The UK’s top 50 cocktail bars revealed: but which Edinburgh speakeasy was crowned the UK’s number one?

A definitive list of the UK’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars has been announced, revealing that more than half of the UK’s top cocktail bars are based outside of London.   While the capital’s cocktail scene has a strong presence (with Ryan Chetiyawardana’s much lauded Dandelyan taking second place), a subterranean cocktail bar in Edinburgh scooped the top spot. Scroll…

Allotment cocktails: why ‘garden’ garnishes are the next big thing in gin

Of all the invitingly inflorescent gardens on display at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, there was one which particularly piqued the imaginations (and the thirst) of those wandering among the anthriscus.  Perhaps unsurprisingly for such a sun-dappled British event, it was the Silent Pool gin garden, blooming with blue Himalayan poppies, foxgloves and corydalis, as well…

Pre-mixed cocktails blind tasted — so do they measure up?

Pre-mixed cocktails were once the preserve of easy-to-please teenagers, willingly exchanging their pocket money for sugary bottled booze — or perhaps for picnickers or festival-goers, catching some rays in the park as they sipped on supermarket cans of Pimms or G&T. Now, drinks industry legends including mixologists Tony Conigliaro (Bar Termini) and “king of cocktails” Ryan…

Straight Up: Waeska Bar at The Mandrake Hotel 

The name Waeska is a less phonetically challenging version of ayahuasca, the psychoactive Amazonian vine said to result in spiritual enlightenment. Visitors to the bar at The Mandrake Hotel (itself named after a hallucinogenic plant) in Fitzrovia face a sort of out-of-body experience themselves as they make their way along the all-black, soundproofed entrance tunnel and…

The best rooftop bars in London

Just as The Drifters sang, everything is all right up on the roof. More than all right: London now boasts an impressive array of high-rise venues offering the height of good drinking. From City skyscrapers and summertime pop-ups to riverside terraces and top-floor gardens, here are our 10 favourite rooftop bars in London.  Aviary Aviary…

A pina colada at the touch of a button: the ‘Vocktail’ (or virtual reality cocktail) put to the test

I‘ve always been terrified of virtual reality. When Armageddon comes, I’m convinced it’ll be wrought by a sinister army of robots rather than some over-excitable world leader whose finger wanders too close to the big red button.  Increasingly, we’re handing over all manner of routine activities to technology. At supermarkets, human contact is dying out; soon we’ll…

10 of the finest cocktails for National Tequila Day

For National Tequila Day, and what better way to mark the occasion than with ten of the best tequila-based cocktails, from the classic to the creative? Actually, it’s more like eight, because I’ve thrown in a couple of mezcal drinks to spice things up a bit. The differences between them are regional and, well… it’s complicated. Tequila can…

Creative cocktails and waste-free cooking at Cub, London

‘This is our playground. We sit here and chat about our ideas all the time.’ Ryan Chetiyawardana relaxes into a custard-yellow banquette at Cub, the restaurant and bar he opened six months ago with chef Doug McMaster. Chetiyawardana (otherwise known as Mr Lyan) has been crowned the world’s best bartender, and last year was recognised…

Straight Up: The Crystal Bar at The Wellesley Hotel Knightsbridge

The original Hyde Park Corner tube station; a branch of Pizza Express… the past iterations of the Edwardian townhouse where The Wellesley hotel now stands don’t bode particularly well for its status as a five-star destination. Neither does its size, if you’re impressed by cavernous lobbies, four-digit-square-foot spas and more eateries than you can count…

Oxford College bans bar from serving pint-size cocktails following complaints about extreme drunkenness

An Oxford College has banned its bar from serving pint-size cocktails at big events, following complaints about extreme drunkenness among students. The move came after Wadham’s Domestic Bursar and JCR Bar Steward undertook a review of bar arrangements at large college events. They recommended that at future events, cocktails should be  served in half-pint glasses…

Better than whisky? Alternative Scottish drinks for Burns Night

Burns Night will soon be upon us, which is surely a good excuse for a drink. But were the Scottish poet to be loitering at the bar in 2018, he might well disown the modern birthday celebrations since, quite aside from any discordant bagpipe drone, such soirées fall considerably short of his hedonistic standards. “Rabbie”…

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