Maybourne Group: five legendary cocktails
Across its three London properties, Maybourne Hotel Group boasts some of the city’s most celebrated bars. Here, we highlight some of the iconic cocktails that placed these institutions among the world’s best
Five iconic cocktails to the Maybourne Hotel Group's three London drinking institutions
Ask anyone knows their drinks where to get a good cocktail in London and it’s likely their answers will cover a range of places. They might suggest a subterranean watering hole in Shoreditch, or perhaps they’ll recommend a much-loved Soho drinkery. But, you can be certain that, without fail, they’ll definitely recommend one of the bars at the three Maybourne Hotel Group properties.
With The Connaught, The Berkeley and Claridge’s in its portfolio, Maybourne is in possession of some of London’s most iconic hotels, each steeped in history. They’re also full of drinking and dining destinations that are some of the capital’s most serious contenders; particularly when it comes to mixology – just ask the World’s 50 Best Bars voters, who crowned The Connaught Bar the best bar in the world in 2020 and 2021. “It was an incredible reward for our vision,” Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at The Connaught Hotel, tells me of the win.
But this didn’t just happen overnight – the influence of the group’s bars has been built over multiple decades. It takes special skill to develop such distinct bars across a series of distinct properties that seem entirely independent and yet wholly cohesive. “Maybourne – at its core – is about our distinctive character from that of each team member to that of each bar,” Perrone says when I ask why the group has managed to develop so many incredible bars. “We have a complete dedication to artful craft,” he finishes.
As he adds, the Maybourne Group bars “trailblazed from the start.” It’s an approach that fundamentally changed what it meant to drink inside a hotel in London, and one that just so happened to coincide with an incredibly exciting period for mixology in the capital. “The Connaught Bar, The Blue Bar at The Berkeley and Claridge’s Bar all changed the way for ‘hotel bar drinking’, making it a scene in London in its own right,” Perrone tells me.
“Each has its own appeal – The Blue Bar started fostering a dynamic mixology wave, something it still does today with constant innovation. Claridge’s Bar has the most fantastic vintage spirits collection and champagne, whilst the Fumoir is all about old school glamour,” he continues. “The Red Room is our youngest sibling at The Connaught – a bar that stands out for its art-centric environment and focus on the hotel’s wine cellar. The Coburg Bar at The Connaught has one of the best whisky programmes in town, whilst The Painter’s Room at Claridge’s combines creative cocktails with extraordinary interior design and details – the team wear chambray painter’s jackets. Our newest bar is at the new Claridge’s Restaurant – it is pure glamour with its high shine tortoiseshell backdrop and has quickly become the perfect Mayfair spot for an aperitif. All these different moods, offerings, and specialities – and of course the team members old and new – contribute to why the drinks world looks to our bars.
The Blue Bat at The Berkeley
Marcello Cauda: “We basically wanted to create a highball style drink that can be available all season. So we take that quintessential together all of the most known drinks. So it’s a twist on a gin and tonic and Pimms, as well, and some Earl Grey. The base is a hepple gin, which we infuse with helichrysum, which is a herb. Then we have a touch of Pimms, some sloe gin as well, then we use an eau de vie which is made from seven different fruits – Victoria plum, damson, bacchus grape, pear, apple and raspberry – and then we finish it off with a white apple and woodruff soda, add some Earl Grey and carbonate it with CO2.”
Red Room at The Connaught
Oscar Angeloni: “The concept of the Red Room is all about the fusion between art and wine. So our inspiration for the summer menu that we launched in May was the relation between art and colour. Every cocktail is related to a painting in the Red Room. So this one is inspired by the largest painting in the bar: Halfway to Sunset by Tia-Thuy Nguyen. We wanted to replicate the feelings you have during a sunset, feelings of comfort and safety, and of time slowing down. This cocktail brings inspiration from Mexico and Italy and is a twist on the Americano. We use Campari, Cocchi Rosa, and then we add some mezcal and lactofermented tamarillo and Tio Pepe sherry and then finish with San Pellegrino oakwood tonic which gives it this woodiness, similar to whisky flavours.”
The Painter's Room at Claridge's
Adam Smid: “The idea behind the Painter’s Negroni was to create a complex, rich and bitter Negroni. A Negroni is usually three ingredients which are poured in equal measures, but that’s not the case with our Negroni, because we use less gin and we focus on vermouth. So we use two different sweet vermouth. We use Martini Rosso and Punt e Mes, which is a very rich and bitter type of vermouth. And we also add our homemade bitter drops with coconut and tonka bean just to give it more complexity, layers and textures. The Negroni is premade and batched, and that allows all the ingredients to bond together and give us a rich and complex cocktail. What we also do a little bit differently is that the dilution is very minimal, because we stir the cocktail very quickly and then we just pour it over a frozen ice block. It leads to a warmer, richer cocktail, which develops in the glass. The Negroni is a near-perfect cocktail so we didn’t want to change it per se, we just wanted to do it our way, which I think we’ve managed to do really well.”
The Bar at Claridge's Restaurant
Maddalena Sommo: “Our bar menu at Claridge’s Restaurant is inspired by classic cocktails or cocktails that are very well known. One of the most famous cocktails in the world is then margarita. So for the Peach Piquant, I took inspiration from a spicy margarita, but made it seasonal with the addition of the peach liqueur. The cocktail contains tequila, mezcal – which adds a little bit of smokiness – Cointreau, peach, and lime, and then our very own homemade spicy honey. We do the spicy honey with Espelette pepper. I chose this pepper because it has a medium spice, so it’s something that people who don’t like spice can still enjoy. It pairs well with food too, as this is a bar inside a restaurant that’s really important to me, so I’d suggest pairing it with our fruits de mer or oysters.”
The Connaught Bar at The Connaught
Agostino Perrone: “The Connaught Bar Martini is the ultimate symbol of our hospitality culture. It encapsulates the founding value of The Connaught Bar: re-imagining timeless classics in a way that puts the guest centre stage to personalise and elevate their experience. Our Martini allows guests the opportunity to participate in the cocktail making and to connect with us for a mutual sharing of stories and the creation of a memorable moment. We offer the choice of the base spirits, the addition of a bespoke aromatic bitter from a selection of five (black cardamom, lavender, coriander seeds, tonka, and Dr. Ago – bergamot and ginseng), and the choice of their favourite garnish. The tableside service via our legendary Martini trolley enhances the whole experience, and guests particularly love our final, theatrical high pour. There’s a reason we mix almost 16,000 martinis a year!”