London-City and East London
May 11, 2018
The fourth UK outpost of this inventive cocktail bar chain – there are another two in Manchester and one in Leeds – The Alchemist is located in the heart of the City, on Bevis Marks, right in the shadow of the Gherkin. It’s a smart space, high-ceilinged and contemporary with a busy bar area at the front. The choice of cocktails is excitingly huge and varied, ranging from ‘Safe Bets’ – crowd-pleasing daiquiris and fruity mojitos – to far more intriguing and creative hand-crafted cocktails. They serve a Hot and Cold Espresso Martini which manages to be two temperatures at once and a smooth Manhattan topped with a sweet maple foam. We were particularly taken with the Smoked Old Fashioned, a sweet-edged take on a classic, oak smoked and served over a perfect sphere of ice. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – designed for two people to share – was another favourite – a collage of citrus and cucumber boiled up with vodka and served warm in willow pattern tea cups. It’s a very clean tasting drink, almost virtuously so, and one of the more inventive warm cocktails we’ve tried. Those with sweet teeth will want to try their meringue-topped Passion Fruit Martini which comes with a flame-glazed cap of meringue – a wicked mixture of dessert and drink. They have a lot of sharing options, including a number of tempting drinks which come in copper kettles and are ideal for small groups. There are barrel aged drinks and a number of cocktails which come in refillable hip-flasks. There’s a good list of wines and beers available too but it’s the cocktails that really excite. The bar tenders are knowledgeable and the bar feels friendly and laid back despite its City location.