London has always been known as a pioneering force in the cocktail world. From innovative combinations of ingredients to perfecting classics and taking every element of a drink into consideration, this is a city famed for its mixed drinks. Who could forget some of the garnishes involved in previous Artestian menus, or some of the flamboyant serves at Nightjar, even the bare style at White Lyan where the thrill and magic is contained within the glass.
Bethnal Green's typical cocktails, however, appear at first glance to be more classically based. The most famous drink to come out of the area is a simple twist on the Americano, invented by Marcis Dzelzainis during his tenure at Satan's Whiskers and still sold there today as a Satan's Americano. Marcis has since put the drink on his menu at Sager+Wilde as well. It's elegant, refreshing and simple but hardly a reinvention of the wheel. And yet these simple changes, swapping out ingredients or pairing identifible, 'safe' flavours with unusual ones while retaining the balance of the cocktails tends to classify the scene here as a whole.
You'll be unlikely to find many cocktails in Bethnal Green (excluding Peg + Patriot who employ technology such as rotavaps and stills to create a lot of their infusions and spirits) that have an ingredient you haven't heard of. Nor will you discover drinks with garnishes as big as the glass. You probably won't find a bad drink however, and that's truly saying something. This area of the city has cocktails nailed to a slick art where only the best, perfectly balanced and tasty drinks make it onto menus.
Grapefruit Americano from Sager + Wilde
Campari, sweet vermouth, fresh grapefruit juice and grapefruit soda.
Silver Pineapple from Satan's Whiskers
A mix of light rum, sugar, fresh lime juice, fresh pineapple juice and white wine.
Banshee from The Sun Tavern
Made with Bán Poitín, Vulson White Rhino Rye, Yellow Chartreuse, homemade lime cordial and lime juice.
Naked Sazerac from Peg + Patriot
A clear Sazerac, this strong cocktail is made using Belvedere vodka, Peychauds distillate, absinthe, champagne syrup and maple.
Olive Oil Old Fashioned from Sager + Wilde Paradise Row
Easily one of the most popular drinks on the menu, made with olive oil bourbon, sandalwood syrup and olive leaf bitters. The oil makes for a luxurious experience, rather than gulping down olive oil, the infusion gives the bourbon a silky, smooth mouth-feel while the sandalwood adds a vanilla flavour. There’s also a grassy note from the high quality olive oil.