Master craftsman, maverick, pernickety, deviant, eccentric, genius – all words used to describe one man, the great Dick Bradsell.

Ask anyone in the know, who they believe was responsible for giving London its cool cocktail capital status, and 10 out of 10 will cite Dick Bradsell. You may not have known him but you’re sure to have tasted his drinks: ever sipped an Espresso Martini? That’s one of his. The Bramble and Russian Spring Punch are too. His weren’t complicated cocktails – that wasn’t his style, he was more about simple, session drinks that you’d go back for again and again. He passed away earlier this year and we resolved that we’d dedicate this, our London issue, to him. His daughter Bea Bradsell, no slouch in the bartending department herself, shares her thoughts on growing up with a drinks legend and we talk to just a few of the many people who worked with or were inspired by him.

Bea and Dick Bradsell, photographed for The Cocktail Lovers Magazine by Johnnie Pakington

It’s as if London’s bars were honouring him too. At the Oscars of the drinks world, the Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail, earlier this year, the capital’s bars picked up eight of the top categories. We caught up with the teams and asked them to show off their hardware, then over at The Connaught Bar, awarded World’s Best Bar no less, we asked Ago Perrone and his Italian team to strike a pose for us a la Dolce Vita.

Top: The winning bars show off their hardware in the Rumpus Room at Mondrian London, photography Lawrence Watson;
Above: Walter Pintus and Maura Milia in fine Italian style at the Connaught Bar, photography Johnnie Pakington

The rest of the issue is unapologetically London focused too – well, it is published to coincide with London Cocktail Week. Read about the people, places and history of this fascinating city and while you do so, please raise a glass to Dick Bradsell.

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