A cold wet and gloomy November night requires light and warmth to soothe the soul. Coming round the corner onto Portman Square behind Oxford Street, we were met with the sight of fantastic festive lights in the shape of a large and glorious Christmas pudding, cheering us immeasurably. Then on to the corner of the square to the inviting glow of the outside terrace of our destination, The Churchill Bar & Terrace, filled with chatter and laughter.
The Churchill Bar & Terrace
The bar and terrace, in the Hyatt Regency is inspired by and is a testament to Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, and exudes style and glamour. We sank into deep, comfortable armchairs next to a roaring fire, and admired the classic British style of the décor. The Churchill link is everywhere here and provides much to see and examine, from the statue of him on the terrace to the printed letters to and from Clementine on the walls. My personal favourite was a map of the world with pins showing the places that Churchill had spent time in, along with helpful information such as ‘Joined General Buller in Pretoria in the Siege of Ladysmith’ – great for the history buffs.
We quickly moved back to the present as we learned about the new cocktail menu that has been launched recently, one which features twelve curated cocktails centred around ten themes of environmental concern. The bar focuses on working with the hotel to dramatically reduce food wastage by recycling it and producing delicious syrups which can then be put into cocktails. Roberto, one of the mixologists explained it beautifully when he said that they wanted to give a second life to the food ingredients they worked with.
The same thought and imagination goes all the way through to the receptacles that the cocktails arrive in. The Be Hive is served in a 100% beeswax cup, which extends its life by being repeatedly melted down and moulded again. Reborn Essence arrived in a coffee-husk cup with a pumpkin flask.
My partner started with the appropriately named Quarter Joy – a wonderful blend of responsibly produced vodka, seasonal pear cordial, Fino and Aperol. Complex, refreshing and focused on lowering the carbon footprint with the use of seasonal, local ingredients. This was followed by a Red Wilderness, for each one sold a donation is given to the charity aiding the recuperation and return to the wild of urban foxes in London. It was elegant with a whisky base and a nod to sustainability through the cherry preservation juice.
I immediately chose the Wasteless Martini and was very glad I did. A martini style cocktail which is where tradition ended. The discarded fennel food waste had been fermented in sugar, lemon and vodka which worked perfectly delivering both citrus and savoury notes. Then the Monarch which highlighted a butterfly’s metamorphosis symbolised by the changing colours of yellow and purple. This contained Masons Gin from North Yorkshire infused with tea, alongside a cucumber cordial and Acqua Bianca liqueur. The wonderful Roberto informed us that the blue liquor went in last so the changing colours were the first thing the customer sees. Finally, we shared a Full Circle which uses Lakes English whisky and home cured beetroot to create a full bodied cocktail with both herbal and spicy notes.
Surprised and delighted
We left back into the dark night buoyed by the knowledge that there are people and places that are passionate believers in minimising their impact on the environment. That it can be done through the creation of incredible cocktails is both inspiring and a cause for celebration. I asked what the feedback was to the new cocktail menu and Roberto said it was extremely good. People were both surprised and delighted which is an accolade that The Churchill Bar and Terrace should be rightly proud of.
To discover more visit: thechurchillbar.co.uk
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All imagery courtesy of Hyatt Worldwide.