Let’s look at the evidence.
a) It has been voted best bar/best hotel bar/best bar team more times than we’ve sent back ASOS orders.
b) It is located in one seriously swanky hotel, The Savoy. Dreamy.
c) It’s the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain.
d) Their cocktail menus are always sick.
Makes sense that when we got a chance to go try their new menu we were all over that sh*t. These guys take innovation to a new level, and you can be sure of a few curveballs thrown in too. The concept? Sweet music, baby.
The Savoy Songbook pays homage to musical legends that have entertained guests in the bar for decades. Dope. Twenty cocktails have been created with the bar’s most iconic songs in mind. Know the tunes ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’? Of course you do. At least one is your karaoke jam, right? Well, they all make an appearance.
Hang tight though, that’s not all. There’s also an album so you can listen along while you drink. Head to Spotify and download the live tracks recorded by the American Bar’s resident piano player, Jon Nickel. Listen to him tinkle the ivories while you get sipping. Or, you know, chat to your date and leave the earphones at home for when you wanna relive the experience.
There are no diva solos here. The menu is a collaborative effort by the American Bar team, led by head bartender Maxim Schulte and director of bars, Declan McGurk. The in-house musicians also had a say - talk about working in harmony.
What can you expect from each cocktail? The menu is arranged like track listings in an album (remember albums? Those things we used to head to HMV for before the Internet ruled our lives). Names of the drinks are lines from the songs that have inspired them. Then the actual drink - ingredients used, flavour-profile and form it takes - reflect the mood and tone of the song. Deep.
So what are our chart-toppers? We give you the low-down.
Grab your Bowie-loving fan (we all have one). This bright red stunner pays homage to Space Oddity and yes, there’s a lightning bolt imprinted on the ice. Naturally. It’s tall, vibrant and flamboyant. Just like Ziggy Stardust himself then. Oh yeah and it’s seriously easy to sip. It’s like juice. Boozy juice that will have you doing your best Labyrinth impressions once you’ve nailed two of them.
The base is rum, then there’s some rich Oloroso sherry added because, y’know, Bowie had depth. The floral, citrussy side comes from our fave blue-bottled Aperitivo Italicus, plus some sweet hibiscus that also gives it the glam-rock rouge colour. As thirst-quenchers go, oh, this is one pretty thing. And it’s the kind of refreshingly different start to a night that BarChick loves.
Fly Me To The Moon is the song inspo for this fancy flute, and there are some kick ass celestial connections that are outta this world. For one thing, Frank Sinatra loved the Savoy. After his packed out shows he’d return to the hotel and relax by playing some of his favourite tunes on the hotel's grand piano. Epic. Then there’s the lunar link. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969 the head bartender of the American Bar honoured it by creating The Moonwalk cocktail. Which he then sent to NASA, obviously. Neil Armstrong wrote a thank you letter which you can find in the Savoy museum next door. What a charming guy.
And now - this Playing In The Stars cocktail. Served in a Champagne flute, it’s actually been decorated so that part of the glass looks like the moon’s surface. A treat for the eyes and the tastebuds, which you’ll discover after taking a sip. There’s violet (cue nostalgia overload for those penny sweets), pistachio (hence the cute green colour), vodka and vermouth. Oh, and Champagne. Cos if anything deserves bubbles, it’s taking one giant leap for mankind.
One of BarChick’s faves, no doubt. It’s dramatic - there’s hickory smoke which smells awesome and will have other guests peering at you in curiosity. You’ll feel famous for a second, go ahead, soak it up.
When you get round to tasting this baby, you’ll find it as smooth and sexy as The King himself (pre-PB&J sandwich addiction). Elvis’s Heartbreak Hotel was the inspo but the cocktail is deffo not gonna have you weeping into your pillow. There’s 17 year old Craigellachie whisky, for one thing. Oh mama. Other ingredients include white port, mezcal and coffee oil. The game-changer for us? Baklava. You heard us, that Greek sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry, nuts and oozing honey. It’s homemade and somehow they get that insane taste into the drink. Ask them how - just don’t be taking your first sip at the time or, er, you might not pay attention to the answer. Can we get an Uh Huh?