Infamous for winning World’s Best Bar four times in a row from 2012 and 2015 at The World’s 50 Best Bars, we were excited to return to this London gem to discover its new simple yet elegant menu where every cocktail is made up of two ingredients.
As you enter the grand space of the Artesian Bar at the Langham, the violet décor and giant golden wooden chandeliers welcome you. There is a lively atmosphere with the lights dimmed and Motown music playing in the background.
Every cocktail on the menu is made up of just two ingredients (with the addition of a little salt, sugar, acid and vodka to, as Head Bartender Marco Corallo tells us, ‘supercharge’ the ingredients).
Being simplistic, the team behind this creative list find no need to garnish any of the cocktails. Apart from their Armagnac & Zalotti Blossom where small purple flowers from the African Basil plant adorn the drink. Marco tells us, “as you drink the cocktail the flowers tickle your nose and release a fragrant basil aroma.”
There are two underlying ideas to the construction of the cocktails: They either rely on sourcing or technique.
We begin our journey focusing on sourcing fine ingredients with the Martini Ambrato and Capovilla Apricot Eau de Vie. A blend of Turin-made Vermouth and a craft Italian fruit based spirit, lovingly paired to create an unctuous tipple ripe with flavours of cherry stones, red apple and fino sherry; with the bitterness of freshly sliced lemon rind and the spiced warmth of cinnamon on the finish.
Another beautiful example of their celebration of sourcing ingredients to flavour-match is their Bacardi Heritage Rum & Tamagawa Sake. At first nose this golden liquid reminds us of a mossy forest floor. A savoury drink bursting with umami. This drink is not for the faint hearted. Mushroom, earthy, saline flavours give way to leathery vanilla and apple.
Now to try the cocktails with a heavy focus on technique. These are the ones you would not try to recreate at home with most needing the use of equipment not out of place in a science laboratory!
Star of Bombay Gin & Golden Beetroot is an ingenious triumph created by Bacardi Legacy (one of the world’s hottest cocktail comps) Winner 2017 Ran Van Ongevalle. With a mind boggling process where the beetroot is placed in a sous vide with sugar, baked in a salt bath and then blended with vodka and redistilled this is added to the Star of Bombay Gin which results in a sweet and earthy drink with the same PH as a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. With floral and citrus hints this drink really is a feat of modern technology.
Marco certainly saved the best ‘til last. We finish with their Courvoisier VSOP & Mid Roast Coffee. Again, the ingredients of this cocktail are placed in a centrifuge to clarify the ingredients. The result is a crystal clear indulgent drink with young grape cognac notes and a creamy coffee finish. Served on a giant translucent cube of ice this really is reminiscent of a luxurious more rounded White Russian.
It’s safe to say that the Artesian Bar really is showing off its artistry. To finish, some exclusive news…We can’t wait for Spring 2020 when a new menu will launch, heralding another chapter of this world class cocktail bar.
To book and discover more, visit: www.artesian-bar.co.uk
By Victoria Grier