‘This is the reason I moved to London,’ remarked Alex Lawrence, standing on an outdoor terrace at the Mondrian hotel.
No, the head bartender at the Mondrian’s famed cocktail institution Dandelyan wasn’t referring to the view of the skyline from the hotel, or the lush terrace surrounding him, or even the masses of people lining up at the bar downstairs, eager to sip their way through the award-winning menu.
Instead, Lawrence was talking of the idea behind Dandelyan’s latest plant-themed project, the Botanical Suite.
In collaboration with Bombay Sapphire, Dandelyan’s cocktail masters have launched a new tasting room in a luxurious Mondrian suite with the purpose of embracing creativity.
Every week in the month of June, a different senior member of the Dandelyan team will host the Botanical Suite. Each bartender has crafted a series of four cocktails on a chosen theme and will present them to the suite’s eight guests over the course of an hour and a half.
At its core, the Botanical Suite gives Dandelyan’s bar professionals a chance to experiment, play and innovate in a way that isn’t possible during a hectic shift – and this pursuit of imagination is evident in the cocktails they’re serving up.
From 4-10 June, senior bartender Will Meredith will explore the theme of ‘Disco Lyan’, turning the sugary, fruity concoctions of the disco era into Dandelyan-calibre drinks. The next week, 11-17 June, Enrico Gonzato will look at the relationship between luxury and the plant kingdom. During the week of 18-24 June, senior bartender Jack Banks is examining how ingredients are processed.
Finally, from 15-30 June, Alex Lawrence is taking the reins, creating cocktails embodying the Dandelyan ‘Heaps Mad S4!T’ philosophy – a madcap look at the world of drinks that promises to expose guests to new ingredients and perspectives.
‘You get to have a conversation with something that is unconventional,’ explained Lawrence, discussing his four drinks. ‘In this particular case it will be food systems.’
The design of the suite itself is no less imaginative. With a plant-covered tasting table overlooking a lavish outdoor patio, the environment is suited to the team’s bold ideas.
Lawrence, Meredith, Gonzato and Banks have seized the opportunity for playfulness. They’ve managed to push boundaries while providing fundamentally delicious serves (Meredith’s visually striking take on Milk Punch is not to be missed).
Bombay Sapphire and Dandelyan’s Botanical Suite at the Mondrian is running from 4-30 June, Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets are £55 each, available through Eventbrite
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