are at the core of The Savoy community? And so it was re-born.

While only launched in 2013, this collection already boasts multiple one-of-a-kind spirits, bottled exclusively for The Savoy and to be enjoyed by a handful of the most loyal returning guests and discerned imbibers. The idea is simple; partner with some of the worlds most legendary spirits to create a collection, so unique, that those lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle will keep it locked away while it ages to its peak potential. Obviously these spirits can be enjoyed now and are clearly divine, but we’re with The Savoy on this one, buy now, drink later. They do say ‘patience is a virtue’ after all…

Curated by a leading panel of award-winning bartenders and the Savoy’s own team of drink experts, each sensation is carefully picked, bottled, labeled and presented immaculately. Incredibly limited quantities of each spirit produced to ensure they remain a rare and hard to come by delight, every bottle being hand-numbered. With names like Laphroaig and Martini sitting at the heart of the collection, the centerpiece gem is presented in a custom-made glass masterpiece, the elusive 125th Anniversary Decanter filled with the rarest Speyside whisky to date; the 48 year-old Macallan single malt scotch.

The Savoy Collection currently has extremely limited quantities of:

  • 21 year-old Macallan
  • 17-year old Laphroaig
  • The Royal Suite Reserve Cognac
  • Savoy Martini Bitters
  • Demerara Rum from Guyana 1975
  • The 125th Anniversary Decanter (Macallan 48 year-old single malt whisky)

So there you have it, you read the list, you’ve licked your lips and you’re probably rummaging through your liquor cabinet right about now. I’ll leave you with this; sometimes when you look really closely at something you realize it’s not just black and white. While The Savoy is one of London’s most historic hotels, it is also at the very heart of our drinks industry, a pioneer and innovator of its time and a curator of what will become some of the rarest and most sought after spirits on this planet.

We’ll cheers to that.

Cinnamon Kitchen

The City of London: filled with a vast array of bars and eateries to satisfy any person’s palette. With thousands of restaurants to choose from, most make their choice based on recommendation; choose a restaurant they know well or the closest one to their destination.

But what about those hidden gems? The undiscovered? The ones that aren’t necessarily easy to find unless you stumble upon them or are told of their existence. That was exactly my experience of Cinnamon Kitchen.

Just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Liverpool Station, the restaurant is located in the heart of Devonshire Square, Formerly warehouses for the East India Company, the new developments add a more modern feel. The restaurant isn’t an easy to find but this adds something special to this place. Neighbouring a number of bars with a roof overhead the area is the perfect place to eat and relax after a busy day at work, socialising with friends or a formal gathering. Somehow the space has an intimate feel which almost makes you feel like you’re not in London at all!

When you arrive at the restaurant, a chique, stylish and understated place where you immediately feel relaxed and comfortable, The staff members offer to take your coat and see you to your table beginning your visit on a beautiful note. The comfortable outdoor seating along with the Indian inspired decor and fire tikis collectively simulate the cosines of your own home.

The cocktails were aplenty in choice, each with it’s own personality and a mixture of traditional indian fruits and flavoring to cater to your taste buds. For those of you who prefer to have alcohol free cocktails, they offer a mocktail selection or to adapt their classics. A truly refreshing experience.

With the talents of CEO and executive chef Vivek Singh’s, the flavors of the modern Indian cuisine shine through. As soon as you’re presented with the menu, you’re greeted with a variety of classic options with their own ‘Cinnamon Club inspired’ twist. Their unique approach to such classic dishes continue to push the culinary boundaries beyond what we think to be possible. We were first offered a basket of fresh bread (garlic and plain naan and a sweet naan) complemented by a selection of dips. These weren’t your typical flavors that you would receive at any restaurant and the attention to detail was clear. Each dip and bread worked together so that each bite was a delicious experience.

The Lucknowi Chicken Biriyani I chose was presented in a cosy metal bowl, the fusion of flavors in each dish being a delight to experience. The chicken was succulent and cooked to perfection and just the right portions to really have a perfect meal. Saving just enough room for dessert, the ice cream trio was a perfect way to close this dinner.

As we drank tea to unwind and reflect on our evening, all I can say is that this whole experience was a very special one. From the staff, to the hidden location, the food and the ambience, this is definitely one place I will be visiting again. And I think that next time you’re in the area, you should too.

A special thanks to all of the polite, attentive and helpful staff who made this visit such an enjoyable experience.

Address: 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YL
Telephone: 020 7626 5000
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street

Opening Hours:
Lunch Monday – Friday: 12.00 – 14.45
Dinner Monday – Saturday: 18.00 – 22.45