Best London Cocktails

15 must-try cocktails in London
June 18, 2022
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© Pedro Carballo / Unsplash

When in London, a tasting tour of the city’s best cocktails is a must. 

With historic pubs and art deco cocktail bars brimming with delicious drinks, you’ll give your taste buds a treat by trying London’s top cocktails. 

From the lip-smacking Yellow Bird to the delish Guacepa, London’s menu of boozy drinks is unmatched. 

Here’s your essential guide to the best cocktails in London.

1. White Lady at American Bar at Savoy

Standing the test of time, White Lady still ranks among the best cocktails on the bar’s menu. The gin-powered sour was invented by Ada Coleman sometime around the 1920s. 

This boozy concoction strikes the perfect balance between gin, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice. 

The White Lady | © @thesavoylondon / Instagram

With a rich history spanning more than a century, the American Bar is the longest surviving cocktail bar in the UK’s capital.

The art deco bar, which serves its own take on American-style cocktails, is an icon in the city’s history.

This is largely thanks to the legendary bartenders who took over the bar, including the likes of Ada Coleman and Harry Craddock. 

Mind you, this is an upscale cocktail bar – so expect to see an elite clientele sipping on the bar’s boozy drinks.

2. English Milk Punch at The Punch Room

Among their roster of creative cocktails is the English Milk Punch – the boozy concoction consisting of rum, cognac, brandy, Ceylon arrack, lemon juice, coriander seeds, pineapple, lemon sherbet, milk oolong tea, spice, cloves, and star anise.

It’s a long ingredients list, but this is the OG formula of a very English drink.

Hidden inside the ritzy sanctuary of London EDITION hotel, The Punch Room is an urban reincarnation of the capital’s 19th-century members’ clubs.

If you don’t care about the bar’s curated repertoire of soul and blues beats, your jaw will drop at the sight of their seemingly endless punches menu.

English Milk Punch | © @xx.kawai.xx / Instagram

Boasting 30 specialty punches and giving prominence to the “punch of the day”, this chic bar pushes the envelope with some brave mixology experimentations.

This is what makes it a go-to spot for post-work drinks and impromptu catch-ups.

3. Irish Coffee Cocktail at Swift

Part of Swift’s cocktail arsenal we can find the Irish Coffee cocktail – aka your go-to choice for a blustery winter day.

Irish Coffee Cocktail | © @swiftbars / Instagram

No, this is not your average Irish Coffee – Swift Soho paved the way towards it by adding a unique twist. 

For its Irish Coffee Cocktail, the bar uses Colombian coffee from local coffee stores and mixes it with Jameson Caskmates whiskey.

Demerara sugar and hand-whipped double cream are part of the yummy package.

Soho’s Swift might be a rookie in London’s mixology scene, but the elegant bar is a pro at combining the best of two worlds. Embracing cocktail aficionados and bar hoppers alike, Swift is a bi-level watering hole.

It features a light-filled aperitif bar for those who want to munch on something and a speakeasy-like basement for whoever wants to get down to the drinking game ASAP.

4. Yellow Bird Cocktail at Satan’s Whiskers

Their signature Yellow Bird cocktail is a dizzy mix of banana, lime juice, crème de apricot, Galliano vanilla, pineapple juice and Bacardi – the perfect combo between boozy and sugary.

If the name doesn’t give it away, Satan’s Whiskers is all about a rough and raw aesthetic.

Located in Bethnal Green, the cocktail bar is a breath of fresh air from London’s high-end bars and lavish pubs.

As for decor, expect nothing else than vintage posters, brick walls and a devilishly cool vibe – but it never borders on the tacky side. 

Cocktail lovers who identify themselves as being alternative or indie are the ones passing the bar’s doors.

Yellow Bird | © @satans_whiskers / Instagram

5. Rhubarb and Cumin Daisy at Lyaness

Rhubarb & Cumin Daisy | © @lyanessbar / Instagram

One of Lyaness’ staples is the honey-dipped Rhubarb and Cumin Daisy cocktail.

Made of vegan honey, Beefeater London Garden gin, Lucky kummel, and rhubarb, this cocktail is the playground where unexpected flavors meet.

Sitting in the South Bank hotel, Lyaness is a swanky watering hole blessed with stunning river views. 

Created by mixology magnate Ryan Chetiyawardana, the bar stays loyal to its mission statement – delivering a curated list of cocktails that would make anyone come back.

With its powder-blue theme and unusual concoctions, Lyaness is the place to be if you are looking for a boozy drink no other bar can emulate.

6. Fleurissimo at Connaught Bar

One of the bar’s iconic London cocktails is Fleurissimo, a concoction of  Rémy Martin VSOP, barspoon crème de violet liqueur, sugar cube soaked in Peycheaud bitters, and champagne – all topped off with flower petals for a visually-pleasing aesthetic.

Mayfair’s Connaught Bar oozes dazzling luxury. It is no surprise that the bar is all about style and glamor – at least this is what the disarmingly comfy seatings and tasteful color palette say.

Let’s talk cocktails – the menu is stuffed with peerless classics, but for a genuine Connaught experience, you have to pick a Martini variation.

The bar brings mixology (and prices) to the next level.

Here you should expect to see the kind of clientele who affords spending a fortune on cute cocktails.

Fleurissimo | © @theconnaught / Instagram

7. French 75 at Three Sheets

Have you ever been served a cocktail straight from a bottle? What sounds quite far-fetched is happening with the award-winning Three Sheets’ walls.

Three Sheets’ owners took the original French 75 World War I cocktail recipe and – thanks to their mixology flair – successfully transformed it into a signature drink.

French 75 | © @threesheetslondon / Instagram

Staying true to its original roots, the authentic recipe consists of lemon juice, gin, and loads of bubbles. The Three Sheets touch adds dry Moscato instead of champagne, sugar syrup, orange flower water, and Mnus 8 Verjus – absolutely delish! 

The watering hole tries to stay as fresh as possible – this is why the drinks menu is seasonal. If the “you don’t know what to expect” mantra isn’t appealing enough to pop in out of curiosity, we don’t know what else might be. 

With its intimate vibe, Three Sheets open its arms to anyone looking for an unmatched cocktail experience with a reasonable price.

8. The Black Narcissus at The Bloomsbury Club

The Black Narcissus, which blends Diplomatico Planas rum, Belsazar aperitif, passion fruit, kumquat Liqueur, and Bloomsbury Club Grenadine.

Black Narcissus | © @thebloomsburyclub / Instagram

This twinkling grotto offers a selection of golden age cocktails, iconic classics and creative concoctions in the heart of Bloomsbury.

Forget about its ritzy and vintage vibe for a second – this watering hole has a “Cocktail Diviner”.

For those of you who just can’t settle for a cocktail,  this spiritual guide will spread out a deck of Tarot cards to dive deep into your emotional state – this all falls down to prophesying your boozy antidote.

And the Tarot inspiration doesn’t stop there. The Bloomsbury Club features a set of London cocktails inspired by a deck of Tarot cards designed by bohemian occultist Pamela ‘Pixie’ Colman Smith. Yes, you got that right – the 14 drinks menu reflects the 14 states of being.

Both cocktail aficionados and individuals who are curious to see the level of quirkiness mixology can reach will come to The Bloomsbury Club.

9. Don’s Jardin at Trailer Happiness

Boozy drinks can get flashy and often on fire, so expect some type of VIP mixology treatment. One of the bar’s signature cocktails is Don’s Jardin, a combination of Don Q rum, St Germain, Campari, blueberry liqueur and lemon – all pink to make everyone wink.

Serving unforgettable cocktails since 2003, the Trailer Happiness is an award-winning Tiki-themed watering hole sitting on Portobello Road.

The kitsch-cool venue is all about bringing in tropical and comfy vibes in the patrons’ hearts and the best rum selection on the table.

Don’s Jardin | © @trailerh / Instagram

Everybody who loves retro decor and boozy cocktails will be there.

10. The Carnivale di Venezia at Harry’s Bar

Carnivale di Venezia | © @harrysldn / Instagram

One of their must-try cocktails is the Carnivale di Venezia, a delicious mixture of Select Aperitivo, passion fruit, pineapple juice, lime and fresh mint.

Can we take a moment to discuss the beautifully-printed top of the boozy drink? We have a word for it – astonishing.

Since its inauguration, Harry’s Bar has been masterfully bringing a slice of Venice to London’s mixology scene.

What’s alluring about the decor is the vintage and Italian vibes, giving a taste for la dolce vita to whoever sets foot inside. 

Harry’s Bar enjoys quite an international reputation, so plenty of international and local people will pick it as their go-to cocktail spot.

11. Smokey Kudu at Smokey Kudu

The namesake signature cocktail, Smokey Kudu, is inspired by South Africa’s culture. It features a combination of South African whisky, Smokey whiskey, apricot, sweet vermouth, and South African aperitif.

Although Smokey Kudu first emerged as an offshoot of the renowned South African restaurant, the bar has earned an international reputation for its sleek and intimate atmosphere.

Channeling an Upper East Side bar energy, this chic watering hole offers a wide range of creative cocktails you are doomed to fall in love with.

Reinvention sits at the core of the cocktails menu – Smokey Kudu takes refreshingly South African ingredients  and makes them deliciously boozy.

Thanks to its South African concept, this spot is frequented by a plethora of people coming from different backgrounds.

Smokey Kudu | © @smokeykudu / Instagram

12. Guacapa at Ginger Lily

Guacapa is made from Zacapa 23 rum, amaro Montenegro, citrus, and ginger beer – plus, it has some jaw-dropping visual layering.

Guacapa | © @panpacificlondon / Instagram

Nestled in London’s vibrant Liverpool Street area, Ginger Lily leveled up in the mixology game by bottling the buzz and bliss of Asian culture.

And that’s not only about the ritzy interior – the bar boasts an extensive menu of over 100 types of champagne (who would have thought there were so many?) and creative cocktails.

The bartenders masterfully bring together Singaporean classics and contemporary boozy formulas to offer one-of-a-kind drinking experiences.

13. Pine Negroni at  The Chelsea Pig

Their signature Tanqueray No10-based Pine Negroni cocktail is favorite among gin lovers. No, this is not your average Negroni – it’s a magical mixture of Noilly Prat, Campari, pine, and peppermint.

With whacky interiors crafted by furniture brand Timothy Oulton, The Chelsea Pig is home to a wide array of spirits, wines, and cocktails –  so many that it could be the epitome of the British drink-and-dine combo.

As soon as you step in, you will immediately be transported to the Victorian era – cheers to the ritzy chandeliers and plush sofas for that 19th-century vibe. This is why – literally – everyone loves this spot.

Pine Negroni | © @thechelseapig_ / Instagram

14. Glamour Girl Martini at Rock & Rose

With a legacy that’s all about food, passion, and glamor, Rock & Rose boasts an impressive list of Insta-worthy cocktails. Among them, you will find their signature Glamour Girl Martini London cocktail.

Glamour Girl Martini | © @rockrichmond / Instagram

If the foamy-orangey aesthetic hasn’t left you speechless, its combination of Zubrowka Bison Grass infused vodka, Chambord, forest berries, pineapple, passion fruit and lime will make your mouth water. 

Did someone say quirky? Rock & Rose has been summoned. Featuring eccentric indoor plants, vibrantly-colored walls and an overall adventurous style, this bar puts the cocktail game on a pedestal.

If you love flamboyant cocktails and an antique-modern design, this bar should be at the top of your list.

15. Jungle Love at Bandra Bhai

Jungle Love is a mixture of fresh mint, rose liquor and cassia bark (all topped off with apricot liqueur, of course) is both eye candy and soul food.

When it comes to interior aesthetics, this bad boy had smugglers dens of 70s India on the mood board.

Sure, there is a giant taxidermied peacock in the corner – but that’s part of the tacky vibe that Bandra Bhai wants to transmit.

But the cocktails are the stars of the show.

From mango-infused chili vodka to beautifully layered boozy concoctions, this watering hole doesn’t fall short when it comes to cocktails.

The bar’s unique and creative cocktails bring together both locals and tourists.

Jungle Love | © @bandrabhai / Instagram

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