The hottest bar & drink news: March 2016

The hottest bar and drinks news for March 2016 as chosen by olive drinks writer Sarah Kingsbury

Hot new product

Some nights you just don’t feel like drinking. If you’re bored with lime and soda or elderflower pressé, try Seedlip – the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. A clear, botanical liquid, it makes a great alternative to gin or vodka with tonic, or in your favourite cocktail to eliminate the booze without compromising on flavour. S&Ts all round! seedlipdrinks.com


Have we reached peak ‘craft’?

It seems like craft is everywhere now, from sourdough to beer, but no-one can agree what it means. We think it should be used for anything that’s given the time and attention needed to create a truly great product.

We didn’t have a problem with small producers welcoming a cash injection from bigger companies as long as their values weren’t compromised, but with so many buy-outs recently, and a general feeling of ennui, you have to ask the question: is craft (in name at least) on its way out?

Hot ticket

There are some awesome women in the drinks industry and they deserve to be recognised. The Cocktail Lovers agree with us, and have curated a photographic exhibition to celebrate the Leading Ladies in Drinks. Follow @cocktaillovers for more details and exhibition dates.

Trend alert: go bananas

Yes it’s retro, but banana seems set to be the flavour of 2016. Look out for it on cocktail menus everywhere – forget sickly-sweet, tropical-inspired concoctions circa 1983 though, think sophisticated banana boulevardiers, and Salvatore’s Bar at the Playboy Club’s Sling of Freiberg. We’ve tracked down the recipe for you to try at home and impress your guests. You’re welcome. playboyclublondon.com/club/salvatores-bar

Cocktail of the month

This cocktail from Salvatore’s Bar comes from a new menu of travel-inspired drinks. This one pays homage to the unconventional mix of wheat beer and banana juice popular in Freiberg. It’s an intriguing mix of malt and fruit flavours with a touch of spice – weird at first but it works, trust us.

Sling of Freiberg

5 minutes + overnight infusion | serves 1 | easy

cardamom infusion 5ml

Tanqueray gin 50ml

banana liqueur 15ml

lime juice 5ml

weiss beer to top up


  • Make the cardamom infusion by putting 20g cardamom into a bottle of gin and leaving it for
    24 hours. Strain before using.
  • Pour all of the ingredients except the beer into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake hard until chilled. Fill a sling glass or tall Collins with fresh ice and strain the cocktail over. Top up with beer.

Where to be seen


The team behind legendary speakeasy Nightjar (#3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list) in East London launched new bar, Oriole, at the end of last year. Hidden beneath Smithfield Market, the room combines art deco glamour with jungle murals and trinkets from around the world. The vast menu is split into Old World, New World and The Orient, and delivers the team’s signature experimental flavour combinations and outrageous garnishes.

Try Cortez The Killer; Don Julio Reposado, balsamic vermouth and agave tonka syrup, served with a cube of chocolate-covered cheese. Or how about Ryoan-Ji; Nikka Whisky From The Barrel, blue rose milk, seagrass syrup and frozen rambutan, served in a ceramic egg. oriolebar.com

American Bar, The Savoy

The world-renowned American Bar at The Savoy has long been a destination bar but the team have upped their game again with a new menu designed to capture the essence of London. Taking inspiration from the boroughs surrounding The Savoy, head bartender Erik Lorincz has created cocktails with a story to tell. Try the Policeman’s Hook; Haig Club grain whisky, sherry, kombu, roasted barley and bitters, or the dramatic Pickering Place. fairmont.com/savoy-london

You might also like

Top 5 Scotch whiskies for beginners

How to make sloe gin and which sloe gin you should buy

Top 5 unusual gins

What wine to drink with aubergine parmigiana


Top 10 British gins