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It took me a long time to lose my cocktail cherry.  I was desperate to get rid of it.  But I just didn’t like the thought. Maybe I went to the wrong places and went about it the wrong way.

The whole mixology thing, the contemporary cocktail scene and the pony-tailed, tattooed bartenders shaking their Bostons at me has always left me cold.

Cocktails were just cloyingly sickly, overpriced drinks and a waste of at least three decent ingredients and one mini umbrella.

All garnished with a lot of bullshit.


We all remember where we lost our cocktail virginity. I lost mine in London and I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy it all. The second time was much better.

Much. much better. Because it happened at home. In my own lounge.

London’s 1865 “Langham Hotel” at the end of Regent Street and opposite BBC Broadcasting House at Portland Place, is younger than “Brown’s Hotel” (1837) and “Claridge’s” (1854)  but older than  “The Savoy” in the Strand (1889) and  “The Ritz” in Piccadilly (1906).

It was Europe’s first purpose-built grand hotel in the days when the only place to stay were railway terminus hotels like Victoria’s “Great Northern Hotel”.  When it opened, catering for everyone from princes to the middle classes and small dogs, “The Langham” was London’s largest.


It claimed many firsts. Combining all the comforts and “commodious quarters” of a stately British country house and city gentlemen’s private club it had WCS, hydraulic glass lifts (“rising rooms”) , electric lighting, a chiropodist in residence , the “Truefitts Tonsurial Establishment”, a pioneering vacuuming service and revolutionary air conditioning.

Its first PR blurb claimed “exclusive immunity” from mosquitoes.

Now it can claim to be the first bar to offer me a drink in an ashtrays full of synthetic coal.  Talk about style over substance.

Apparenty, “The Artesian”, named after the now capped underground well which provided the hotel with 25000 gallons of water daily, is a shrine to cocktails or was. Accolade-winning head bartender Alex Kratena became famous for his  Super Pandas, Brazilian Mules, Czech crockery, signature golden pineapple glasses and “interactive garnishing”. Every glass was his stage and he won all the awards. He was hailed for his use of kale.


Four years in a row, the bar won the title of “Drink International’s Best Bar Of The World”. As voted by bartenders and “drinks industry experts”.

But the resident mixologists did nothing for me and left a nasty taste in my mouth. Of gimmickry.

Maybe I was expecting too much. For the earth to shake beneath me.  Which usually only happens when I waiting for a Tube or have drunk too much vodka.

Perhaps it’s perception thing. It’s my fault I can’t get my head around a cocktail.


Perhaps “The Artesian “ is very popular. Rather than very crowded.  Maybe it really is atmospheric. And not  just very noisy.  Perhaps cocktails aren’t a frivolous waste of money.  Perhaps the clientele really are sophisticated.   Perhaps they’re not ostentatiously prodigal and over-loud. But merely having a birthday treat.

But I wasn’t convinced. The whole experience was pants and I never thought I would ever become a complete, fulfilled woman and enjoy  the true sensual experience of putting a Negroni inside me. 

Then I tried RTD in-house cocktails from Heads + Tails, a London ( West Hampstead )  bar recognised in both the ‘UK’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars’ and ‘The World’s Top 500 Bars’.

They have launched nine small batch  ready to down cocktails  in three categories; ‘Fun & Fruity’, ‘Contemporary Classics’ and ‘Serious & Stirred’.

Comprising a delicious Peach Daiquiri,  a fantastic Pineapple Margarita , and equally memorable Maple Old-Fashioned and El Presidente.  Great cocktails you don’t have to dress up for.

Apparently, the UK ready-to-drink market rose  23% last  year, consumers spending a staggering £412 million.

But who really wants all those sexy subterranean spaces which cost the earth? Spend National Cocktail Day (March 27th) at home.  Sit back and enjoy your Angel Face.