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The Stafford London, an old & charming boutique hotel, tucked amidst the quaint streets of St James, recently invited me to preview their new Summer cocktail menu, which takes on classic London influence and is infused with historic World War II heritage, and a dash of modern taste.
The evening was presented by the The Stafford London’s head mixologist, Eric Rychnausky, and took place in the hotel’s 380-year-old wine cellars, which were built in the 17th Century by Lord Francis Godolphin and used as an air-raid shelter in WWII.
Eric, who works in The Stafford London’s iconic American Bar, talked us through the intricate creation process of three of his Summer cocktails:
1) The Stafford Garden: Hendricks gin, apple sours, apple juice, fresh cucumber, fresh mint and twist of orange garnish. Shaken and double-strained.
This cocktail is delicious, a blend straight from the herb garden in the hotel’s courtyard, Blue Ball Yard. It is refreshing & summery, I can imagine sipping this in the garden on a hot summer day.
2) The Spitfire: Chase marmalade vodka, fresh passion fruit, elderflower cordial, vanilla syrup, top of Laurent-Perrier champagne and fresh passion fruit garnish. Shaken and double-strained.
Easily my favourite of the three cocktails, this is similar to a passion fruit martini, so very sweet, fruity and moreish! The cocktail is a homage to the classic wartime planes hanging in the famous saloon.
3) The White Mouse: Boudier saffron gin, drop of honey, lemon juice, top of Laurent-Perrier champagne and star anise garnish. Shaken and double-strained.
This cocktail tastes almost medicinal and is named after Nancy Wake, a French resistance spy and one of Churchill’s most highly decorated special agents who aided the troops from a seat at the American Bar. The flavours blend beautifully and you can clearly taste each ingredient. Eric explained: “I decided to give her a star, because she was a soldier”.
The Stafford London feels very much like a secret piece of London that has yet to be overrun by the masses, which means you don’t need to wait half an hour for a drink, and is a great way to ‘shake up’ your week!