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  1. Food & Drink
  2. Cocktail of the Week
2 weeks agoupdated May 07, 2024

Nipperkin Delivers a Taste of ‘Future Past’

Cocktail of the week: Menta by Nipperkin is their take on a mojito with a twist.

By Toby Louch

London’s Mayfair is certainly not short of subterranean cocktail haunts; it takes a lot to stand out when you’re nestled amongst the Berkley Square set. Yet, it’s safe to say Nipperkin doesn’t seem to mind dining out with the big dogs — and giving them a good kicking on the way out.

Upstairs, what was once 20 Berkeley, the modern British restaurant, described by Elite Traveler as “Understated yet confidently stylish,” is no more and has been replaced by NIJŪ, the Japanese grill and sushi bar that’s homing in on ‘Katei Ryori’ style cooking, or home-cooked food. Ownership, however, remains the same: Creative Restaurant Group, the company behind Endo at the Rotunda (best sushi in London, ask anyone including the Michelin man) and HUMO, which won its first Michelin star this year.

While all this commotion was going on upstairs, downstairs — tucked away from the Anglo-Japanese emigration — remains Nipperkin, which reopened on April 9 unchanged aside from a new menu. Nipperkin’s stylish toned-down charm remains a breath of fresh air. It’s particularly pleasant in this corner of London, where finding a spot Richard Caring hasn’t had his gaudy paws all over remains a challenge.

london cocktail bar
Nipperkin’s stylish toned-down subterranean bar / ©Nipperkin

Nipperkin’s new menu ‘Future Past,’ takes some cues from the change of restaurant, but steadfastly sticks to its original principles, namely cocktails that highlight the finest quality British foraged and sourced ingredients. Now, many of these options come with a Japanese flair so expect bright, punchy flavors and plenty of umami if it’s desired.

These serves pair wonderfully with the selection of small bites and nibbles. Think teriyaki skewers, amazu pickles and, now NIJŪ is open, a selection of Japanese sandos is also available, perfect for dealing with those post-work hunger pangs.  

Greek mixology maestro and group head of bars at Creative Restaurant Group, Angelos Bafas, and his team have concocted a menu that pinches some highlights from the past, while reimagining them in the light of the future. The cocktail list itself is split into four sections, ‘Foraged,’ ‘Home grown,’ ‘Preserving,’ and ‘Supporting the community.’

[See also: The Dirty Highlands by Mijenta Tequila Cristalino]

Nipperkin's Ransom cocktail
Nipperkin’s Ransom cocktail / ©Nipperkin

From ‘Foraged,’ you can’t go wrong with the Ramson. Nipperkin’s take on a Vesper martini, it’s a savory sip featuring both gin and vodka, while delicious earthy notes come from truffle and wild garlic. The beauty of this cocktail is that as the seasons change, so will the ingredients, ensuring this glass is always at its seasonal best.

The much-loved Black Mustard cocktail also returns to Nipperkin’s new menu. Featuring ingredients grown in-house from the indoor garden, this cocktail can be found on the home-grown portion of the menu. English-grown wasabi distillate and Nipperkin’s own black mustard leaves perfectly represent this bar’s philosophy. Discarded Chardonnay grape vodka, Capreolus apple Eau de Vie and King’s ginger liqueur ensure it’s practically impossible to visit without sampling flavors you never have before.

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[See also: The Best Sipping Tequila Brands in the World] 

window seat
The window seat at Nipperkin / ©Nipperkin

The drinks at Nipperkin represent mixology at its highest level: There’s no flashy smoke show, or gimmicks designed to impress Instagram. Instead, it’s refined and elegant. The ice is superb: it feels like each cocktail comes with its own shape, and each piece is bafflingly transparent. Asking Bafas the trick to getting it so perfect he says: “We buy it. Our iceman is the best in London, there’s no point doing it any other way.”

These cocktails feature the likes of wild kelp, apricot mead and foraged hogweed meaning some of the ingredients may be relatively hard to source. So, for this Cocktail of the Week, we have chosen a drink from Nipperkins library that is absolutely achievable at home. For the more advanced cocktails, you’ll just have to pop in and try them for yourself.  

[See also: The Demeter Whisky Collection Heads to Auction]


Nipperkin's Menta
Nipperkin’s Menta cocktail / ©Nipperkin

If you’re looking for something that screams Nipperkin, but is s a touch more achievable at your home bar, Menta is certainly the way to go. A staple of the menu from day one, this is Nipperkin’s take on a mojito. It’s delicate, light and refreshing – the ideal way to start a night on the town, or just kick off a good party.


— 30ml of Hendrick’s gin

— 15ml mint cordial syrup (Nipperkin makes their own with mint from its vertical hydroponic garden, but you can find it in a good shop)

— Ginger ale


Add the gin and mint syrup to a highball glass with ice, top up with ginger ale and finish with a slice of cucumber.

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