Itâ€™s been quiet on the invite side. I would put this down to the busy holiday season. Saying that Iâ€™ve still been invited to a couple of shindigs this week.
The week started with a couple of drinks at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone. I usually frequent the Mirror Bar with the charming Bar Manager Salvatore. I have taken many a friend here to impress, to date or even to meet new friends!
The bar is very small but adequate.Â The list includes classics such as Negroniâ€™s, Manhattans, Martiniâ€™s and of course Salvatore will prepare a bespoke cocktail to your needs and desires at the time. I usually swear by the Landmark martini with a lemon twist which never fails to deliver. If you prefer something a little sweeter this can be accommodated with a fruit twist or maybe a passionfruit martini (another favourite) I also like to be offered bar snacks and there is always a decent selection of nuts/crackers/snacky bits.
The sushi platter is also excellent: a plate of salmon and tuna sashimi rolled beautifully, chicken satay and delicious tapas.
Salvatore also offers cocktail masterclasses which need to be booked in advance. They are for a complete beginner and usually include background to cocktails, theory and actual practise. These are becoming very popular for alternative birthday bashes, hen doâ€™s or just generally for something different. You can almost pretend you are an expert mixologist.
My other favourite place in town is a wonderful bar called Shaker & Company just off the Euston Road. This is in the style of a speakeasy/Saloon bar and these bars are becoming increasingly popular. The Nightjar is another example of a speakeasy (Old Street roundabout).Â Shaker & Company was originally a training school for bartenders and has reared some well known cocktail shakers and makers in the industry.Â It continues with the bar school but also has the bar and what a fine bar it is. Just downstairs is a small function room which has been known to host â€œpop upsâ€ such as Four Roses Bourbon, Ketel One featuring an Amsterdam exhibition and more to come.
The drinks are excellent with all the modern classics again but specialities are whiskies and bourbons. Ask the bartenders for recommendations as they know their stuff and take a nice group of friends.
I was invited to an event hosted by a quirky whisky company called Monkey Shoulder.Â Cool name too.Â It is part of a monthly event whereby you have a different theme each month such as Manhattan followed by Old Fashioned, Whiskey Punch and others.Â Â This week featured â€œManhattanâ€ and featured cardboard cutouts of Manhattan strangely enough Â with a makeshift Statue of Liberty as you entered, cardboard cutout taxis to wear (yes very unusual)Â Â As we entered a Monkey signed us in…
We were then given a handful of American dollars to spend at the four bars that were dotted around the room. Once at the bar we were given a brief description of the whisky, cocktails such as a Manhattan â€“ the one with the maraschino twist was delicious and option to even double up for more cocktails with a â€œbankerâ€ who was walking around.
I am quite a whisky fan so this was most enjoyable.Â After sampling a few of the cocktails it was then time for the Monkey Shoulder organisers to usher us out of the warehouse by being chased out by their monkey King Kong and they did this with an extinguisher and out we were again.Â This event will be running monthly in secret locations so have a look at the website for Monkey Shoulder.
Images reproduced from landmarklondon.co.uk, designmynight.comÂ and Alexandra Abrahams