Coupette: Champagne Piña Colada
Bethnal Green’s chic, French-inspired cocktail bar Coupette has given the traditionally tropical Piña Colada a Gallic twist with the addition of champagne. That’s not the only change Coupette has made to the drink either – here the bartenders use pineapple cordial as well as juice, add in rhum agricole to bring a verdant, fresh note to the drink and swap the sticky coco lopez out for coconut sorbet. The Champagne Piña Colada is still as deliciously naughty as the classic but with its drier ingredients it’s much more suited to the modern palate and has earnt a reputation as one of the must-try cocktails in London.
Satan’s Whiskers: Satan’s Whiskers
Satan’s Whiskers has a daily-changing menu which means you won’t always spot its namesake drink on the list but that doesn’t mean this classic cocktail isn’t always available. When the bar first opened, ushering in a new scene for the east, Satan’s Whiskers was on the menu every day. Now the regulars and locals all know of its tasty combination of gin, orange juice, sweet and dry vermouth and Grand Marnier so it’s often ordered by those in the know. The team here have ingeniously added a dash of lemon and sugar to add brightness to the recipe, which dates back to The Savoy in the 1930s.
Trailer Happiness: Zombie
Proceed with caution. Trailer’s secret Zombie rum blend breathes new life into this tiki classic, coming into play with Velvet Falernum, maraschino liqueur, grenadine, bitters and lime and grapefruit juice. Famed as one of the strongest drinks out there it was purportedly invented as a hangover cure by Don the Beachcomber back in LA in the 1930s. We think it’s probably caused a few more hangovers than its cured but it is an absolutely iconic drink that’s best made at London’s most loved tiki den Trailer Happiness. It also comes on fire… need we say more?
Happiness Forgets: Tokyo Collins
Happiness’s house drink is an equal tie between the Perfect Storm (dark rum, aged plum brandy, lemon juice, honey and ginger juice) and the Tokyo Collins, but it’s the later that edges ahead for us thanks to its easy sipping-elegance. Made using gin, yuzu sake, lemon, grapefruit and soda this tipple has been on the menu since the iconic Hoxton bar’s early days and we hope it never leaves.
Duke’s Bar: Gin Martini
While it may be tough to get a seat in this minuscule bar inside the old world glamour of St James’s luxurious Duke’s Hotel, it’s always worth it. The Martinis are ridiculous in all the right ways, wheeled over on a trolley by Alessandro or one of his staff with frozen glasses, gin and those beautiful little twists of Amalfi lemon... it simply brings you to raptures. Alessandro estimates that the bar sells between 300 to 350 Martinis a day, which doesn’t surprise us – after all it’s what you come here, not least because Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, used to drink here too.
Dandelyan: Koji Hardshake
While the menus of this modern botany bar have complete overhauls and changes in direction as the team explore new verdant avenues of plant life and sustainability, the Koji Hardshake is the only drink that has desperately clung on to its spot since day one. With good reason too, it’s outstandingly delicious. Made with whisky, lemon juice, koji, cream sugar and liquorice bitters it’s comparable to a boozy milkshake in all the right ways. Think of a bold, pimped up Ramos Gin Fizz that’s been given the Lyan love.
69 Colebrooke Row: Prairie Oyster
A traditional Prairie Oyster is made with a raw egg, tomato juice, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce as some horrific 19th century hangover cure. This is not that. Rather 69 Colebrooke Row’s drink doesn’t look like a cocktail at all, more like an oyster and as it’s drunk in one go perhaps it’s best described as a shot. However bizarre all of this is sounding, it’s worth the adventure. Made to combine that idea of swallowing an egg yolk, the ritual of eating an oyster and the restorative associations of a Bloody Mary it uses tomato, horseradish vodka, oloroso sherry, shallots, pepper sauce, celery salt and oyster leaf. Served in a ceramic oyster shell, you tip the whole thing back and the ‘egg’ or ‘oyster’ is a spherical ball of clarified tomato juice which bursts on the tongue, combing all the ingredients on your palate. Ingenious, tasty and an experience. No wonder it’s never come off the menu.
Punch Room: Milk Punch
Almost too easy to drink, the Milk Punch at the London Edition’s Punch Room is their bestselling cocktail with good reason – it’s a mix of rum, arrack, Somerset cider brandy, spice mix, fresh pineapple, green tea, lemon juice and milk. The addition of milk can sound bizarre but it’s a clarified punch so all you’re left with is the creaminess and not the heavy diary – by adding it to the acidic base the milk causes a reaction meaning the team here can separate out the whey and proteins, leaving a beautiful mouthfeel that makes this gorgeous drink intensely quaffable.
Bar Termini: Classico Negroni
Soho’s Bar Termini comes in four styles, the Rosato, the Superiore, the Robusto and the Classico. They’re all little coupes of perfectly balanced sweet and bitterness however it’s the original Classico that we first fell in love with. It’s an aged Negroni made from a traditional blend of London dry gin, Italian vermouth and Italian bitters, resulting in a superbly smooth classic Negroni drink, and in DrinkUp’s opinion, the perfect aperitivo.
Super Lyan: Tennessee Nitro Martini
You won’t have to wait too long for this drink as it comes straight out of the tap. A relic of White Lyan days, this cocktail combines two of our favourite guilty pleasures (and everyone else’s apparently judging by the popularity of the drink), namely an Espresso Martini and a Jack and coke. The nitrogen makes the cold brew coffee element sweeter and smother, and this is mixed with Jack Daniels, sour cherry juice and Coco Cola. If you need a pick-me-up on a night out, a second wind, or a delicious after-dinner treat the Tennessee Nitro Martini should be your first port-of-call.
Hawksmoor Spitalfields: Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew
Hawksmoor fans will be well acquainted with this frothy, gently spicy drink. Made by Pete Jeary – the original Shake Pete – it’s still on the menu many years after he departed for the sunshine of Aus. It’s essentially a turbo-shandy made with ginger syrup, gin, lemon juice, blended up and topped with London Pride Ale. With its fiery punch from the ginger and its icy-cold serve this is the ultimate next-day drink, made famous across Hawksmoor for its restorative abilities. You may see a Shake Pete on other menus but the ultimate and original is with the Hawksmoor chain, especially the basement Spitalfields Bar.
Coupette: Champagne Piña Colada