Where to get a great weekend cocktail at breakfast, brunch or the ‘Bridging Hour’

Ah, the Cocktail Hour; time to ease out of the day and into an ice cold martini. If we’re being sticklers for detail this delightfully elegant 1920s ritual is reserved for the hours between six and eight pm. But if you have a hankering for cocktails at breakfast or yearn for a spiritual adventure before the clock counts down to 18.00 hours, London’s bustling bar scene has some wonderful ways to quench your thirst…

Where better to start than the Breakfast Martini? Originally devised by The Maestro Salvatore Calabrese in 2000 at The Library Bar at The Lanesborough hotel, this cheeky drink mixes gin with Cointreau and a good dollop of orange marmalade to get your weekend brunch off to a lively start. You’ll find a variation of it at Café Luc, Roast and Hawksmoor. Bistro du Vin and Viajante also do great versions, both using the delicious Chase Marmalade vodka, or try the gorgeous one on the menu at the London Cocktail Club, garnished with a slice of toast.

Bloody Mary for brunch?

The Bloody Mary is another perfectly acceptable drink to sip ahead of the Cocktail Hour. Most places do one but if you fancy something a little different, try the D.I.Y. version at Giant Robot. Grab yourself a pitcher and build your own drink, starting with a gin or vodka base, then give it some personality with your choice of port, sherry and tequila, Tabasco, horseradish and sugar syrup. To be honest, the result can be a bit hit or miss but it gets ten out of ten for interactive fun.

The Botanist over in Chelsea takes its Bloody Marys very seriously, with no less than five variations on the menu for weekend brunch. There’s the Virgin Mary which is all very lovely and virtuous but much more fun are the Botanist Bloody Mary (the classic one served long with a celery stick); the Butcher’s Bloody Mary (Smirnoff Black vodka and red meat jus shaken with fresh tomato chutney, rosemary and spices); the Green Mary (Basil-infused vodka shaken with tomato juice, coriander, spices and pesto), and the amazing Cherry Tomato Mary (three spiced cherry tomatoes served with a celery martini: Smirnoff Black, fresh celery, green apple and a dash of Chablis).

One last mention for the BM goes to the recently launched Belvedere Bloody Mary vodka used in all three cocktails on the brunch menu at Le Caprice. There’s a classic, a Very Mary (with a shot of red wine) and the Pineapple Mary (with the addition of pineapple, orange, lime and paprika).

The Dandy at Hawksmoor

So that’s the morning/early afternoon taken care of, what about a drink between lunch and the Cocktail Hour? Head over to Hawksmoor Seven Dials for its ‘Bridging Drinks’ which zone in on the Edwardian tradition where the moneyed classes would while away the time between their post-lunch port and pre-dinner martini with a light, refreshing cocktail. The Champagne-based drinks on this part of Hawksmoor’s list include a delicious Buck’s Fizz made to the exact 1921 recipe and The Dandy, an absolute corker of a drink blended with cognac, Maraschino, sugar, Benedictine and Champagne.

Have a great weekend.

Bistro du Vin, 38-42 St. John Street, EC1M 4AY. T: 020 7490 9230 hotelduvin.com
The Botanist, 7-12 Sloane Square, SW1W 8EE. T: 020 7730 0077 thebotanistonsloanesquare.com
Cafe Luc, 50 Marylebone High Street, W1V 5HN. T: 020 7258 9878 cafeluc.com
Le Caprice, 25 Arlington Street, SW1A 1RJ. T: 020 7629 2239 le-caprice.co.uk
Giant Robot, 45-47 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RS. T: 020 7065 6810 gntrbt.com
Roast, Floral Hall, Stoney Street, SE1 1TL. T: 0845 034 7300 roast-restaurant.com




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