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October 12, 2012

Can the Artesian Bar at the Langham Really Have the World’s Best Cocktail Menu?

By Spear's

I was recently informed that Artesian Bar has been given the accolade of ‘World’s Best Cocktail Menu’. The world is a pretty big place so this, to me, seems to be a rather audacious prize to award to any bar, anywhere

I was recently informed that Artesian bar has been given the accolade of World’s Best Cocktail Menu by Tales of the Cocktail. The world is a pretty big place so this, to me, seems to be a rather audacious prize to award to any bar, anywhere. Now, I like to be thorough with my research for Food Friday and I felt it only right that I should go and investigate the accuracy of these claims.

I turned up, incognito, with an Artesian regular. Being an indecisive thing I couldn’t pick anything from the menu, I just looked at it for a while. It is vast. Luckily, the bar staff here are magicians. Noticing my indecision, Mr. Barman swooped in.

They have a page in the menu peppered with cocktail-related words, and this is the page for people like me, so you can simply point at things you like and a little later you are presented with a cocktail mixed according to your preferences.

Mine just happened to be in the biggest glass I’ve ever seen, decorated with a seashell and with a teapot on the side full of raspberry scented liquid nitrogen smoke whooshing out of the spout. The fruit also had glitter on it. It was the prefect blend of all the things I love in a cocktail – gin, elderflower, raspberries, citrus, neither sweet nor bitter. I couldn’t have been happier — especially as the complimentary bar snacks had just arrived.

I’m a fussy girl, so Mr. Barman did well but I was certain he couldn’t repeat this feat a second time. How wrong I was. This time my drink came in a head-shaped mug and it was set on fire…with a blowtorch. Rum, lime, melted sugar cubes and many other heavenly things all joyfully mingling around beneath a sparkler. Smashing.

If you order the Five Point, a cocktail with five different spirits in it, you get given a duelling pistol…

This is not to say that all of the drinks are so playful, if you want a quiet, sophisticated evening you will not be disappointed – the staff just happened to see right through my vaguely professional and sophisticated façade and correctly identified that I’d enjoy a sparkler. 

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The bar is gorgeous, the staff faultless and the drinks tailored to your exact requirements — chic men with elegant martini glasses full of brooding, dark liquids and beautiful women sipping on champagne topped, delicately fruity concoctions. Yes, the cocktails are on the more expensive side, but much better to enjoy one or two genuinely fantastic drinks then suffer three or four distinctly average ones. Perhaps I’ll become a regular myself.
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