It is (almost) the season to get into the spirit of things and lucky for you BarChick.com has relaunched just in time to be your festive drinking wingwoman.
It shows you the best bars, the people behind them and what to order, and there’s BarChick TV (think Netflix but for booze) to keep you entertained through the Christmas party hangover.
“Lo and No” was queen of 2019: the hottest drinking trend was not drinking at all. Alcohol-free cocktails now nestle nicely into bar menus without a mojito mocktail in sight. In 2020 we’re expecting spiked seltzers, savoury umami flavours, CBD and a load of rum.
When it comes to cocktails, you’re in the right city — and these are some of the best in town this season.
Retro party drinks
Like your grandmother’s trifle recipe, some things never get old. We’re all harking back to the good old days and your drinks cabinet is no exception. London’s best bartenders have given old-school classics a 2019 twist.
Christmapolitan at Miracle, Henrietta Hotel
NYC’s kitsch pop-up Miracle takes us to the Seventies with retro décor and a Christmapolitan — vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, rosemary, lime and absinthe mist.
14-15 Henrietta St, WC2E, henriettahotel.com
Grasshopper at Lyaness
At Lyaness, the newest addition to Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Lyan pride, they’ve freshened up this minty number with Lyan Cream Gin, their new “kind of spirit” Onyx, mint butter, whey liqueur and cacao husk. Retro and futuristic, it’s a must-try.
20 Upper Ground, SE1, lyaness.com
The Conker Stonker at Hixter Bankside
If you thought a Harvey Wallbanger was just an excuse to hide vodka in breakfast OJ, think again, because this festive Hix spin on the original is as complex as it is Christmassy: with Black Cow vodka, clementine juice, chestnut syrup and Galliano.
16 Great Guildford St, SE1, hixrestaurants.co.uk
Rum’s set to be hot in 2020 — the spirit showed the fastest growth of any this year. Whether heated up, stirred down in an Old Fashioned or getting its tiki freak on, it’s the perfect cocktail base.
Hot Buttered Rum at Emerald City pop-up, Queen of Hoxton
When there’s an excuse to sip warm rum and melted butter, you take it. This heavenly concoction will keep you warm on the inside at Queen of Hoxton’s winter rooftop pop-up.
1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A, queenofhoxton.com
Santiago at Kwant
Cocktail legend and ex-Savoy head bartender Erik Lorincz has opened Kwant, a beautiful wood-panelled tropical basement bar, beneath Momo in Heddon Street — and it’s where you’ll find BarChick hiding from the crowds this season, sipping a Santiago: 15-year-old Matusalem Gran Reserva rum stirred with Muyu Chinotto Nero, coffee aroma and coconut water.
25 Heddon St, W1B, momo.london
Guinness Punch In Manhattan at Laki Kane
When you want to see just how fun rum can be, this is your place. You can even make your own in their secret rum bar upstairs. But we leave it to the experts who’ve mixed Pusser’s Gunpowder rum with a Guinness and pimento reduction and clarified milk for the smoothest sip in town.
144-145 Upper St, N1, lakikane.com
Hoorah! It’s bubbles-for-lunch season — and this year is all about English sparkling wine. Sales have soared a staggering 180 per cent in the past year — these bars are champions of all things fizzy and England-born.
English 75 at Chapel Down Gin Works
This bar’s English 75 is every bit as sophisticated as its French sister, with Chapel Down Bacchus Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup, topped up with Chapel Down Brut.
Chapel Down Gin Works, N1C, chapeldown.com
Bloomsbury Blush at The Coral Room
With more than 30 UK sparkling wines, The Coral Room is the top spot to drink it by the glass or in beautiful cocktails like the Bloomsbury Blush: Ridgeview Bloomsbury brut, Belsazar Rosé Vermouth, crème de pêche and Muyu Jasmine Verte liqueur.
6-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B, thecoralroom.co.uk
Piña colada twists
If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain then London’s undoubtedly the place for you, with the best bars bringing an escape from the drizzle in the form of everyone’s guilty pleasure drink.
Guilty Pleasure at The Ritz
The Rivoli Bar’s new menu is bringing the party with the aptly named drink. Champagne and an oh-so-Ritz twist on a piña colada topped with toasted coconut and banana foam.
150 Piccadilly, W1J, theritzlondon.com
Equality at Quaglino’s
Part of a new menu inspired by the wishes and fantasies of humankind, Quaglino’s is shaking off its old-school reputation with this piña colada-rum-negroni hybrid.
16 Bury St, SW1Y, quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk