If you often wander from Trafalgar Square up to Piccadilly and Mayfair, you have no doubt passed St James Bar at Sofitel many times. This week I diverted from my usual path up Waterloo Place and went inside to taste the new winter cocktail menu at St James Bar.
The new menu is inspired by classic fairytales and legends, and designed by the bar’s expert cocktail makers. I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned story and I love experimenting with new cocktail flavours, so I had a lot of fun choosing which one to try. In the end, I opted for Dragon’s Son–a vampire-themed cocktail comprising of Metaxa 12 Stars infused with Nuit d’Eté, Sauternes infused with Bulgare tea, Taylor’s 20, sugar syrup, Campari and homemade sloe gin mousse. I know, I wasn’t sure what most of these ingredients were either but I wanted to try some new flavours. The cocktail was a little sweet for my taste and served with a glass skull inside (!) which I had to fish out before I could drink it. Nevertheless, I appreciated the imaginative presentation and enjoyed tasting it.
Other cocktails on the list include the Beauty and Beast inspired Enchanted Rose, containing Belvedere vodka infused with red berries, framboise eau de vie, white tea syrup, St Germain liqueur, Peychaud’s bitters and rose water (I wish I’d tried this one!) and Fear O’Clock, which takes its inspiration from Peter Pan, made from Mount Gay Black Barrel rum infused with tisane Fidji, homemade sweet vermouth, Campari and violet liqueur. As someone who doesn’t have a particularly sweet tooth, I decided to move on to a classic martini after my fairytale draught.
When you’re next in St James’s, I’d recommend popping in to sample these exciting concoctions while they’re still available; you certainly won’t be able to find cocktails like this anywhere else. The service here is excellent and an opulent 1920s-themed bar with its French charm is a rather fun place to spend a winter evening – perhaps a good spot to bring a Valentines date?