While France and Italy may be the most popular places in Europe for wine connoisseurs, those who enjoy a stiffer drink will love visiting England. Spirits have had a storied place in English drinking culture for a long time. In fact, some scholars argue that the first usage of the word “cocktail” to refer to an alcoholic beverage originated from a London newspaper in 1798! Most famed English cocktails will feature gin, as it is probably the spirit most commonly associated with the country. When exploring London, take the time to settle down and enjoy some of England’s finest cocktails. Here are 3 to try!
The gimlet is a simple cocktail, yet its simplicity is exactly why it has remained popular in England throughout the years! It was supposedly invented by Sir Thomas Gimlette at the end of the 1800s and originally consisted of equal parts gin and lime cordial. These days, most bars opt for a less sweet version of the original recipe – 2 parts gin to 1 part lime cordial. The ingredients are stirred with ice in a mixing glass and served with a lime garnish. Excellent on a warm summer’s night in the city!
2) Vesper Martini
Arguably nothing is more English than Bond – James Bond. And 007’s traditional order of a shaken, not stirred, martini was actually invented by Bond author Ian Fleming in his first novel Casino Royale. The Vesper Martini, named after the double agent Vesper Lynd, is made with three shots of dry gin, a shot of vodka, and a half shot of Lillet Blanc, a French vermouth. Try one for yourself at DUKES Bar, the self-proclaimed home of the Vesper Martini at St. James’s Place.
British bartender Dick Bradsell contributed much to the cocktail culture on the island by inventing several cocktails in the 1980s which have come to be considered classics. Perhaps the most delicious example is the Bramble, featuring gin, lemon juice, blackberry liqueur, and simple syrup. These ingredients are mixed with crushed ice and served with a lemon slice and blackberries. The scent and the taste will teleport you away from the hustle of London to the peaceful serenity of rural English fields!
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