Although not marked as such it’s fairly obvious which room holds the enticingly named Purple Bar within the Morgans group’s only marked hotel, The Sanderson. A cut glass purple mirrored doorway leads into an initially dim yet sparkly room, the chairs are scaled a touch too small in order to invoke an Alice in Wonderland skewed sense of proportion. It’s a chocolate box of a room, perhaps slightly gaudy (I can’t decide but love it anyway), extremely pretty little jewel that almost needs a twirling ballerina spinning at it’s heart to complete the interior of a jewellery box notion. The Sanderson Hotel itself has a typically ugly front with those instantly recognisable touches and quirky Philipe Starck interior flourishes. A trip to the ladies has me chuckling at the slightly barmy coridoors I find myself in; appearing to be coated with a lime green padded plastic material from floor to ceiling, the light fittings are like something from outer space.
I was invited along with a small group of others to try out their brilliant new bespoke cocktail concept. This pretty little bar is menu free; let instead the talented trio of mixlogists concoct something magically unique and crafted exclusively for you. And I can honestly say these guys know their stuff; give them literally anything to work with; we’re talking flavours, ingredients, even a mood, and they’ll whip up something to knock your socks off. We start with a demonstration of some classic cocktails and how these could be transformed with a small twist.
Always over excited at the prospect of getting behind a bar, I volunteer first, keen to see what would be created for me. After listing my favourite ingredients and drinks excitedly in a rather long monologue, the barman selects bottles from the vast selection behind the bar and chats me through his idea, I nod willingly as I pour to his directions. We start with gin, and go half and half Campari with Cynar, a bitter, herbal liqueur made from artichokes, and finish with Antica Formula. A sip reveals a deep richness that he thinks will be enhanced with a drop of chocolate bitters; perfect! I clutch our invention and settle back to watch the others create a wide variety of other drinks and twists on classics. One that stands out is a gin and Chartreusse number that is heavenly zesty, if only I could remember what went into it… A taste of some beautiful (no really) tequilas has me concidering trying them again, and an espresso martini made with one really challenges my hatred of the spirit. Plates of stunningly presented Asian inspired nibbles stop those drinks from going to our heads.
Such attention obviously comes at a price and these are a couple of panic heart beats above regular London hotel prices, but considering this is unlikely to be an every day treat, I think the experience is woth every penny. How often do you get a top mixologist at your convenience to create your very own besboke cocktail? I reckon it would be an utterly brilliant place to take someone for an indulgent birthday treat.
The Chloë Negroni
30ml Antica Formla
1 drop Mozart chocolate bitters
Pour into a small tumbler over an iceberg of ice and stir, finish with a twist of lemon.