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What says, “Let’s snuggle in from the cold” better than a cup of hot chocolate? The hot choco cups coming from these three hotels should give Hershey's Cocoa Powder an inferiority complex.
The Mark Hotel in New York (a Preferred Hotel) has opened up their Mark Cocoa Kiosk just outside the hotel’s doors. The festive Kiosk has their signature Jacques Grange black and white stripe and serves The Mark Glazed Gingerbread to go along with their decadent, over-flowing with whipping cream, Jean-Georges Cocoa concoction. If you’re in the neighborhood and need a break from shopping on Madison, stop in and enjoy: the price is $8 for the cocoa and $4 for a two-pack of the cookies (guests enjoy them at no cost). Open daily throughout the holidays.
Bloody Mary is looking pretty spry at 80 years old. The cocktail was born when a St. Regis New York Hotel bartender named Fernand “Pete” Petiot spiced up a tomato juice and vodka libation with celery salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon and Worcestershire sauce – reinventing his simple cocktail formerly enjoyed at Harry’s Bar in Paris. The name “Bloody Mary,” though, was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar patrons in 1934 and it was re-named the “Red Snapper.”
To celebrate the 80th birthday of this most-ordered cocktail at The St Regis New York (it’s so popular, in fact, that as Starwood opens new St Regis properties around the world, they introduce a local version of the cocktail in each destination), they’ve bottled the bevvie so that you can take it home with you and wake up to it the next morning (there are worse things you could do).
The Red Snapper Bloody Mary mix is bottled in a limited-edition bottle designed by renowned fashion illustrator, Bil Donovan, and produced by Arrowhead Farms, celeb event designer Bronson van Wyck’s cocktail line. You can get it at the Arrowhead Farms online boutique for $28 starting Nov 26.
Now if you prefer to stay over at The St Regis New York and just enjoy a morning-after Bloody Mary cocktail on the premises (no judgment) a room will set you back $665 per night in January.
[Photos: St Regis Hotels & Resorts]
Pouring the Martini Royales
It’s the terrible dilemma that faces you when you set foot in the Langham London. Does one head straight into Palm Court for one of the best afternoon teas in the world capital of afternoon teas? Or does one turn left and nip into Artesian for a perfectly blended cocktail?
Clearly, it wasn’t just us having a moral dilemma, because the Langham has just started The Art of the Aperitif - a pop-up bar bringing drinks from Artesian into Palm Court.
It’s being run in conjunction with Martini, so all the drinks (there are seven) have vermouth and, and there’s Martini memorabilia scattered around. But it’s no boring promo thing – the drinks have been created by Artesian’s Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale (head bartender and assistant head respectively), and there are food pairings (or snacks, rather), too, for the all important stomach-lining process.
For those moments when you need to socialize and detox, there’s a genteel catch up over a cup of tea… and then there’s Tanya’s Café at MyHotel Chelsea, which opened in August serving raw food and superfood cocktails.
We popped in last week for post-work drinks. First surprise: it was buzzing. And the clientele didn’t seem to be hotel guests either, but locals – particularly slender, clear-skinned, unbelievably young posh locals – think Cara Delevigne-types (Cara lives nearby in Belgravia).
Second surprise: it was expensive. £10.50 for a cocktail is fine, but a plate of chips & dips for £17.50? Nope. Also, surprisingly, there were only snack-style platters available in the evening – the proper meals are daytime only.
Third surprise: lawd, it was good. Here’s what we tried:
A Mastic Sour with the Monastery of St John on the hill, top right
We blame the Grande Bretagne in Athens. After we tasted the Tears of Chios cocktail at its rooftop Selfie Spot bar, we got a little obsessed with mastiha, a liquor flavored with mastic (a gum-resin thing that’s produced on the island of Chios). Mastiha cocktails, neat mastiha after dinner – it’s all we wanted to drink in Greece.
So when we were on the island of Patmos, we went in search of mastiha-infused cocktails. Patmos is a notoriously un-party island (it’s home to a huge monastery, various convents and the Cave of the Apocalypse) so this was always going to be a tall order.
We started at Patmos Aktis, one of the poshest hotels on the island, which had looked lush from afar. But then we left immediately because the server in the (deserted) restaurant threw a tantrum about us only wanting drinks.
We ended up in port town Skala at Chris Hotel, not nearly as rarefied a place as Patmos Aktis (right by the port, for starters – and then there’s the name), but not nearly as snooty. The terrace bar, which had been buzzing every time we drove by, was full – and not just with tourists, but mainly with locals. This, apparently, is where the young of Patmos go to party.
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We’ve shown you the Selfie Spot at the Grande Bretagne in Athens and we’ve banned you from taking selfies. So what else can you do up there? Well, you can take glorious panorama photos of Athens and the Aegean Sea. Or you can drink.
The GB Roof Garden has a restaurant and a separate bar area with outside terrace. (NB: The bar area is right by the Selfie Spot, if you need Dutch courage to get your selfie juices flowing.) Cocktails vary from €14-€21 ($18-$27), there’s free WiFi, free (bottled) water served with drinks and some rather snazzy bar snacks including candied fruit. It’s all very civilized.
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We just love a good play on words because while “staying dry” at Gran Meliá Fénix’s DRY Bar is possible, with an 84-page bar menu, it’s probably not the time or the place.
The bar, whose full name is the lengthy DRY Cosmopolitan Bar by Javier de las Muelas, has a tantalizing selection of bevvies that fall into categories such as DRY & Tonics, Exotiks, Sensory, and a full page of Beer Cocktails (remember we saw this as a trend during Cocktail Week?). But it’s really the Classics, as in martini classics, that the bar most wants you to try, because when you do, you join a select group.
Each person who orders the Extra Dry Martini (€13 or $17) officially becomes a—as in you get a certificate and everything—proud supporter of the “Javier de las Muelas Dry Foundation, created for the development of the cocktail world.” Your certificate states your martini order number, as does the martini counter above the Bar’s bar.
You’ll be drinking your lip-smacking, mouth-drying martini (gin is certainly the thing here with 60 varieties available) in a clubby, woody type of bar where you feel you can stay and sink into the furniture for a while.
They say opposites attract, although isn’t internet dating saying the opposite these days? Anyway, here’s an interesting combination: laidback Hawaii meets stiff-and-proper Paris as the head barman from the Ritz Paris is heading to the Halekulani hotel in Waikiki to present an “interactive cocktail pairing experience”.
Colin Field, from the Ritz’s Bar Hemingway (and the “best barman in the world”, according to Forbes), will be in Hawaii from 22-26 September, propping up the bar at L’Aperitif. On his final evening (6-8pm) he’ll lead a “tasting experience”, demonstrating the art of cocktail making and then (the crucial part) doling them out, along with posh amuse bouches created by the hotel’s exec chef.
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As you know, we like a good cocktail over here at HotelChatter so we’re always on the lookout for the best bevvie to order when we’re hoteling on the road.
Located right in the heart of things, Mama Shelter Bordeaux’s bar is one huge space resembling the basement rec room in your parent’s house when you were growing up but with more technology lying about. Wooden tables and chairs, wooden posts with screens attached to some of them to show off your digital pics, and a long wooden bar the size of Baja California, take up most of the space. The boho crowd is young-ish and, like the bartenders, ready to have fun. There’s a DJ on hand every Friday and Saturday night.
We had the Mama Tai for €14 ($18), which included rum, Cointreau, lime juice, sirop d’orgeat, and had a luscious black cherry garnish. Now, you can sip on that cocktail in the newly-opened rooftop bar/restaurant.
”Raw food” and “superfood” aren’t words that generally go well with “alcohol”, so props to MyHotel Chelsea for showing that you don’t have to be goody goody to eat well.
The hotel just opened Tanya’s Café in the conservatory, run by raw food enthusiast Tanya Alekseeva. It’s open from 7am for breakfast on weekdays (8am on weekends), and serves lunch 11.30am-3.30pm, and cocktails – woohoo – from 4pm-11pm Tuesday through Saturday. The kicker? They have vegan wine, too.
According to Tanya’s website, the menu “is designed to reflect your busy schedule and provide loving nourishment at all times of the day.”
The menu looks pretty intriguing, with a slew of juices, smoothies and shooters, along with an extensive lunch menu of everything from pad thai to tacos and a “plant-based burger” on onion bread. There are also plenty of desserts and chocolate. Because raw doesn't mean neglecting the sweet stuff.
Well, another year, another HotelChatter Cocktail Week comes to a close, except that this year we had so much to share it became Cocktail Weeks, as in two. And since you’ve shown such an unquenchable thirst for all things cocktail, we’re going to keep sharing the cocktail love by including at least one cocktail story a week so that you can keep that “spirit” alive. (We just keep coming up with this stuff.)
As a farewell ode to official Cocktail Week, here’s a roundup with links so that you can catch what you may have missed.
It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Looking for a little intellectual stimulation to go with your cocktail buzz? The mixology pros at Raffles Singapore’s iconic Long Bar have put together a Timeline Cocktail Menu that covers significant time periods and events in the hotel’s history. Here’s a sampling of just a few.
Tiffing – “Tiffing” comes from an old English word meaning “taking a little sip” and over time came to mean a light mid-day meal. Hence came Sunday tiffin curry, which was an essential aspect of colonial life. Tiffin curry has been served at Raffles since 1899 and now you can take a little sip of it as well; the cocktail consists of Tequila, Aperol, Angostura bitters, lemongrass, curry, Monin Gomme, and fresh grapefruit juice. Bite into that.
The Stray Tiger – This cocktail marks the rumor that a tiger was shot under the billiard table in the hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room in 1902. The truth (if you want to hear it) is that the tiger was shot under the actual Bar & Billiard building but—hey—close enough. The Stray Tiger is a layered cocktail with white rum, Cointreau, vermouth, fresh lime juice, absinthe (hallucination-causing wormwood was big in those days) and lemongrass foam.
More bevvies below!