According to booze legend, the first espresso martini was poured right here in London in 1983. Working at a bar in Soho, cocktail king Dick Bradsell was asked by a customer to mix up something that would 'wake me up, then fuck me up'. With its generous measure of vodka, this version from The Blind Pig has certainly got the second part covered.
Espresso martini recipe
25ml coffee liqueur
Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass, garnish with coffee beans.
Visit the bar
Though technically an upstairs adjunct to Jason Atherton’s celebrated Social Eating House (which itself garnered a five-star review in Time Out), The Blind Pig is a worthy destination in its own right. Perhaps as a nod to its Prohibition-flavoured nickname (‘blind pig’ being US underworld slang for a good old-fashioned den of iniquity), it’s not immediately obvious how to find it at street level; look under the vintage ‘Optician’ sign for the blindfolded hog doorknocker and boom, you’re in.
Seymour’s Parlour, in the new Zetter Townhouse hotel, looks like the home of a well-travelled, eccentric booze collector. With its deep red walls, wooden furniture and fabric furnishings, it’s like a living room filled with a treasure trove of knick-knacks. On a Sunday evening as the sun began to set, candlelight brought old-fashioned charm. It feels more intimate than the original Zetter in Clerkenwell. Unchanged is the quality of the house cocktails, a new selection (£9.50) devised by bar supremo Tony Conigliaro. Champagne concoctions include Le Sphinx, served in a wine glass with orange neroli honey and ambrette bitter: dangerously easy to drink. Last Laugh, cognac, apple brandy, apple caramel and apple wood bitters, had only a subtle hint of apple and surprising citrus notes. When I asked to go off-menu, a bartender perched at our table and discussed my penchant for anything sweet. He came back with a ‘Delicious Sour’ (£10.50), like a slightly melted sparkling peach slushy with a creamy foam top. Unforgettable. Among the snacks, ‘grown up chocolate fudge’ (£4) is pure indulgence. Like Zetter, Seymour’s Parlour is not expensive given the setting and the quality of the drinks. Stop at a couple of cocktails if you can – it’s hard to do. I recommend saving a visit for when you can try a fair few drinks. It’s the perfect spot for an intimate cocktail experience, with engaging surroundings and bartenders willing to accommodate even the pickiest.
Venue says: “From just £33 per person, our award-winning afternoon tea is a must try!”