What now? If this just sounds like a tongue-twister, or a general-studies class at Hogwarts – think again. The Alchemist has come to London, and boy does it deliver the promised magic. Using a series of Heston-style mixology techniques to create theatrical drinks, but without a high price tag, this is a menu that’s guaranteed to get cocktail newbies excited.
Alche-me up then – what if I’ve got more lead than gold?
Never fear – the average price is £7.50 – amazing for cocktails of this quality. Expect dry-ice, ingenious methods and quirky combinations that will have you alternating between appreciative sipping and gasping in awe. Plus with a list of around fifty cocktails that usually have some sort of twist or tweak, there’s pretty much something for everyone.
Best for when you’re feeling:
Like you’re bored with the standard Martini/Cosmopolitan, or just want to add an extra pizzazz to your drinking experience. The Alchemist is a sensory treat that delivers on aesthetics, ingenuity and flavour.
Where is it?
In the Bevis Marks building, between Bank and Aldgate. Being a City bar, expect a few of the after-work types hanging around but The Alchemist is determined to get them off the pints and Pinot, and wean them onto the more eccentric and exciting drinks on offer instead.
Who to go with:
A friend into theatre or who thrives on creativity. They’ll really appreciate the thought and innovation that has gone into the list. Also, that mate who is forever on Instagram – with cocktails looking this good, they’ll be snap-happy all night. To be honest though, you’re best bringing a bunch of people – that way you can all order something different and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ as the different drinks arrive.
What makes it unique:
With a cocktail list this unusual you often expect a smaller selection of drinks and a much higher price tag, but with their focus on catering for everyone, this includes keeping the price points low – particularly by central London standards. Plus, we’re guessing it’s not often you have cocktails poured from conical flasks, or drinks that change colour before your eyes…
So what’s the deal?
The Alchemist is already a popular destination in Manchester and Leeds, and now it’s arrived in London. The focus here is on the customer – they’re not trying to be clever for the sake of it, but just want to produce a quirky and thoroughly fun experience for cocktail lovers everywhere (or those that have an inner-mixology fan just waiting to be released.)
So what is just so great about these drinks? Well, it really has got something for everyone. Want something pretty, experimental and unique? The Bubble Bath uses gin, Chambord and Aperol with apple and some secret ingredients, and arrives frothing and bubbling bright pink in front of you. Or, if you’re more of a fan of the classics, then you have to try their Smokey Old Fashioned. Wild Turkey Bourbon is expertly combined with maple syrup and oak smoke, and tastes just like autumn on your tongue. Go for a Hot and Cold Espresso Tini if you fancy something gorgeous and wonderfully bizarre, or grab your very own Alchemist hip-flask that can be topped up throughout the evening. And really, how can you not be intrigued by a menu that offers a drink simply called ‘The Colour Changing One’?
The Alchemist is focused around the main bar, and has loads of seating options. Large glass windows look onto the street, and there’s a lofty ceiling, so it feels quite cavernous. A gold-theme runs throughout, noticeable in the burnished metal bar. It’s also definitely female-friendly.
So what should I order?
Trust us, you’ll want to order everything. But the signature cocktail you absolutely must try is the Mad Hatters Tea Party. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but expect a creative use of brewing-apparatus, quaint serving receptacles, and a finale that is definitely applause worthy. Oh, and it tastes super too.
Other menu items?
Lots of wines and beers on offer, but shame on you if you order them! There’s also an accompanying bar serving meals as well, although we couldn’t be dragged from the cocktail list.
Who’s behind it?
The Alchemist bars are part of the Living Ventures group, who operate some pretty slick outfits in the dining and drinking scene. The drinks menu was created by Dave Ray and Felix Cross – cocktail gurus extraordinaire.
Is it going to break the bank?
Certainly not. Almost all of the cocktails are under £8, meaning you’ll still have some gold in your pocket when you leave. That’s if you haven’t succumbed to the temptation of trying half of the menu to see what’s in store…
If you’re a lover of cocktails and the whole shebang – from new flavor combinations to stylish delivery – then you absolutely have to try The Alchemist. The focus is on fun and excitement which is delivered in buckets. Grab a few friends, get your camera ready, and head over to Bevis Marks for a lesson in magical mixology.
Open Mon-Fri 7am-12am; Sat 10am-12am.
6 Bevis Square, London EC3A 7BA. T: 020 7283 8800. the alchemist.uk.com
Rebecca Milford @rebecca_anne_m