Despite our hard-partying populace, London has produced only a few drinks named after it. Beer drinkers have London Pride of course, but those that fancy a cocktail – who are usually lovers of choice, after all – are limited to the London (gin and maraschino liqueur), the London Fog (gin and Pernod) and the Mayfair (an upscale version of the gin and orange juice so beloved of Snoop Dogg). That’s a pretty paltry selection, and heaven help you if you don’t like gin. There have been some admirable attempts to improve the situation, like this effort by Apartment 195 in Chelsea, but their drinks commemorating icons like Jack the Ripper and Trafalgar Square feel just a bit touristy. Where are the cocktails that really capture what it’s like to live in our beautiful, bonkers city? We’ve got a few to suggest.
Here are some cocktail recipes that get into the bloodstream and right to the heart of London. But, readers, this is only a beginning. Help the boozehounds of the capital with your own recipes in the comment box. We'll assume, obviously, that all gin is London gin.
The Red Ken
20ml sweet red vermouth
tabasco for spice – to taste, then slightly more
stirred over ice, strained and served in a bendy bus.
50ml blue Curaçao
served in a tall glass, with a quail’s egg broken over the top.
The Night Bus
250ml red wine
50ml golden tequila
1 can red bull
dash of lager
sprinkling of fag ash
garnished with chilli sauce and shredded lettuce and served in a mug, with a bucket nearby.
The Soho Last Orders
hint of bitters
served on the rocks and drained swiftly.
The Primrose Hill
50ml home-made sloe gin from an exclusive farmers' market in Stowe
200ml imported lightly carbonated springwater from the Himalayas
two drops of homeopathic bergamot oil
dash of Ayurvedic aloe vera oil
thin shavings of organic Korean ginseng
garnished with organic redcurrant from an allotment collective in Kent
The Camden Town
200ml cider and blackcurrent
served in a ridiculously skinny glass and garnished with wolfsbane and an eyeliner pencil.
Image taken from Red Label's Flickr photostream.