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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol. 4: The Langham London

March 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM | by | ()

We caught up with Alex Kratena, the award-winning bartender at the Artesian bar at The Langham London earlier this week on a visit to the Langham Pasadena where he unveiled some of the specialty cocktails drinks he's created for Langham's U.S. hotels.

But Kratena also showed off another one of his best drinks, The Langham Martini (£16.50), a gin martini made with Tanqueray No. TEN, vermouth and bitters and served in a custom-made, detachable silver vessel, that lets you sip the martini at the perfect, cold, temperature until the last drop. The olives, macerated with Tanqueray No. TEN botanicals are served on the side. Even if you don't like gin, you will like this drink. You will also probably never want anyone other than Kratena to make you a gin martini again.

(Cool fact: Some call the drink The James Bond Martini because you can drink the martini with one hand and whack somebody on the head with the heavy stem in your other hand.)

On a busy night, Kratena and his team can make over 500 cocktails. So we couldn't wait for him to spill his Confessions of a Hotel Bartender including his answer to the all-important question--how do you cure a hangover?

HotelChatter: What are some new trends in cocktailing these days?

Alex Kratena: I see a lot of people working with savory ingredients and you suddenly realize, there's a whole new world of stuff that you haven't tapped into yet. Things like mushrooms, sea vegetables. All these things provide a lot of interesting flavor. You might say, Ew, but maybe a mushroom can be a nice touch to a cocktail that's really fruity.

What is the drink you get asked to make the most?

Ooo, that's a tough one in the hotel. We are very famous for the Langham Martini which comes in a special glass that I designed some time ago. Do you want to see it?


The Langham Martini

Turns off recorder. Watches gin martini being made. Sips on gin martini. Keeps on sipping. Sip, sip, sipping. Sluuurrp.

What drink do you dread making?

None. I am a bartender. I'm here to make the guest happy.

Shaken or stirred?

Depends on the drink.

Red or White?


Preferred Spirit?:

Whatever's in my cup.

Guilty Pleasure Outside the Bar?:

I'm a chocoholic.

Favorite Vintage Drink?

Vintage port and champagne.

What about curing a hangover?

Well, that's a complicated one. We all tend to have special recipes. I start to cure it the moment you realize you've had way too much to drink. So at night when I get home, I am gonna do a couple of liters of water. I literally force myself to drink the water. It's so much better to go to the bathroom all night then go to work with a hangover the next day.

If you can make it to the bathroom!

Ah, you're a party girl.

(Feigns innocence)

Then in the morning, first thing I take is multivitamin, then I have a really spicy tomato juice or a bloody mary, soup (like a chicken broth) and a beer.

Wanna catch Alex in action at The Artesian at The Langham London? Look for him at the bar after 6pm. Rates at the hotel next weekend start at £370 a night. ($612 USD)

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