Now that summer’s come to an end, it’s time to get serious about autumnal drinking dens. Beer gardens and rooftop bars no longer cut the mustard – we want somewhere we can really sit back and enjoy some full-bodied, real-deal libations as the evenings draw in.
Kicking off the autumn season is the all-new Gintessential bar, located in Morton’s, one of Mayfair’s most exclusive private members’ clubs. The powers-that-be behind veteran serve Berkeley Square Gin have coaxed Morton’s into transforming its ground floor bar into a dedicated gin oasis, open to the public and members of the club alike until the end of September.
Set in decadent, panelled surroundings, Gintessential has all the cool of being the new cocktail bar on the block, in addition to the pomp of its Mayfair postcode. Jazz Age-inspired brass fixtures combine with the black-painted walls and verdant green plants for a modern take on the iconic London drinking den. Contemporary updates of classic portraits and plump leather sofas also nod to the bar’s real-life incarnation as a swish private member’s club – they were all too easy to sink into, cocktail in hand. You couldn’t ask for more once the days start getting shorter.
And the menu is suitably hedonistic, too. The combined effort of Berkeley Square Gin and Morton’s head bartender, Constantino Armocida, it showcases a well-considered collection of gin cocktails, all of which demonstrate the versatility of the UK’s official favourite spirit (it was voted as such in December last year). On offer are reworked versions of martinis and negronis – the latter all too drinkable with gin, vermouth, Aperol and Amaro Averna – in addition to brand-new concoctions designed to tickle any gin-lover’s fancy. These include The Nightingale, a light floral concoction with gin, Lillet Rose, lime juice and hibiscus syrup, and Benji the Bentley Boy, with gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and a dash of Absinthe.
But, if you’re looking for something a tad more straight-laced, then Berkeley Square Gin is well-worth sampling neat, too. The brand uses the gourmet bouquet garni technique to create the gin’s smooth flavour, wrapping its four hero ingredients (kaffir lime leaves, lavender, sage and peppery basil) in a muslin cloth that’s submerged into the liquid as it distils, to preserve the essential herbal oils. Drink on the rocks for the full effect.
For the real gin lovers among you – and for the dabblers, too – Gintessential should be on your list of bars to try before September comes to a close. With its libertine atmosphere and luxe decor, it’s the ideal location to see the new season in in style.
Open until 28 September, berkeleysquaregin.com/mortons