Fiery, brash, inventive... We bring you London's most theatrical tipples. Purists, look away now.
Mind Your Step
A fixture on Artesian's Perception menu, Mind Your Step may seem like a bartender's nightmare but its smashed appearance is in fact a ruse dreamed up by world-renowned Bar Director, Dino Koletsas. The shards of glass are created from pulled sugar and are completely edible, though you might need to summon a little Dutch courage to take that first bite...
Purl Cocktail Bar
The bartenders at this speakeasy are a clever, creative bunch and their cocktails always arrive with some sort of presentational wizardry. Cerez Joker, formed of bourbon, sloe gin, ginger bitter and lemon, comes served with a balloon. Its use? Pop it and you'll find out.
Breakfast of Champions
Old Street's not-so-secret speakeasy serves up cocktails as bonkers as they are brilliant. Lewis Carroll would have approved. The kitschy Breakfast of Champions comes served in a decorated eggshell, and the quirkiness continues in the flavourings, with 'cornflake smoke' among the ingredients.
London Cocktail Club
This zombie cocktail is as dangerous as it sounds: big, boozy and not to be taken lightly. It's served in a skull-shaped glass and set alight for good measure. Too many of these and its appearance will become less of a talking point and more of a slurring point.
Class, style, romance: the Savoy's Beaufort Bar offers the lot. So when it lays on the theatrics, it does so in debonair fashion. Take The Impressionist, where the smouldering flavours of the drink - rose, raspberry, champagne and cherry - are underlined by a single rose gently pluming with dry ice alongside.
Opium Cocktails & Dim Sum Parlour
Cocktail Number Six
South America meets Far East in this signature cocktail from Opium, an acclaimed dim sum and cocktail bar. Tequila, pimento, ginger, oolong tea and cactus are muddled and served in a cup billowing with dry ice. Instagram at the ready...
The Blind Pig
Thermo Nuclear Daiquiri
Everything chef-restauranteur Jason Atherton usually seems to turn to gold, but with this Blind Pig cocktail the effect is more of a radioactive turquoise. Thankfully its biohazard warning proves to be false, as there's nothing toxic about the combination of rum, absinthe, pineapple and lime - it's divine, actually.
The Shrub and Shutter
This Coldharbour Lane bar is renowned for its fiery cocktails, and Mission Impossible is the most crowd-pleasing of the lot. When the cocktail's served up, staff light a short fuse wrapped around it and get out the way quickly as the flames - albeit briefly - begin to dance and lick against the glass. Very neat.
This addition to the Mondrian London bar has been two years in the making. It's a mechanical triumph and a less child-friendly version of the game Mousetrap, with a ball of ice running through three different flavourings, eventually plopping into a glass, into which Haig Club whisky is poured. We look forward to Ryan Chetiyawardana, its creator, making a boozy take on Kerplunk next. Twister might be a step too far.
Smoking's been banned in London's bars for more than 10 years, but this Soho restaurant's Big Smoke revives the tradition, of sorts. Not only does the hickory smoke provide a sense of drama, but it slowly suffuses this whisky and bamboo syrup combination with a lovely smoky top note.Deliveroo now from Soho
Tanqueray No. Ten
Whimsy and nostalgia are served up liberally at Cahoots, a bar designed to take its punters back to an air raid shelter in wartime London - expect Union Jack bunting and Spam adverts. It's the cocktails that really bring the concept to life, though, with quaint, Blighty-referencing drinks like Tanqueray No. Ten, served inside a clock-face, stealing the show.
The Cocktail Trading Co.
This Bethnal Green bar has become a firm favourite for its outlandish tipples. This contraption of a cocktail, named Scofflaw, cheekily pays homage to the Kray twins and is laced with Glenmorangie whisky, pink peppercorn and pomegranate.