5 best boozy afternoon teas in London
Feb 15, 2019
1. Trafalgar at St. James – Molton Brown Sensory Afternoon Tea
Each course of this afternoon tea is designed to pair up with a specific Molton Brown scent. This one may have ‘brand sponsorship’ written all over it, but it has to be said, the quality here is second to none. Instead of bone-dry bread fingers, expect delicate Scandi-style open sandwiches, with juicy salmon and tender-as-anything steak. The scones are all homemade, fresh out the oven, and there are four huge patisseries to finish, each one creatively crafted with unique flavours (we loved the light and airy orange and bergamot tart). With a rather nice option to bolt on three cocktails to your afternoon tea, there’s the Pink Passion, Dark & Smokey and Coastal Cup to give your 4 o’clock treat an extra bit of punch.
2. Dandelyan, South Bank – Wyld Tea
Cocktail fans shouldn’t miss the playful Wyld Tea at the ’World’s Best Bar’ Dandelyan and designed by world-famous bartender (and bar owner) Ryan Chetiyawardana a.k.a Mr Lyan. This afternoon tea has the same botanical theme as the bar’s cocktail menu ‘The Modern Life of Plants’. You couldn’t get further from tradition here, with fun twists on finger sandwiches, savoury bites and retro cakes, such as miso and Parmesan croute and an Earl Grey vermouth custard tart. Naturally, each course is paired up with a cocktail (four in total), including the chocolate farm with Dandelyan chocolate vermouth and pink peppercorn and prosecco. Better get in there quick though, the bar is set to close forever early in 2019.
3. The Sanderson, Soho – Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea
Tea and cake doesn’t get more wacky than the Alice in Wonderland-themed tea at The Sanderson set in the hotel’s beautiful conservatory (swinging chair + floral decor = hello Instagram). Each course unravels another part of the legendary tale, with menus hidden in vintage books, a ‘Drink Me’ potion in a glass bottle, vanilla pocket watch macaroons, and meringue hearts nestled in grassy stalks – there are all sorts of surprises like this along the way. Make it extra magical and team yours up with a specially designed cocktail, choose from ‘down the rabbit hole’, a deliciously sweet concoction of vanilla vodka, blackberry liqueur and double cream, to the punchy ‘the pool of black and white tears’, with Zacapa 23yr old rum, Frangelico liqueur, vanilla syrup, fresh coffee – to keep you awake for that very important date.
4. Dukes Hotel, Mayfair – The MarTEAni Afternoon Tea
In a nod to the epic three-martini business lunches of the 50s and 60s, Dukes Hotel bar brings you the Mar-TEAni Afternoon Tea. What better place to tuck into a trio of martinis than the watering hole that inspired James Bond’s favourite tipple. There are three different martinis – thankfully all mini. The lemon martini for the sandwiches, an orange marmalade twist with the scones and a ‘first romance’ tea martini with an infused vermouth and black tea (steeped with fruits and flower petals) which is sure to finish you off, along with the pastries/sweets. If you think three martinis pre-5pm is not a wise choice for you, you can instead opt for three mini Collins cocktails (a classic zesty gin cocktail with lemon juice and fizzy water), that will pair equally well with your bites and won’t see you destroy your liver, or Uber rating.
5. Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Covent Garden – G&T for Two
Just the trick for gin lovers. Set in the antiquated living room that is *Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour* (you’ll find it hidden upstairs at Mr Fogg’s Tavern in Covent Garden. Think plush chaise longues, Victorian light shades, lots of tassels and retro floral wallpaper. It’s here where Phileas’ Aunt Gertrude (RIP), left her dear Phileas Fogg a whopping collection of over 200 gins, 25 tonics and 40 botanicals. Sign up for the G&T for two and you can make your dent in that. Kick off with a gin and tonic, setting off on a mini gin safari trying some of the gins lining the shelves here. Then it’s on to that afternoon tea to soak it all up, with homemade Victorian sweet and savoury treats, alongside a Bombay Sapphire gin teapot cocktail – just in case you were still in need of refreshments!