Beaufort Bar at The Savoy launches pop-up cocktail menu for November
As dark as a banker’s soul, and equally fixated with gold, there are precious few spaces in the capital that can rival the brooding atmosphere of The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar. It’s so unrelentingly grand, so overbearingly elegant, that one could easily take it to be the height of pretension. Many do in fact, and with cocktails starting at a princely £16 each, it’s easy to see why.
Yet, there’s something wrong about that quickfire judgement. Spend a few minutes sat on one of its chaise longues and things start to become a little more clear. The sheer spectacle isn’t a gaudy offshoot of indulgence, it’s the entire point of the place. You don’t come here to drink: you come here to be gently blown away.
The new cocktail menu, a striking collection of gorgeous images set on gloss black pages, certainly aims to do just that. The entire thing breathes a remarkable amount of life and character into each drink. You’re not just ordering a cocktail, you’re choosing a piece from the collection, deciding what shard of visual and culinary artistry you want to indulge yourself with. It’s even arranged in a specific order to help guide you through the night: the drinks start preppy and light, before becoming more complex and eventually finishing in rich indulgence.
We began at the light side with Embankment Garden, whose inspiration you can probably guess. The presentation was simple but impeccable: a tall glass with an elegant twist of lime and fig leaf to garnish. The taste was fresh and vivacious, the gins botanicals flirting playfully beneath the zing of lime without ever revealing too much. Hints of fig were a little muted at first, but slowly revealed themselves in a lingering aftertaste. Simple, but elegant and surprisingly nuanced, it was a fantastic start.
Next came Never Ending Story. Designed in honour of Hemingway, and served with an amusing cinnamon stick facsimile of a cigar, it was an intriguing celebration of one of the hotel’s most renowned guests. At first, it seemed clean, sharp, focused and powerful. Again notes of citrus bound together various spirits, with absinthe adding its own little spike. Behind all that though, lingering in the shadows and only ever half realised, there were little hints of cacao. They were fleeting and mild, but that only added to their delight. Whether this was a conscious and decisively clever reflection of the writer’s style or merely a happy coincidence, the result was nevertheless outstanding.
Impressionist, inspired by the works of Monet and served with a stunning rose over dry ice, was the most visually impressive of all our drinks. The perfumed fog that coiled gracefully from a tiny metal bucket spoke of contrast: the fog of London set against the beauty of the city itself. The taste of the drink itself however, sadly did not. It was not without its redeeming qualities, particularly in the balancing of the spirits and rosé, but the flavour of the drink itself was oddly sickly. For a moment or two it was baffling, but then it hit us: cherry, violets, a little berry kick, this was a liquid love-heart. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you would expect better at £26.
We concluded with Rhyme and Reason, the menu’s last entry and one of its richest affairs. It’s one of those drinks that actually manages to use nut milk, raisins and all sorts of other sweet additions without creating a cloying mess. That’s not to say it wasn’t not gloriously indulgent – it was – but there was just enough white rum sharpness to tie it all together. Served in a tall glass topped with golden fruit, it wasn’t quite as pretty as it peers but in many ways that made it the perfect conclusion.
In an evening full of imagery, narrative and spectacle, it was rather comforting to end it all with a little splash of stylish subtlety.
To book a table at Beaufort Bar at The Savoy call 020 7836 4343 or enquire here.