It is so refreshing therefore to find a bar like The Connaught Bar where not only are the best cocktails in the world made everyday but where Head Mixologist Agostino Perrone and his team treated us even on our first visit there as if we were long standing friends and cherished customers. In short, they completely won us over.
What’s more, while our casual use of the phrase ‘the best cocktails in the world’ in the last paragraph was, well, casual, there is in fact more truth than hyperbole in that statement because Senior Mixologist there Erik Lorincz this July won the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2010 award. In short, he’s a world champ cocktail maker who beat a global field of 9,000 mixologists to take the title.
The Martinis too are imprinted with their own twist on the taste with original bitter infusions and in theatre with a Martini trolley that’s wheeled to your table so that you're ringside for the show. Agostino mixes the drink right there in front of you after you have chosen which of the bitter infusions you might enjoy for a new twist on a classic. Bitters here include vanilla, grapefruit, cardamom, liquorice, lavender, ginger or coriander. I chose liquorice and it was delightful.
All the cocktails served had just the right balance between sweet and sour and fruit/flavour and alcohol and all were a visual treat.The herb backing in many imparted hitherto unknown drinking flavours that you just have to try for yourself if want something properly original. Cocktail legend Dale DeGroff (of Rainbow Room fame) who was a judge at the Bartender of the Year competition said of the event that ‘these 21st century bartenders are the pioneers of a new golden age of the craft’; given that Erik won, I guess that makes him THE pioneer and drinking at The Connaught Bar therefore opens up a new frontier of cocktail drinking. There's so few places that could ever offer that.
To drink drinks of this quality, it might be worth having to make a reservation, it might be worth having to queue behind a red rope manned by surly door attendants, it might even be worth joining a private members club that doesn’t have a name above the door. Instead though, at The Connaught Bar, you have to do none of this, turning up is enough; from the moment you step through the door, Agostino and his team with a natural warmth will make you feel special from the very start. And even more guaranteed, after a few Tanqueray Ten Martinis, you’ll feel more than just special by the time you get up to leave a few hours later. We had the best time there and will certainly go back in the very near future.