I was recently reminded about the great cocktails we enjoyed on our trip to London. I have always worked on the assumption that I might not be able to afford to stay in the best hotels in European cities, but I can always afford the luxury of a good cocktail in their bar. Not only do I enjoy a well-made drink, but I also get unlimited people watching.
Gin and Tonic at Claridges
Claridges is an iconic 19th century landmark hotel in the Mayfair district of London. It started as a boutique hotel and quickly became popular with royal visits by Queen Victory and Prince Albert. During WWII it became a refuge for exiled heads of state. The Kings of Greece, Norway and Yugoslavia all stayed at the hotel during their exile. During the 50’s it was considered Hollywood’s home from home with the likes of Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Audrey Hepburn all being frequent guests. I feel this is a good crowd to be associated with so I enjoyed my gin and tonic very much and even splurged on some sushi.
Signature drink at the Rivoli Bar in the Ritz Carlton
We wandered down from Piccadilly Circus and discovered the Rivoli Bar in the Ritz. For this outing the drink did not take center stage. What did was the connection with the staff. They took a liking to our little cast of characters and gave us a tour of the main floor of the hotel. Like Claridges, the Ritz is a favorite for the current royal family and we toured the private dining rooms that the Queen uses upon her visits. Dripping with elegance and sophistication. The Palm Court is the main attraction for the Ritz with elaborate afternoon teas in the elevated central dining room. A great place to see and be seen. The bar is tucked in a corner, and the drink was less than memorable, but I enjoyed the glimpse into royal life.
Outside of the expensive cocktails, we visited many pubs and sampled many different beers. There is nothing better than a warm beer and a bag of crisps! I’m still a Guinness fan, and I really must get myself to Ireland for a grand tour of the local brews.