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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?
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Meet Alex Kratena, the award-winning bartender at the Artesian bar at The Langham London. Some of his accolades include winner of “The World’s Best Cocktail Menu” at Tales of the Cocktail (2011), and “International Bartender of the Year” (2012). Artesian, under Kratena's helm has also won "Best European Bar” at the Cocktails & Spirits Awards in Paris, and has been deemed “The World’s Best Bar" by Drinks International Magazine.
Kratena is also the bartender who made us a gin martini that we actually enjoyed enough to finish to the last drop. No small feat there.
We caught up with Kratena at the Langham Pasadena where he unveiled his latest concoction, The Social Club, a limited edition drink, inspired by the hotel and made with vodka, lilt, vetiver, citrus and rose water, a nod to the city's famous Rose Parade.
It's an absolutely refreshing drink, perfect for a hot day in Pasadena. We were a little skeptical of the rose water (which we've only ever used on our skin) but it's not overpowering at all. It's quite perfect, actually. The chocolate lips on the stem were an added treat too.