From venison aperitifs to hangover-beating 'meaty maries', London's cocktail menus have definitely taken a carnivorous turn – so as the drinks keep flowing this season, meat-lovers might want to consider one of these fleshier varieties:
The Kobe Cocktail
With mixology maestro Rich Woods at the helm, Sushisamba knows what it's doing when it comes to culinary cocktails. And that includes meaty ones too. The Kobe Cocktail is fast becoming one of its most talked about drinks, as it uses Kobe beef sourced from prime Wagyu cattle and Japanese whisky, treated to a wash of the highest grade Kobe fat. This is a classic riff on the traditional old fashioned and is stirred with maple and salted caramel before it's served on a block of ice with a primal hunk of that Kobe beef on the side. Grrr. And if you can't get enough of this prime cut, Sushisamba executive chef Cláudio Cardoso is serving up a special 12 Days of Kobe menu of meaty delights from December 14 to 26.
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The Meaty Mary
Head to Powder Keg Diplomacy in Wandsworth the morning after a heavy night and ask for the Meaty Mary. You'll find all the usual English vodka, tomato juice and spices in there, but this one also has Sunday roast gravy in it and actual roast beef in the glass, giving a whole new meaning to the term 'liquid lunch'. If you're looking to really up the ante, ask for the haggis-infused Mary Queen of Scots. Hangover, what hangover?
Shrub & Shutter
The Deer Hunter
Brixton's Shrub & Shutter does one of the most inventive culinary cocktail menus out there. So if Kobe beef doesn't do it for you, how about a spot of venison? The Deer Hunter is a mix of bourbon, orange, Capovilla Tabacco (a type of grape-based brandy), birch sap and bitters. It's all very theatrical when it arrives at your table underneath a glass dome of smoking pine and a piece of venison on the side. It's also preposterously strong.
You can find all sorts of takes on the classic margarita in London but have you ever had one with a slice of ham in it? This one at Spanish restaurant Camino is made from amontillado sherry, tequila, the orangey Merlet triple sec liqueur and lime. There's no fancy infusion going on but as mentioned, you do get a lovely piece of Spanish ham to nibble on. The sweetness of the sherry, tang of the lime and kick of tequila no doubt complements it quite nicely. Nom.
Too much meat? Try these savoury cocktails in London.