Three weeks and counting to the launch of the brand new Hawksmoor Guildhall and we were lucky enough to get a preview tasting of some of the specially created drinks on the innovative menu…
Like all of the Hawksmoors, this one has its own very distinct cocktail offering, devised to bring a bit of frivolity back in to drinking. “Everything’s got so serious now,” says bar manager Liam Davy. “We wanted to create a menu that’s accessible, affordable and fun.”
So the whole team from all three of the branches got together and put their ideas up for consideration. “Over half of the list comes from the bar staff,” says Davy. “We’ve even included a fabulous drink from one of the waiters.”
Having drawn up a shortlist of hands down, knock-out drinks, the only thing left was to put them together in a format with a thread to it. “We decided to base our new menu on The Day In The Life of a Drinker, looking to a variety of longer drinks to appeal to a wider audience.”
The day in the life of their drinker starts at around 10.30am with the Anti-Fogmatics – mainly long, pick-me-ups to gently rouse you back to normality after a big night out. We tried Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew (homemade ginger syrup, freshly squeezed lemon, London Pride ale), a turbo shandy for the discerning drinker taken from the Hawksmoor Seven Dials menu. We’re ashamed to say, we hadn’t tried it before but we’ll definitely be sipping one again in the not too distant future.
Moving on to 12pm and Pre-Prandials – sharp and bitter low alcohol drinks formulated to waken the palate before lunch. Our example here was Rich Hunt’s Sinking Spritz (Sauvignon Blanc, Aperol, elderflower, Cartron No. 7, Picon Club) based on the Venetian Spritz – another light, fresh and beautifully balanced drink that that slips down very nicely – Mr G’s favourite.
Then at 2.30pm or so it’s time for Post-Prandials – lightish drinks to aid digestion. Here we sampled Liam’s Tokaji Smash (fresh pineapple, fresh lemon, fresh lemon juice, apricot brandy, sugar syrup, Tokaji). Another cleverly devised, delicate concoction designed for easy drinking – this one was Ms S’s stand out cocktail.
4pm and on to the Bridging Drinks, effortlessly elegant champagne-based cocktails adapted from the Seven Dials menu (if it ain’t broke, why even try to fix it?). Ollie’s Canterbury Cooler (Tanqueray gin, Campari, Picpoul wine, elderflower cordial, soda, fresh pic grapefruit to garnish) is built in the glass and the delightful marriage of gin and wine signals the start of the more full-bodied cocktails on the list.
Moving swiftly on 10pm, it’s time for the Cards & Cigars cocktails – after dinner, rocks-based drinks designed to sip and savour. Our choice was based on The Treacle (sugar syrup, Angostura Bitters, Orange Bitters, sherry, Doorly’s rum and a spoonful of apple juice). Sweeter and heavier than the other sections it’s another surefire hit.
Then, and here’s where the fun factor cranks up to full throttle, it’s on to 2.30am and Disco Drinks, retro classics made to get the party started right. We tried the Nuclear Banana Daiquiri (Wray & Nephew rum, Chartreuse, Velvet Falernum, sugar syrup – complete with paper umbrella and hurricane glass) and do you know what? It tasted bloody fantastic.
Each section on the menu is made up of five to ten different drinks, priced from £7.50-£8.50; specials up to £12. Specified drinking times optional. Obviously…
Hawksmoor Guildhall, 10-12 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ. T: 020 7397 8120. thehawksmoor.com