London’s hottest summer calls for a drink. To help you get some relief from the sweltering heat, we’re sharing our roundup of the city’s best summertime cocktail bars and our recommendations on the best menus they have to offer.
London’s best summer cocktail bars
The wrecking ball in Scarfes Bar
‘A place where paintings and potions meet’ is the slogan for Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London, and it’s true that the dazzling Covent Garden Lounge offers some of the city’s most imaginative summer cocktails and imaginative interiors.
The bar is named after British artist Gerald Scarfe and playful caricatures of historical and fictional characters adorn the walls. The theme carries over into the cocktail menu, which offers a Bugsy Malone-inspired blend of Mitchter’s rye, carrot and fig leaf, or a Roadrunner combination of Amàrico, Martini Vibrante and pear. But our favorite is the Wrecking Ball, which blends Remy Martin 1738, lychee and shiso, citra hops, and sparkling wine to create a refreshing explosion of citrus flavors.
Temptation in The Twenty Two
Set in a sprawling Georgian mansion, Twenty Two is full of fantastically opulent interiors — velvet seats, cheetah-print rugs, bespoke patterned wallpaper and the like — and follows in the footsteps of other London icons (Mark’s Club, Chiltern Firehouse) as glamorous. Aim for a night of delicious food and drink.
The restaurant/hotel/members’ club has four different bars and an extensive cocktail menu, but our favorite drink is The Temptation, which mixes Gray Goose, Cinzano Bianco, wild safflower, absinthe, persimmon and pepper syrup, and lemon foam for a tart and potent summertime cocktail.
The Bradford Watermelon Roulette at Hide
The Michelin-starred Mayfair Restaurant Hide immediately became a popular destination for high-profile events, chic business lunches or jazzy nights out on the town. The three-story restaurant includes a sun-drenched ground floor and a terrace or cool (as in temperature and atmosphere) bar on the ground floor. Our recommended summer cocktail from the menu is a Bradford Watermelon Roulette, which blends watermelon juice with mezcal verde, tapatio blanco, chamberyzette, supasawa and simple syrup.
The Kola 75 in the 1869 booking office
One of our favorite summer cocktail bars, Booking Office 1869 has created a refreshing cocktail inspired by the flavors of Coke-a-Cola. The Kola 75 is a reinvention of a classic French 75, combining champagne with lime-infused gin, champagne liqueur, palette (a non-alcoholic spirit made from ginger and clove) and sparkling cola bitters, and finished off with a dollop of Falernum foam. It’s a grown-up take on traditional soda, which can be enjoyed in the booking office’s Wallpaper* Design Award-winning interiors or on the newly opened outdoor terrace.
The Clavé at Claridge
The Clavé from The Painter’s Room at Claridge’s is a fresh, light tasting cocktail with a kick. Melon vodka is paired with French spirits Amontillado and Marc de Bourgogne and served with a single, hand-cut piece of ice. Sit back and enjoy as you admire the Art Deco interior and murals by British artist Annie Morris.
The Blossom in the Dorchester
London’s grande dame hotel, The Dorchester, has just launched a cocktail menu that’s as effusively decadent as its famed interiors. Our favorite from the list is The Blossom, a floral drink made with Courvoisier VSOP, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Lillet Blanc, bergamot honey, lemon and absinthe spray. Described as “joie de vivre” in a jar, it’s certainly delicious and potent enough to breathe new life into anyone. Enjoy it on the Dorchester’s roof with the restaurant’s Mediterranean snacks, such as cantaloupe melon stuffed with prosciutto or hummus foam with tapioca chips and lemon.
The Bellini at Harry’s Bar
It wouldn’t be a summer cocktail party without a Bellini, and where better to get one than at Harry’s Bar, the London outlet of Bellini’s Cipriani birthplace. The original Bellini was created in Venice in 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani as a blend of champagne, white peach nectar and a dash of raspberry puree. The cocktail’s pink hue reminded Cipriani of the color of a saint’s Roman toga in a painting by Giovanni Bellini (hence the name), and its tangy, fruity flavor was certainly a renaissance in the aperitif world. Harry’s Bar’s version of the classic drink blends white peaches, lemon juice and Prosecco for an ultra-refreshing summertime nectar.
The chrome yellow at Fitz’s
Fitz’s, the luxury drinking den at the Grade II Listed Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel, has just introduced a unique drinking experience inspired by color psychology. The Theory of Color is a menu of 14 cocktails that explores how color affects our emotions and taste buds, with warm colors like red, yellow and orange evoking stronger emotions like love and happiness, and cool colors like blue, green and Purple represents calm and serenity.
For those in full swing of summer cheer, we recommend the Chrome Yellow Cocktail, which blends clarified banana, Mount Gay Xo Rum, Rémy Martin 1738 Cognac, Allspice Bitters, and passion fruit float. Or go all out with the Bodice Ripper, an explosive blend of Brugal 1888 rum, passion fruit, kumquat liqueur, tomato wine and pomegranate.
The Margarita at Rita’s
What better way to celebrate summer than with a really good margarita? For some of London’s best, head to Rita’s Soho restaurant. Specially blended by restaurant founder Missy Flynn, this pink take on the summer classic blends Tapatio Blanco Tequila with Lime Juice, Campari, Hackney Victory Bitters, Agave Syrup and Blood Orange.