Forget artisan vodkas, homemade fruit liqueurs and vintage aperitifs. The drinks craze sweeping London this summer is savory cocktails. The capital’s most inventive mixologists have come up with a refreshing alternative to the sickly offerings normally associated with summer in the city, creating drinks that feature potatoes, mushrooms and even marmite as their base notes.
Pioneering the approach is cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro, whose collaboration with Grain Store has resulted in concoctions such as the Smoked Poacher Champagne Cocktail (pictured)—a traditional summer fizz, but with a Lincolnshire cheese infusion—and the Petit Pois Bellini, with a light pea flavor.
Related: World's Strongest Liquors
Peas are also on the menu at Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton’s City Social Bar, where the Pea-lini is an ostensible health kick of a drink, comprising pea cordial, spearmint, absinth and Prosecco. At the London Cocktail Club, in the West End, you could kick-start your day with a bacon and egg martini (that’s egg whites and bacon-infused Jack Daniels), and later on, head to the 40th-floor of the Heron Tower to Duck and Waffle, to try the Filthy Martini, a combination of Branston Pickle, mustard and an oyster with vodka and gin.
Directly below it (on the 39th floor) is Sushisamba, a sleek, smart, and expensive joint that has created a cocktail made from Kobe beef fat, as well as a pistachio and avocado Brazilian-inspired Batida. In-the-know hipsters like the traditional Cat & Mutton pub in Broadway Market, which serves the refreshing (but off-menu) Fiery Mare with gin, Kamm & Sons, cucumber, wasabi and lemon.
For a drink that almost feels like a meal in itself, the Newman Street Tavern serves a Bloody Bull (beef stock and beef jerky) in a glass with a smoky crumbed rim and condiments, so you can personalize your spice level, while the Artesian, at the central five-star Langham hotel, just unveiled a new menu dedicated to Surrealism. Playing on Dali’s obsession with ants, Join the Colony combines granola with a blend of Absolut Elyx, Wheat, Almond, Juniper and Bergamot flavors.
Emily Mathieson is on the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in London, you can follow her at @emilymtraveled.