By Molly Lamb, WBM Brand Ambassador
Venue: The Coburg Bar, The Connaught Hotel
Location: Mayfair, London
Closest Tube: Bond Street or Green Park
Gin: Tanqueray 10
Vermouth: Noilly Prat
Martini No.2 –
Gin: Beefeater Burroughs Reserve
Vermouth: Sauterne (interesting use of a sweet white wine as a substitute for vermouth)
Twist: Japanese Peach and a dash of orange bitters
Vermouth: Noilly Prat
Accoutrements/Nibbles: Home-made, salted potato crisps (in copious quantities)
Ambience: Totally luxurious, yet very relaxed.
Toilets: I would have used the moisturiser as an anti-wrinkle cream if acceptable, kind of fancy!
If you fancy a martini with a dash of the Quintessentially British, The Connaught Hotel is the place for you. Two doormen wearing top hats and tails greet us as we enter the impressive building. Making our way to The Coburg bar, you can’t help but take in the effortless English vibe. High ceilings, rich dark oak and an open fire creating a glittering reflection off of the smooth marbled flooring (One must ask… Why not have a fire in mid-June? We are Brits after all!)
As fate would have it, there is space for us at the bar. We settle in and get acquainted with our front row seats… let the stirring begin! (“Stirred not shaken bar keep!”) Christian begins by placing down a plate of extremely moreish crisps, the perfect accoutrement to our martini tasting.
First Martini of the evening – was greatly anticipated and very much needed after a hectic day in the city. We opted for our classic benchmark, the Tanqueray No.10, stirred with Noilly Party Vermouth and served with a twist of grapefruit. Ice cold, perfectly dry with a kick of citrus, the martini hit the spot and we were in our element at The Coburg bar.
Christian then offered us an exclusive tasting of his new martini recipe, yet to be featured on the Coburg bar’s cocktail list. Of course we said yes. Two tastings became three! The martini was delicious despite it’s ‘wet’ palette*, albeit dry martini drinkers we would still definitely recommend giving it a try.
We were so attentively looked after by Christian we became the willing participants in devouring the most delicious home-made-salted-to-perfection-must-stop-eating-diet-starts-monday crisps. We settled in and enjoyed our second martini of the evening complimented by the quiet chatter and light banter of the Mayfair gang. Christian provided us with a very cosmopolitan twist for our martini No.2 in the form of a Japanese peach. We would argue to be enjoyed in a martini, or alone… once having savoured and enjoyed the drink of course. Although this martini is not yet available, watch this space for a potential WBM contender!
Last but by no means least, we were presented with The Connaught’s very own Connaught Bar Gin to finish off the tasting. Extremely crisp and clean, the drink flew down and by this point we had made great friends with Christian. It was a brilliant finale to a lovely evening and showcased the Connaught’s British heritage and our love of gin.
All in all, a fabulous evening of martini tasting, made even more enjoyable by Christian and the laid back, yet luxurious surrounding of The Coburg Bar. You won’t help but feel you’d entered into a glamorous yet inviting scene where the secret of a brilliant martini begins with you and your order. Needless to say, we’ll be back.
WBM Score: 8/10, we would without a doubt suggest you bring some friends to this wonderful establishment for an hour or two of laid-back luxury, in a classically British establishment and the much sought after of exclusivity…darling!
* Please see website for our WBM benchmark dry martini recipe.