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Introducing London Cocktail Week’s Connoisseur’s Collection

From October 12 – 22, some of London's most exclusive bars are putting on something special.

By Toby Louch

Since 2010, London Cocktail Week has been gracing the streets of London, introducing some of the city’s finest bars to the thousands of revelers that join in the festivities each year.

The concept is simple, from October 12 through October 22, those who have purchased a London Cocktail Week wristband can visit hundreds of the best bars in London and ask for the “signature cocktail”.

Each bar has prepared its own special drink that it then sells to attendees for $10. As one of the cocktail capitals of the world — that sees constant new openings — it’s surely the best way to find your new favorite spot in London.

But for some exclusive locations, a $10 dollar cocktail remains beyond the realms of possibility. From The Connaught and The Savoy to Sexy Fish, London has some of the finest bars in the world. For the first time in 13 years, those seriously luxurious haunts have a solution.

The London Cocktail Week Connoisseur’s Collection features the crème de la crème of bars. For those of you looking to turn their cocktail game up to the max, sample some of the finest tipples in town, and generally splurge on what can be unquestionably be described as some of the most delightful drinks around, we provide a rundown of the Connoisseur’s Collection for London Cocktail Week.

The Savoy

The Beaufort Bar The Savoy
The Beaufort Bar remains an ideal late-night haunt / ©The Savoy

Some spots are classic for a reason, and The Savoy’s as classic as they come. So much so, that you’d be forgiven for thinking you bumped into Sofia Loren or Frank Sinatra propping up the bar, as both have graced its hallways.

Astute readers will already be boiling over, bursting with the knowledge that The Savoy is a hotel not a bar, of course they’re correct, but this year The Savoy has two bars as members of the Connoisseur’s Collection.

Usually, when you’re outside of the US, it’s best to avoid “American bars,” but when it comes to The Savoy, standard rules don’t apply. American Bar is the longest-serving cocktail bar in London, first opening its doors in 1893. And for the oldest cocktail joint in the city, why not crack open some vintage offerings?

This year for London Cocktail Week, American Bar is opening the vault and letting visitors delight in some vintage Bacardi Daiquiri’s. For $49 per person, visitors get two cocktails, the first utilizing a classic 1970s Bacardi rum, the second featuring contemporary Bicardi Carta Blanca. It’s the only way to find out if they really did it better in the 1970s.

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Then pop over to The Beaufort Bar, which is offering martini’s and caviar bumps. For $30 per person, you can indulge in a Grey Goose martini and a bump of Sturia caviar served right on the back of your hand. If you sample enough and squint hard, you might even spot Frank tucking into one more for the road.  

[See also: Cocktail Recipe: The Flame of Love by Grey Goose]

The Aubrey

The Aubrey London Cocktail Week
The Aubrey brings a classic Japanese izakaya to the heart of Knightsbridge / ©The Aubrey

Some cocktail lovers have their go-to. Others may be less experienced or perhaps relish diving into the unknown.

The Aubery at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge knows a thing or two about taking the reins and showing customers something they haven’t seen before. Known for its authentic izakaya (Japanese pub or tavern) vibe, The Aubrey serves classic Japanese food and cocktails conjured by bar director Pietro Rizzo.

This year for London Cocktail Week, The Aubrey is offering its own special omakase experience. Translating as “I’ll leave it up to you,” an omakase experience is usually when the chef decides what you eat, but this is all about the drinks, so the concept will be applied to a series of exquisite cocktails.

In a dramatic break from protocol, these experiences will be hosted by Pietro Rizzo himself, so drinkers are sure to witness a maestro at work, revealing previously unseen techniques. For $240 a head, be prepared to delve into a world of Japanese drink.

[See also: Lympstone Manor Launches First English Sparkling Wine]

Kwānt

The bar at Kwant
With only six seats, the tasting experience at Kwānt is set to be a truly special affair / ©Kwānt

Created by a Bartender of the Year and ex-head bartender of the aforementioned classique establishment, American Bar, Erik Lorincz’s Kwānt (pronounced quaint,) rides the knife edge between past and future. It’s one part Casablanca, Bogart and Bergman drinking the night away, but add a dash of tiki torches and bamboo accents just for fun.

Expect a waiter in a white jacket and blue jeans serving you something vibrant with liquid smoke. It’s an eclectic sensory extravaganza that gives the bigwigs a run for their money in London’s Mayfair.

If you’re sold on the idea of Kwānt, I can’t blame you. Those looking to glimpse into the mind of Lorincz should head down to the corner of Stratton Street and Mayfair Place, and walk down Kwānt’s inviting steps. This year, especially for London Cocktail Week, Kwānt is offering its own Omakase tasting experience. For $73 you get six cocktails, and there are only six seats, so is sure to be an intimate experience. But with intimacy comes exclusivity, so make sure you book in early.

[See also: The Midsomar by Thirlings Dry Gin]

Sexy Fish

Whisky selection at Sexy Fish
Sexy Fish’s vault of ultra-rare Japanese whisky / ©Sexy Fish

You may be shocked to discover that cocktails aren’t for everyone. Well, it would be a shame if those so inclined couldn’t also join in the fun. Richard Carring’s Sexy Fish, known for its sushi, sequins and influencers has a trick hidden up its sleeve. It also possesses an audacious collection of rare Japanese whisky.

For those in the know, Sexy Fish is blowing the dust off some Hanyu Joker Color Label, Karuizawa 30 Year Old First Geisha Bourbon Cask #8606, and Yamazaki Mizunara cask Bot. 2013. For those outside the know, that means absolutely nothing, but let’s just say it’s not the kind of drink you can pick up from your average liquor store.

This one is the most exclusive of the bunch with only six tickets available priced at $407 per person. For that you will be tucking into a welcome drink — it is London Cocktail Week after all — four ultra-rare, bucket-list whiskies, in addition to a selection of dishes from the chefs.

London Cocktail Week runs October 12-22. For more information, visit londoncocktailweek.com

[See also: House of Suntory Partners with 100 Bars for 100th Anniversary]

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