I recently paid a visit to one of my favourite bars in London on a typically rainy Monday evening to try out their new cocktail menu.
The bar in question is the St James Bar in The Sofitel London St James just off Pall Mall and short stroll down from Piccadilly Circus.
The St James Bar’s ‘A Taste of the World’ cocktail menu has been inspired by traditional food, flavours and ingredients from around the world and promises to take you on an unforgettable journey around the world, revealing different dishes, traditions and cultures along the way.
There are 18 brand-new and rather unique cocktails that have been created by the St James Bar mixologists to evoke the well-known flavours of each destination’s signature dish or ingredient, such as an Old Fashioned inspired by American BBQ or a Gin Sour influenced by Greek Tzatziki.
If you are unfamiliar with the St James Bar, it is a chic, elegant and inviting meeting place with an upmarket ambience, filled with rich textures and colours, and where you will find an eclectic mix of locals, businesspeople, and hotel guests. The service is warm and friendly, and the background music unobtrusive.
This intimate and somewhat decadent cocktail bar has a twist of French and British influences with its rich mohair velvet banquettes, opulent jewel shades complementing brass accents, warm lighting and antique mirror tables and a striking marble topped bar.
The first cocktail I tried was the ‘Exotico’, which is a mix of an 11 year old Ron Santiago De Cuba Rum, Ron Santiago De Cuba Blanca Rum, Trois Rivières Blanc Rum, mango and passion fruit, lychee and topped with Sons ginger beer. It is wonderfully refreshing and light, with an almost dark and stormy tropical taste to it.
My next choice was a floral style champagne cocktail named ‘Sakura’, which is made with Belvedere Vodka, Akashi Tai Honjozo Sake, Muyu Jasmine Verte, cherry blossom and topped with some Moët & Chandon Brut champagne.
If you like a Negroni, then my third selection is well worth trying. It is the ‘Gianduja’, which is created with Tanqueray N.10 Gin, hazelnut and chocolate, Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Solera 1847 Sherry Cream. With hazelnut and chocolaty flavours, this cocktail will transport you to Piedmont in Italy.
The fourth and final cocktail I tried was a Martinez style ‘Grapes’, which is a mix of Boatyard Double Gin, Boatyard Sloe Boat Gin, Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino, Cocchi Barolo Chinato, Maraschino, grapes and blackberry and tannins giving it an aromatic and fruity taste.
Other cocktails on the menu include a Caribbean inspired Rum Tiki and a Whiskey Sour with delicious hints of French Crepe Suzette. However, whilst I loved all the four cocktails I tried, my winner of the evening has to be ‘Exotico’.
So, if you are looking for something just a little bit special to take that special someone, then head to the St James Bar over the summer and try some of these excellent new cocktails from the ‘A Taste of the World’ menu, you won’t be disappointed.
St James Bar, Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AN, England.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 2238
The St James Bar is located to the right of the lobby as you walk into the Sofitel London St James, which is on the corner of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall very close to Piccadilly Circus Tube station (Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines). The bar is open on Sunday and Monday from 11:00am to midnight, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and open Thursday to Saturday from 5:00pm to midnight.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Sofitel London St James