It doesn't get more legendary than the American Bar at The Savoy.
This institution of a hotel drinking den has been slinging cocktails for more than 130 years. Some of the most iconic bartenders of all time have run the show there, and the bar even lent its name and recipes to one of the most famous cocktail books in the game (that's The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, FYI). Not to mention its clientele: everyone from Marilyn Monroe, to Winston Churchill, to Mick Jagger, to BarChick herself has warmed its seats. Yeah, it's kinda a big deal...
So we're pumped that current head bartender Chelsie Bailey has chosen to explore the hotel's boozy history in her first new menu. Called The Savoy: American Bar Journal, the new list features reinterpretations of some of the bar's classic drinks. It draws inspiration from events and people in its history, and it celebrates recent moments and guests, too. We like to think of it as Taylor Swift's Eras Tour in menu form, ya feel?
Although history plays a big role in the list, these drinks are still all about flavour, baby. "Our aim was to create a menu that was easy to navigate and that focused on the ingredients," Chelsie explained. "While the inspiration for each cocktail is based on an individual story, we wanted guests to choose their beverage based on their favourite flavours and then discover the tale behind them.”
Another tale you'll love to discover? It's the one where Chelsie and her crew teamed up with EcoSpirits - the low-waste, low-carbon system that packages spirits in totes rather than bottles - to reduce the carbon footprint of their cocktails. For every EcoSpirits drink sold, The Savoy will plant a tree in Asia. Hell yeah!
Here's the rundown on some of our fave new drinks from the menu - take a peek...
The classic Black Velvet - a combo of Guinness and Champagne - is one of those drinks that shouldn't work, but it does. Oh, it does. It was originally created in 1861, when the country was mourning the death of Queen V's husband, Prince Albert (the saying goes that "even the Champagne should be in mourning"). For this new interpretation, the team have amped up the espresso notes and maltiness of Guinness by mixing it with coffee whey, roasted barley and crème de cassis, plus a cheeky top-up of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée to finish. We love the drama.
This one's based on the Wow Cocktail, a super-charged serve found in The Savoy Cocktail Book made with a wine-based aperitif, Bacardi Rum, apple brandy and grape brandy. Yup, she's a heavy hitter. Now it's been given a tropical makeover with Bacardi Ocho Rum, cachaça, spiced pear falernum, almond grappa, Aperol, lime and celery bitters, for a Mai Tai vibe that's pure summer.
A true after-dinner drink, with Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Whisky, walnut wine, chestnut liqueur, oloroso sherry and PX sherry. Named for that beaut moment at the end of the evening when the bar team takes last orders and the iconic piano man plays his final song. This one's sumptuous, nutty, sweet and moreish - the kinda drink we'd sip all night long, tbh.
Developed in honour of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, who frequented the American Bar, and the 70th anniversary of Casino Royale. Chelsie and her crew think this Negroni twist, with Ceylon Arrack, strawberry sake, a bitter vermouth blend and Campari, would be Fleming's fave if he still kicked it at The Savoy today.
Another riff on a Savoy Cocktail Book classic, the Applejack Rabbit, which is typically fresh and fruity with maple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice and apple brandy. Here, the drink gets a sleek update with Martell VS Cognac, pisco, maple syrup, Italicus Bergamotto, and an apple and shiso soda, for a crisp, punchy, lightly floral serve that's essentially the Highball of our dreams.