If you’re looking for a way to up your Insta game (and make all your followers extremely jealous), you’ve come to the right place at the right time. We got in touch with DesignMyNight for the lowdown on the best cocktails in London, and they’re all kinds of incredible. Charge your phone and get ready, ‘cause you’re about to snap some of the craziest cocktails in the capital.
Sitting on top of a vintage-looking white and gold merry-go-round, the Milestone Carousel is a boozy masterpiece, decorated with loads of colourful sprinkles. Made with barrel-rested Patrón tequila, Admiral Vernon’s Old J Tiki Fire Rum, Tia Maria, lime juice and orgeat syrup, this nostalgia-stirring mix will whisk you back to the days of going to the funfair with your parents. But before you get to relish in this colourful concoction (and relive your childhood while you’re at it), you’ll have to patiently wait for the flames from an absinthe-soaked sugar cube to fizzle out.
If there’s one bar you need to tick off your bucket list – it’s London Cocktail Club. These guys have plenty of original mixes printed on their leather-bound menu, but Pickle Me Cheesy is their September special – and it’s flawless. The base uses Irish whisky and comes served in a Branston Pickle jar with your favourite cheese and cracker combo, finished off with a dollop of Branston Pickle for good measure.
If you’re a fan of theatrical cocktails, you’ll know all about Nightjar. This award-winning bar is one of the best in the world, and they’re renowned for creating outlandish mixes with bizarre presentation. Cosy up at one of their candle-lit tables and order the Flemish Negroni. Made with Copperhead Gin, Popped Kamut Grain Infusion, Marcanegra Mezcal and loads of other impressive ingredients; it’s the brightest and booziest concoction on the menu.
Ever heard of Cocktail Trading Co.? It’s only one of the coolest cocktail bars in London. Using everything from false teeth to miniature golf balls to decorate their drinks, their cocktail creations blur boundaries. Although every single one of their cocktails is Insta-worthy, we rate the Blue Moon. It’s made with Shiitake Bols Geniver, sharp green tea, celery and basil sherbet, and violette, and comes served in a miniature hot air balloon with umami floss.
Billed as ‘London’s worst kept secret’, you’ll find Bart’s hidden behind a black door in Sloane Avenue. Kitted out with bric-a-brac, mismatched furniture and quirky interiors, you won’t find the hours slipping away at this hidden drinking den. All the cocktails here have the Instagram stamp of approval but the Pepper for a Beet-ing is in its own league, made with Copperhead Gin, lemon juice, red pepper, beetroot syrup and apple juice.
Dirty Bones are a stalwart when it comes to quality comfort food in the capital. Dishing out everything from cheeseburger dumplings to fried chicken and waffles; their New York-inspired food does exactly what it says on the tin. They also serve some pretty bad-ass drinks. The Fab is made with Tanqueray Gin, Martini Rosso, lemon, gomme syrup and egg white, with a Hundreds and Thousands candy rim. This pretty in pink drink is sure to lift your spirits (and your Insta game).
A decadent drink that looks just as good as it tastes? You need to go to Quaglino’s and order The Grand Opening. This luxurious venue has entertained everyone from Princess Diana to Angelina Jolie, so you know you’ll be in good hands when you plan your visit. Their striking orange cocktail marries Ketel One Vodka infused with fresh pomegranate, cantaloupe, lemon, Dolin Dry, Dandelion bitters, finished with a generous pour of bubbles.
First Aid Box might be a bit out of the way, but their cocktails are more than worth the journey. You’ll have a tough time deciding on what to order ‘cause the menu is packed with so many boozy gems, but the Flash Gordon gets a massive thumbs up from us. It’s made with pomegranate-infused Snow Queen Vodka, Bergamot Liqueur, raspberry shrub, fresh lemon and sugar. Sharp and strong; you’ll have a great time snapping it between sips.
If you were to look up ‘London’s best basement bars’, chances are, you’ll find Demon, Wise and Partners at the very top of the list. Intimate in its own right, with cosy booths for two; the cocktails here are applause-worthy, but the Artist’s Special is what you need to order if you wanna impress your Insta followers. Their floral pink concoction of Balvenie and Girvan whiskies, olorosso sherry, house redcurrant syrup and lemon is served in a coupe glass with a pretty berry garnish.
Purl is a secret 1920s-inspired bar in the heart of London, and if we had to choose one word to describe their cocktails it would be: wow. Decorated with flaming marshmallows and served in dainty teacups, we’d come here for the Insta opportunity alone. Order whatever takes your fancy when you visit, but the Cerez Joker is a cut above the rest with a helium balloon attached to the glass.
For more info on the best bars in London, visit DesignMyNight and follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @DesignMyNight.
By Leighanne Bent