Brown’s Hotel has reopened with a newly designed and relaunched Donovan Bar. The Mayfair venue has recruited Salvatore Calabrese as resident drinks maestro, who has created a new cocktail menu that includes signature and vintage creations from his 40-year career.
Once found in the Lanesborough Hotel, Fifty at St James club and Salvatore at Playboy, vintage spirit fans will be pleased to hear Calabrese has a new home and has brought with him his iconic Breakfast Martini, using Tanqueray No. 10 Gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice and orange marmalade, and his Godfrey, which mixes Hennessy VSOP Cognac, with Grand Marnier, crème de mur, lemon juice and blackberries.
Alongside his signature and new cocktails, the Donovan Bar will be home to a selection of rare spirits from Calabrese’s personal collection, some of which can be sampled in vintage cocktails such as a Vesper, using Gordon's Gin from 1950, Smirnoff Vodka from 1950 and Kina Lilet from 1949. This is as close as you can get today to the Vesper mentioned by Ian Flemming in James Bond, as Kina Lillet is no longer in production and substituted in bars around the world for Lillet Blanc.
Older still is Salvatore’s Legacy, made with a Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac from 1788, Kummel Liqueur from 1770, Dubb Orange Liqueur from 1860 and Angostura Bitters from 1930.
‘After the success of the Martini & Negroni menu we launched at Brown's during the Italian Takeover at the end of last year, I am delighted to be rejoining the Donovan Bar to offer Mayfair's most discerning guests a unique menu of cocktails inspired by Sir Terence Donovan’s work and in homage to the artistry behind his iconic shots which line its walls,’ said Calabrese.
Let’s just hope all of these ancient bottles are kept safely away from guests, lest we lose another piece of history to the carpet.
Taking inspiration from the bar’s namesake –1960’s photographer Sir Terence Donovan – Salvatore has divided his new menu of 16 cocktails into four sections themed around photography.
High Exposure includes his bright and refreshing drinks, while dark and mellow flavours are captured in Low Exposure. Strong and bold ingredients are featured in High Contrast and soft and delicate drinks are grouped under Low Contrast.