About Time You Tried: London’s Best Nutty CocktailsBy Angelica Malin
Who says peanut butter should only be on your toast in the morning? In association with Meridian Foods, as part of #MeridianNutWeek (follow Meridian Foods on Twitter here and like them on Facebook here), we sipped through some of the best nutty cocktails in London to find these gems. From almond butter whisky sours, to peanut butter Old Fashioned, these cocktails are guaranteed to fulfil your wildest, nutty dreams. Drink up, London:
Order: Zazel – peanut butter and jam Bulleit Bourbon with raspberry syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and salt (£10)
The Venue: Combining the charm of Victorian squalor with the elegance of grand Gin Palaces, The Worship Street Whistling Shop claims to redefine cocktails in the capital, and we have to agree with them. Come here for cocktail revelry inspired by drinking cultures of time gone by, with lots of high-tech equipment to make their show-stopping, smoke-filled creations. The bar is also great for house-made syrups and liqueurs, which are also available to purchase.
The Drink: This drink is an take on the classic childhood peanut butter and jam sandwiches, with an adult twist. The perfect combination of sweet and salty, their homemade raspberry syrup actually tastes of fruit, and the little pinch of salt makes all the difference. They produce the PB&J bottled cocktail and sell it behind the bar at the Whistling Shop, but it’s also available, bottled, to purchase online via Master Of Malt and in Selfridges. Each bottle contains aprox 8 serves; the idea being that a bottle can be purchased and enjoyed at home, perfect for a dinner party and entertaining. All the cocktails are great – for spice lovers, try the The Fire Breather (£11.00) – a mix of chilli beer, hopped bitter, pink grapefruit and Tapatio Reposado tequila guaranteed to knock your socks off.
Where: 63 Worship St, London EC2A 2DU
Order: Almond Sour – almond butter, cherry, amaretto, whisky and bitters (£10)
The Venue: Meatballs go gourmet at new Balls & Company in Soho. They do the simple stuff well – the food they cook is honest, with the best possible quality meat, fresh greens from around the countryside and salt-of-the-earth chefs. The concept is simple – order either beef, pork, chicken or quinoa balls, and then choose from 5 different sauces to accompany the balls, and a fantastic selection of sides, such as polenta chips with rosemary, spaghetti and fantastic Heirloom tomato salad. The quality is absolute top, and, actually, the concept just works.
The Drink: It’s just the best thing ever. A combination of Meridian almond butter, amaretto and cherry, it has notes of a Bakewell Tart in a cocktail. You could have it for pudding. You could have it for breakfast. This cocktail could probably create World Peace. The cocktail list at Balls & Company is small, but carefully curated – also try their version of a Gin & Tonic, the
Where: 58 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 3DY
Order: Peat-Nut Butter Cup – chocolate, peanut and vanilla Bourbon with Advocaat, Mozart dark chocolate, Licor 43, peanut butter and Laphroaig spray (£9)
The Venue: You have to go behind the fridge at The Breakfast Club in Shoreditch to find this bar, but it’s worth it. The perfect date spot, your date will be mega impressed with your knowledge of London’s best secret bars, and the cocktails are top notch. The basement bar is dimly-lit, sultry and effortlessly cool – the perfect place to hide away after you’ve indulged in a breakfast-for-dinner of American pancakes, sweet syrup and bacon after work.
The Drink: You probably can’t have more than one, but you definitely should have one. This drink is oh-so-sweet and creamy, with the flavours of your favourite Reese’s Cup all rolled into one. For other cocktail indulgence, try their incredible take on a Bloody Mary – the Mezcallywagg (£10) is smokey and spicy, made with Mezcal, pink and black peppercorn infused tequila, lemon juice, Tabasco, thyme syrup, charred red pepper, paprika, celery salt, tomato juice and Laphroaig spray. Honestly, it’s the bloody dream.
Where: 12-16 Artillery Ln, London E1 7LS
Order: Rice Rice Baby – Barsol Pisco, rice-infused coconut water, almond, lime, egg white and perilla (£9.50)
The Venue: At Dabbous, you’ll find an industrial-styled restaurant and bar serving innovative Modern European cuisine and cocktails. Think: spring onions with marigold leaves, lime, pistachio & fresh sheep milk curds, grilled spring lamb with lesser calamint & violet mustard and amazing wild strawberry tart. Dreamy stuff. Their cocktail bar downstairs, Oskar’s, serves up quirky drinks with skill and flair – try the Dillusion (£9.50) with Beefeater gin, cucumber, dill, elderflower & lemon – it’s a fabulously fresh contemporary cocktail.
The Drink: It’s really good news. The cocktail has a tropical edge, with the use of coconut water, and the subtle rice flavour goes perfectly with the almond flavouring. A modern take on a pina colada, almost, this cocktail goes down all too easily. Barsol Pisco, the premium brand of Pisco, is the perfect booze to cut through all these flavours. Delicious.
Where: 39 Whitfield St, London WIT 2SF
Order: Pistachio & Avocado Batida – fresh avocado, cachaça, pistachio orgeat and cacao (£15)
The Venue: This Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian sushi restaurant has an amazing look and vibe, on the 38th-floor of the Heron Tower, with spectacular views over the city. The food is wonderful – come here for thinly sliced sea bass sashimi with momiji ponzu and apple, Kobe beef with yuzu sorbet and black sesame, and the best sea bass tempura. The Sao Paulo sushi roll (£16) with scallop, masago, red onion, tuna, salmon, avocado, truffle and chive oil is the stuff of legends.
The Drink: A colourful twist on a classic Brazilian favourite. Think: fresh avocado purée swizzled through crushed ice with cachaça, pistachio orgeat and cacao, it’s served long with an accompanying
cone of maize cancha. The drink is sweet, creamy and nutty all at once. Head to Sushi Samba for the Culinary Cocktails (all £14) – culinary-inspired libations, offered exclusively in their dining room, created by Richard Woods, Head of Spirit and Cocktail Development, in collaboration with our Executive Chef Claudio Cardoso. Each one incorporates ingredients that you would usually find on your plate – such as the Coconut Seviche – xoconut gin swizzled through crushed ice with yuzu, passion fruit and a dark chocolate liqueur, served with an accompanying ‘shot’ of tuna seviche with a tamarind ponzu.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
Photo Credit: Rich Woods
Order: Royal Hawaiian – Boodles Gin, Giffard berry liqueurs, jack fruit puree, freshly squeezed lime and pistachio halva syrup (£12)
The Venue: This speakeasy-style subterranean bar with live jazz and blues is great for quirky cocktails and rare spirits. There’s live music most nights, and it’s got a seriously cool vibe. It’s a bit hard to find – look for the small door next to Chicken Cottage – but totally worth it. The cocktails are like nothing else.
The Drink: We absolutely love halva. In dessert. In a cocktail. Sprinkled over yogurt. This cocktail is fantastic, a fruity mix of berries, gin, fresh lime and sweet, sweet nuts. You literally cannot go wrong. You simply have to try their entire cocktail menu. You need to try the Yorkshire Punch – a take on the classic brew with Gin Mare, apple and rhubarb, Absinthe, St Germain, berry liqueurs, Yorkshire Tea, honey and ginger. Dreamy.
Where: 129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB
Order: Mai Scotch (£8) – scotch whiskey, almond syrup, triple sec, peat AND a Kinder Surprise – brownie, milk chocolate & tonka whipped cream, caramelised hazelnuts, praline foam, caramelia pearls (£8)
The Venue: Dessert dessert dessert. Basement Sate is all about combining two of the best things in life: cocktails and dessert. Here you’ll find great cocktails, and puddings perfectly matched to go alongside them. Think:
The Drink: This drink is a sweet taste of heaven, with the strong hit of whiskey disguised with a delicious, creamy almond syrup. Pair it with one of the nicest desserts in town – a version of your favourite childhood Kinder Egg, this time replaced with their own expertly created desserts. The Kinder Surprise is a beautiful combination of warm brownie, praline and crunchy hazelnuts – it’s like a Nutella lovers dream, and we totally approve. Don’t leave without trying the Purple Rain, too – a
Where: 8 Broadwick Street, London W1F 8HN
Order: King Creole – peanut butter fat-washed Makers Mark bourbon, Creme de Banane and Creole bitters (£11.50)
The Venue: NOLA opened in May 2013 and is hidden inside the Bedroom Bars building. Since then, the international award-winning bar has been serving quality interpretations of classic New Orleans libations, as well as their own crazy concoctions. The stylish cocktail bar always has a party vibe, and the design makes it – period fittings and a line-up of pianists and live bands, it’s truly unique spot in Shoreditch.
The Drink: Named after the 1958 movie set in New Orleans starring Elvis Presley and his favourite culinary experience, the peanut butter and banana sandwich, this cocktail is really something wonderful, especially if you don’t like your cocktails too thick. Think: peanut Butter fat-washed Makers Mark bourbon, stirred down with Creme de Banane and Creole bitters, it’s truly fit for a king. The cocktail is not too sweet, and has a touch of the exotic with a banana hit, it’s really rather wonderful.
Where: 68 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3AY
Order: Nutt Job – Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and Chambord, fresh lemon pieces, raspberries and cranberry juice, served frappé (£8.00)
The Venue: At the forefront of exceptional cocktails for over 10 years, LAB boasts an impressive and extensive menu of world renowned contemporary cocktails, made by some of London’s best bartenders. There’s literally hundreds to choose from – here the cocktail is king, with over 100 delicious cocktails, which will suit every palate. Everything from the perfect Pornstar Martini, to the Honey and Fig Float with homemade honey water and fig liqueur, fresh lemon and Monkey Shoulder. Cocktail lovers dream.
The Drink: The Nutt Job is everything you need in a cocktail – sweet, fruity and nutty, the fresh raspberries really add a nice touch, and it tastes of summer. Also try the Peanut Colada (above) – peanut butter infused Bacardi Superior rum, milk, cream, Coco Lopez and a pinch of salt. Served frappé with a Gosling’s rum float. This cocktail is naughty, but oh so nice. A rich combination of milk, cream and peanut butter, it tastes of childhood and adulthood all at once. Any cocktail that is creamy enough to be whizzed into a frappe gets our vote.
Where: 12 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TQ