From hefty, themed tomes to catchy lists, innovative games and whimsical concepts – here are the latest drinks menu releases from the UK’s best venues
Quaglino's goes prebatched with music-inspired cocktail list
Developed by Quaglino’s bar manager Marco Sangion and head mixologist Federico Pasian, the new list consists of 10 cocktails. These drinks can be served either by the glass or in a large-format 70cl bottle, complete with a custom label, for groups.
‘I think [prebatching] is a great way to serve cocktails, as they always have the same temperature, dilution and flavour profile, and we’re able to serve a cocktail in under 30 seconds,’ Pasian told Imbibe.
Each drink on the new list is a twist on a traditional serve, and the team’s prebatching approach informed the ingredients used in their interpretations. For instance, Jamming is a twist on the Daiquiri – but Pasian explained that in order to bottle the cocktail, he had to find a substitute for fresh citrus.
‘My solution is cordial,’ explained Pasian. ‘I love to use homemade cordials as they provide three ingredients in one: the flavour, the sweet part and the sour part (which usually is a blend of citric and tartaric acid).’
For Jamming, he decided to swap the lime juice for a pineapple and coriander cordial, mixing it with Cuban and Jamaican rum and coconut liquor to recall the Daiquiri.
The release of the new drinks menu coincides with a new bar snacks menu as well. Both will be available at Quaglino’s from 26 February.
13.02.2019 - Kate Malczewski
Riding House Café unveils Warhol-inspired London Fashion Week menu
To celebrate London Fashion Week, Fitzrovia brasserie and bar Riding House Café is launching a limited-edition selection of cocktails inspired by the fashion portraits of Andy Warhol. To create each drink's bold aesthetic, Warhol's photos have been printed on edible rice paper and placed atop the cocktail as a garnish.
Among this selection of haute-couture serves is the Drag Queen, which depicts Warhol's iconic portrait of Helen/Harry Morales and contains green chartreuse, Ketel One Vodka and cucumber syrup.
Another drink, Gaultier Gluttony, is finished with a portrait of the famed designer Jean Paul Gaultier and marries Jameson whiskey, crème de cacao and PX sherry.
Riding House Café's London Fashion week menu will be available from 15 to 18 February alongside its 16-strong core range of cocktails.
08.02.2019 - Kate Malczewski
Bar Swift shakes up offerings with new cocktail and food menu
Soho bar Swift has introduced a new selection of cocktails and food, the biggest shake-up to the venue's offerings since it launched two years ago. Read the full article here.
Discount Suit Company celebrates fifth birthday with new cocktail list
East London subterranean cocktail bar Discount Suit Company has crafted a new cocktail menu to celebrate its fifth birthday, complete with riffs on classics and a few of the venue's greatest hits from the past half decade.
The 12-strong list was designed by the bar's staff, headed up by general manager Oli Blom. For the first section, each member of the team took part in the development process and drew inspiration from their favourite classic cocktails.
For instance, A Kick in the Head is a take on a Silver Fizz that marries gin, Italicus, Cocchi Americano, Velvet Falernum, citrus, and Umbrella Brewing Sparkling Cider. It's a frothy, zesty, refreshing drink, with just enough spice to keep it seasonal.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Deal or No Deal, a heavy-hitting winter warmer with Irish whiskey, cognac, apricot, madeira, orgeat, and Jerry Thomas Bitters.
A standout on the list is the DSC Highball, with Dewars 12yo, apple-infused ginger wine, plum bitters, and zingy Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer. 'It's just a bunch of alcohol in a big glass,' said Blom. 'It's the perfect way to start your evening.'
The final section of the menu pays tribute to some of the staff's favourite Discount Suit Company creations from throughout the years. It includes the Pina Fumada, with big flavours of mezcal, falernum, pineapple, lemon, honey and club soda. 'The Pina Fumada was a really popular one from three or four menus ago – people were still asking us to bring it back, so we decided it was time,' explained Blom.
16.01.2019 - Kate Malczewski
Science + Industry introduces technique-driven, simplicity-focused cocktail menu
Manchester bar Science + Industry's latest menu celebrates streamlined serves and advanced techniques. Read the full article here.
Dandelyan launches final menu
The World’s Best Bar is having one final hurrah before it closes with a new cocktail list focused on large-scale sustainability. Read the full article here.
Gōng Bar's new menu translates famous inventions into drinks
Sitting atop its perch in The Shard, Shangri-La Hotel’s Gōng Bar has introduced a cocktail menu inspired by technological inventions and innovations.
The menu, titled A Miscellany of Inventions, is divided into five themed categories for a total of 15 cocktails. Three of the drinks are alcohol-free.
With head bartender Christian Maspes at the helm, the Gōng Bar team developed each cocktail with a specific invention in mind, from the helicopter to penicillin. And, sticking with the idea of innovation, they employed unusual techniques and ingredients for each.
Fields of Gold, for instance, is inspired by the creation of the tractor. As such, the cocktail places plant-based ingredients at the forefront. Cucumber juice, pandan leaves, rice wine vinegar and kaffir lime are paired with Ilegal Mezcal, ancho green chilli liquor, dry wine and a garnish of crushed ants.
‘The cocktails bring to life inventions that have been real breakthroughs,’ said Maspes. ‘Creating a new invention is like taking a leap of faith and being open to new possibilities, and the same goes for the creation of a new cocktail.’
24.09.2018 - Kate Malczewski
El Gato Negro reveals new streamlined drinks menu
Manchester tapas restaurant El Gato Negro has revamped its drinks menu with simplicity in mind.
‘Choice is a great thing, but the truth is many [drinks] lists can be overwhelming, with guests over-faced by too broad a menu,’ bar manager Pete Tilley commented.
To streamline the customer experience, the King Street venue has pared back its wine selection, working with Miles Cornish MW to offer no more than four different wines in each category.
The wine categories have been given descriptor names, such as ‘full-bodied reds’, ‘spicy rounded reds’ and ‘rromatic/fruity whites’. All of the wines are Spanish, with a special focus on independent producers.
The restaurant has also refreshed its cocktail menu to include classic drinks like the Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned and Negroni.
03.09.2018 - Kate Malczewski
Nine Lives premieres new sustainability-focused menu
Nightjar launches new arts & crafts cocktail menu
Taking its inspiration from the Arts & Crafts philosophy movement which flourished in Europe and North
America between 1880 and 1920, Nightjar's new drinks menu looks at the synergy between bartenders and artists.
Head bartender Antonio Pescatori and his team have used this period’s highly decorative fine art flourishes to create cocktails which display the team’s artistic vision and attention to detail. As usual this much-lauded bar is presenting the drinks in unique glassware and vessels - this time ones which have been carved, shaped and decorated by the Nightjar team.
In keeping with Nightjar’s typical style, the drinks are still based on traditional recipes taken from classic cocktail books.
Highlights include the Olivette made with Ketel One vodka, Rinomato aperitivo, apricot beer, prosecco, Buchu leaf liqueur and Kalamata olive brine. This light, vodka spritz-style cocktail is presented with a gnocchi stuffed with brine-steamed sundried tomato in olive powder.
The Honeymoon, using Glenfiddich 12yo whisky, house made forbidden fruit liqueur (pomelo citrus, sherry and dry vermouth), artichoke mead wine, Bulgarian rose infusion, Cynar, fresh lemon and Myrrh absinthe bitters, is a nod to the ritual Celtic marriage ceremony, where the husband- and wife-to-be share a sip of Scotch whisky poured in a traditional quaich vessel, holding it with joined hands.
Finally Nightjar's Fandango, made with Ysabel Regina, Avuá Amburana cachaça, port, amontillado sherry, Madeira and Amarguinha liqueur is garnished with a toasted cracker with salt cod cream, sweet peppers and pickled Alexanders and it is served straight up in a delicately painted cup.
10.07.2018 - Jane Ryan
Oriole’s interactive top trumps-style menu
Following in the footsteps of sister bar Nightjar, Oriole has looked to the world of playing cards for its latest menu. This time it's not a classic deck of cards, however. Instead each drink is presented on a top trumps-style card with exquisite vintage designs.
Keeping its exotic theme and inspiration from the adventurous spirit of a bygone era, the new drinks list has been designed by the bar team, headed up by Luca Cinalli and Gabriele Manfredi.
The cards aren’t just for looking at, though – guests can play the vintage game using the cocktails’ ratings, from refreshment, booziness, complexity and fruitiness.
Standout drinks include Acadia, a clarified drink using Woodford Reserve bourbon, Roots Tentura liqueur, maple syrup, peanut butter, rowan berries and grapefruit juice, and the Olinda Collins, made with Capucana cachaça, cipo cravo infusion, mango wine, lemon juice, burnt bark syrup and fermented sugarcane soda.
12.06.2018 - Jane Ryan
Women of India-inspired menu launches at Gymkhana
Albemarle Street’s Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana has released a new cocktail menu taking as its theme four famous Indian women.
A long gin fizz has been created to celebrate Shanta Rangaswamy, the captain of the women’s Indian cricket team. Captain Prem Mathur, the country’s first female pilot, has a champagne-charged whiskey cocktail in her honour while Devika Rani, titled the first lady of Indian cinema, also has a sparkling drink, this time with a raspberry and hibiscus liqueur at its base. Finally Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, has inspired a rift on a Gimlet replacing the lime for a Himalayan cordial consisting of pine, angelica root and rose water.
12.06.2018 - Jane Ryan
D&D London’s German Gymnasium celebrates fashion and art icons in new cocktail menu
Launching on 18 June, the new cocktail menu from German Gymnasium’s Meister Bar will present a 12-strong list of drinks named for celebrated icons of the catwalk and art exhibitions.
Artist Jackson Pollock is celebrated with a chocolate gateau washed Woodford Reserve in a chocolate splattered glass, while Coco Chanel lends her name to a tropical drink charged with Perrier-Jouët champagne. Looking at the world of perfume, Black Opium has been inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s love of café gourmand by combining coffee, sherry and sweet vermouth.
12.06.2018 - Jane Ryan