Fancy cocktails in the alps this Christmas? Forget expensive flights to far flung places and check out the following London hotspots instead…
The only thing that would make this place more Austrian is if the von Trapp family were singing Edelweiss in the corner. It’s modelled on a Tyrolean farm house and boy have they embraced the theme – everything from the decor to the staff uniforms takes you straight to Osterreich. Chow down on schnitzels, spaetzle, sausages and strudels and on the drinks front, choose from a selection of schnapps made by artisan producers. Try the House Cocktails (some but not all also embracing the alliteration theme), including Saint Bernard (Martell cognac shaken with hazlenut schnapps, Mozart chocolate liqueur and cream) and Snow Angel (Ciroc vodka, elderflower and passionfruit, served straight up topped with sparkling Grüner Veltliner). And like all the best apres ski spots, the night life is a major focus. Wednesdays to Sundays are d.i.s.c.o. nights – for maximum party fun, order the Shotski (ten shots of raspberry schnapps, fresh raspberries, lemon and champagne) or Bodo’s Bobsleigh (Belvedere vodka, organic elderflower, a dash of T.B.A and a magnum of Pommery).
2 Kensington High Street, W8 4PT. T: 020 7937 5506. bodoschloss.com.
The Elk Winter Wonderland
Sip on winter warming cocktails such as Butterscotch Schnapps Hot Chocolate and Mulled Wine served with a cheeky shot of Drambuie at this cosy alpine retreat featuring silver Christmas trees, icicles, twinkly lights and illuminated reindeer. The food is right on the money: try The Christmas Gobble (turkey and pancetta pattie, smoked sausage, sage and onion relish and cranberry mayonnaise served on a toasted brioche bun) served straight from the smoke pit.
Elk Bar, 857-591 Fulham Road, SW6 5UB. elk bar.com.
Freeze by elit bar at Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Terrace
After your Christmas shopping (one gift for them, something rather fabulous for you), chill out with cocktails in the alpine ski lodge at Harvey Nichols. Sleek silver stag heads, faux sheepskin rugs and cosy blankets get you in festive mood, setting the scene for Dominic Jacobs’ elit Stolichnaya cocktail and matching canape concoctions. Try the Stoli Jalabarbinger, a fiery mix of Stoli Hot vodka, jalapeño peppers, rhubarb liqueur, pressed lemon, Harvey Nichols honey and cold-busting fresh ginger; or for those with a sweeter palate there’s the Sticki Situation, combining Stoli Sticki vodka, crushed pear, cloves and lemon juice served with fresh sliced pear. Book the log cabin for groups of six or more and share an elit Freeze blended with elit Stolichnaya vodka, quince jelly, cinnamon, pressed apple, crushed pear and stem ginger.
Fifth Floor Terrace, Harvey Nichols, 109 Knightsbridge, SW1. T: 020 7235 5250. harveynichols.com.
The Montague Ski Lodge
The cosy wooden deck at the Montague hotel has been sprinkled with snowflakes, turning it into a romantic Christmas retreat complete with snowmen, reindeer, Christmassy tunes and moody lanterns. A flat, frankly bargain price of £20 gets you a choice of three shots of 12 flavoured vodkas (toffee and clementine get our thumbs up), candied nuts and a food tasting platter of mini turkey burgers and grilled bratwurst – perfect for setting you up for a wintry evening.
15 Montague Street, WC1B 5BJ. T: 020 7637 1001. montaguehotel.com