Really lived up to its reputation as one of the best bars in the world. We walked over from the Waldorf on the Saturday night we were in town and the hostess informed us the only two seats were left were at the tiny 4 seat bar in the back which was totally fine with both of us as we wanted to interact with the bar staff and get some recommendations.
The bar itself is compact but well-stocked with every standard spirit and liqueur out there in addition to some vintage and hard to get products.
We settled in to our seats and perused the ‘song book’ cocktail menu which was assembled with inspiration taken from famous guest and or songs.
As we were deciding an offering of mixed spicy nuts, pepper crackers and olives came out. I started with a Concrete Jungle which was a mix of Woodford rye, calvados, aperitif de Normandie, red wine and robois, lemon and honey. It was garnished with drunken grapes and served in a flute with a large ice cube. It was like a fizzy Manhattan with a good deal of extra depth.
I then went with the She Knows which was Monkey Shoulder and Smokey Monkey whiskey, peach liqueur, masitha, lemon verbena, procrastination liqueur and rosemary honey. This one was like a riff on an Old Fashioned and had very sublte flavor infusions from the Greek masitha and procrastination liqueur. It was a bit sweet on its own but you are given ‘electric daisies’ to accompany the drink which, when bitten into, give your mouth a tingly, citrusy feeling. I asked for extra.
My third drink was the Radio Hurricane which was prepared with Woodford Double Oak, Pedro Ximenez, salted chestnut liqueur and Cocchi Dry. Similar to a Brooklyn but elevated with the slat tang from the chestnut liqueur and more of a mouthfeel from the sherry.
Prior to ordering another drink we split a charcuterie plate which came with speck, prosciutto, coppa and finocchio along with caper berries and toasted raisin/nut bread.
My final drink was Ghost King which was with Jack Daniels Single Barrel, visciolata wine, Branca Menta and Martini Ambrato. The light coating of absinthe-like visciolata on the glass reminded my of a Remember the Main as it was boozy, flavorful and strong. This may have been my favorite cocktail.
The wife also enjoyed the three she selected with her favorite being a perfectly sky-blue Aviation which came with an absinthe cherry (that ended up in my glass).
We spent a good deal of time speaking with the principal bartender on drinks, bars, and cocktail culture in general. Everyone working was very engaging, helpful and friendly. When I purchased an updated Savoy Cocktail book as a Christmas gift for a friend the bartender took it around to the entire team to sign and wish him a Merry Christmas which I thought was a great touch. We ended the night with a few photos and vowed to return. Truly, and deservedly, one of the best bars in the world.
Photo of American Bar – London, United Kingdom. Signed copy with award
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