Does Dr Stravinsky’s London pop-up do the best cocktails in the world?
Bloody Hell, Mrs Churchill. These are some 'serious cocktails'.
I’ll admit it: normally, mixing my drinks doesn’t turn out particularly well for me. But when I heard that Barcelona’s Dr Stravinsky – one of the certified best cocktail bars in the world – is making a cameo appearance in London for a limited time only, I couldn’t resist the urge to throw caution to the wind and say ‘sod it’.
The World’s 25th-best Cocktail Bar
Headed up by bartender extraordinaire Antonio Naranjo, Dr Stravinsky brings together home-made alcohols and local produce in a mesmerising display of potion-slinging wonderment. But it’s not just the theatrics that keep the punters interested – the drinks themselves are stylish little things that taste as good as they look. ‘Serious cocktails’, as my boyfriend put it.
So Where’s It Happening?
The Den at 100 Wardour Street, Soho’s dimly lit, skull-strewn hub of all things chic and black (good job I bundled in from the rain wearing a bright orange leopard-print dress). Move quickly though, cocktail crew – the doc is only in session till Sunday 8 March.
In just two short hours, my boyfriend and I managed to knock back a fair amount of the menu between us. These are the drinks that made the hit-list:
Ingredients: Truffle Redistilled Tequila, Campari Bitter, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
The verdict: Sipping on the Rosita is like taking a slow car ride around the Amalfi Coast – minus the Coronavirus and mass hysteria. Topped off with a garnish of dried Parmigiano Reggiano, this truffly number feels like a warming home-cooked meal and sophisticated aperitif rolled into one. With so many different tones, I half expected to start turning red, blow up to the size of a zeppelin, and have a dozen Oompa Loompas come out and sing me out of the bar.
Ingredients: Bulleit Bourbon, lemon juice, egg, mix of wines
The verdict: A cocktail in trifle’s clothing. Sitting pretty in its cute, stubby little glass, this cinnamon-dusted delight looks like it could very well be more sweet than sour – but don’t be deceived. It’s got a satisfying Bourbon kick to it, and just the right amount of tang to keep you quaffing till there’s only froth left.
Mrs Churchill (left) and Remedio (right)
Ingredients: Johnny Walker Black Label, Mancino Sweet Vermouth, Mozart Dark, fig liqueur
The verdict: Wowza. Dark and sultry in its stemmed glass, the Mrs Churchill gives off strong ‘forbidden potion’ vibes – making it all the more desirable, in my eyes. In an almost kinky twist, sipping this one leaves you with very chocolatey lips (there’s a rim of melty cocoa goodness all round the edge of the glass). In short? Mrs Churchill is a decadent minx who is likely to get you very, very drunk – and fortunately for you, you’ll enjoy every moment of it.
Ingredients: Johnny Walker Black, Lapsang tea kombucha, smoky cordial, Avet liqueur
The verdict: A magnolia-coloured prescription in a tall, frosty glass, complete with a pine cone and freshly cut fir tree sprig. The kombucha and smoky cordial gave me an almost sub-perceptual feeling that I was getting in touch with Mother Earth – sort of like dropping one of Greta Thunberg's hairs into a pensieve.
Ingredients: Shiso infused Ketel One Vodka, thyme tincture, Tio Pepe Dry Sherry, apricot brandy
The verdict: The Shiso Martini is a drink you respect; the liquid form of a telling glance from your grandma when you have your elbows on the table during Sunday lunch. Distinctly alcoholic, the Shiso is one for the cocktail connoisseurs amongst us – and in truth, it made me feel like a naive child that needs to be told a few words of wisdom.
Ingredients: Copalli Organic Rum, banana liqueur, Salerno blood orange liqueur, La Fee Absinthe, Velvet Falernum, lime, tangerine
The verdict: Tropical and punchy, but not without a dangerous sort of gravitas. The Golden Soil’s fruity blend of banana, lime, tangerine and blood orange and sunny, granita-like appearance will lull you into a sense of false security at first quaff – until the absinthe kicks in and hits the roof of your mouth like popping candy, that is.
Ingredients: Tanqueray, Pedro Ximenez, wasabi, soy, basil, tomato
The verdict: As I approached that woozy time in the evening when one cocktail shaker starts to turn into two, this fiery fix was enough to hit me like an ethanol-fuelled defibrillator straight to the chest. The Bloody Hell does exactly what you’d expect from its tried-and-tested ingredients; the familiar flavour of Tanqueray is a welcome addition to the various contours of capsicum swirling around in your hand grenade-style glass. One is definitely enough. Ah go on then, one more for the road won’t hurt.*
*The next morning it turned out that it did, indeed, hurt. Bloody hell.