The Handbook
The Handbook

New? Yes, the new cocktails have been created just in time for summer!

Where?  Il Bar, Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, Sw7 1DW,

On the Menu: Created by The Bulgari’s Bar and Lounge Director, Robert Gaggl (previously Connaught) the new cocktail collection captures the taste of the French and Italian Mediterranean coasts from the Côte d’Azur all the way down to Calabria. Cocktails include the UVA inspired by the native fruits of the coast; it’s made from Prosecco, aged Grappa, fortified nectarine puree and rosemary grapefruit bitters and the Brise de Mer made from Bombay Sapphire, Riesling and fig reduction, Limoncello, Maraschino liqueur and extra dry vermouth and inspired by the sea.

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The Look:  In a word the Il Bar is sleek. In several more you’d say elegant, dramatic and slightly moody. The floor is mirror-polished granite, the walls are Sapele mahogany, the ceiling is made from titanium and in the centre is a hammered white metal bar, sculpted by Italian artisans. You can sit on low leather sofas with even lower tables or if perching isn’t your thing then you can sit at small tables – I imagine it’s different come the weekend but on a Wednesday it was relatively quiet so we had a choice of seats and pulled up a chair overlooking the Rivea London below.

What We Ate: Whilst we drank they said they would bring a few nibbles, but we were presented with a veritable feast. Slithers of bresaola, hot arancini balls, crispy fries giving way to a fluffy inside and caramelised red onion and olive pizza. The bar menu is extensive so make sure you make the most of it, drinking cocktails is hungry work after all.

What We Drank:  Continuing my current love of Old Fashioneds I chose the Flavours di Parma, made with parmesan-washed Bourbon, Crème de Griottes chocolate (a cherry liqueur) and chocolate bitters – the result was a wonderfully smooth drink, which I’d recommend if you want to try an Old Fashioned but aren’t quite ready for the classic. We followed this with the Aqua Divina made from 16 Woodford Reserve, honeycomb, bergamot, orange and lime, quince marmalade, salt, ginger and topped with lavender soda.

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Go With: Your date, your friends, a client you’re trying to impress or someone who loves trying more adventurous cocktails.

Final Word: If you’ve had enough of the sun and want to escape the heat after work then head to the Il Bar, you can still experience the flavours of the summer but without the claustrophobic heat.