Craft London has teamed up with capital-based distillery Sipsmith to offer a range of summer drinks in its top floor bar and adjoining terrace. The spirit brand’s head distiller Jared Brown has developed six cocktails with the venue’s bartenders, designed to showcase his products and their interaction with ingredients grown wild on Greenwich Peninsula or tame in the kitchen garden.
Jared, shown below "throwing" a martini, said “We’re making drinks with foraged ingredients because there are so many flavours beyond what’s behind your average bar.
“At Craft they have wonderful wild gardens just all round the place.
"I live in the Cotswolds where I’ve got about 150 plant species in my garden plus wild foraging all round me and so we’ve discovered we’re of like mind.”
In addition to the menu, there will be bi-monthly ticketed gin masterclasses (Craft should be able to supply more details of these as dates haven’t been released) until the partnership finishes Tuesday, September 20.
Before then, though, there’s plenty of time to drink Sipsmith's offerings (this is a bar with a late licence after all).
But which of the recently conceived cocktails are worth shelling out the best part of a tenner for? Here’s what we thought.
1. Summer Harvest
Sipsmith London Cup, beetroot shrub, green pea oil, lemon juice, overproof bourbon, dandelion, orris root and buckwheat tincture (£9)
This opaque glass comes in regal purple thanks, presumably to the beetroot, but actually tastes like a slightly grainy pea soup. Unless you’re into savoury slurping, this is one to avoid.
2. Herbal Martinez
Sipsmith VJOP, Sipsmith London Cup, Amaro Averna, house batch mint and basil, house batch rosemary and thyme bitters (£10)
The sublime follows the ridiculous. This big, bold, potent drink is one to go back again and again for. It's the best of the bunch. Don’t be put off by the sizeable bush of rosemary used to garnish it.
3. Elderflower And Honey Cup
Sipsmith London Cup, elderflower liquor, black pepper, lime and lavender vinegar, lemon juice, lavender tincture, mead (£8)
A beautiful, dusky little balloon of a thing, this is the cooling blend you need on a hot day to gently paint a bubble of calm around yourself. Warning – three or more of these will make it very difficult to rise from Craft’s low-slung terrace furniture.
4. Foragers Julep
Sipsmith London Dry Gin, raspberries, golden syrup, marjoram, sorrel and raspberry infusion (£9)
This bright, light, fresh mix hides in a copper tumbler. But don’t be fooled by the piled ice. Beneath lies a cocktail of sophistication and delicacy.
5. Golden Sip
Sipsmith Sipping Vodka, Dolin Dry Vermouth, golden syrup, fresh strawberry, wormwood leaf (£9)
Curiously underpowered, the bright scarlet colour advertises a drink the flavours fail to live up to. At least there’s a slice of fresh strawberry to enjoy as a consolation prize for spending £9.
6. Craft G And T
Sipsmith Sipping Vodka, gooseberry jam, juniper vinegar, lemon juice, honey, tonic (£10)
An expensive, but superb long drink to watch the sunset with. Be careful – that honeyed combination of lemon and juniper is perilously addictive.
A brief postscript, don’t get caught out on a casual trip – Craft London will close for a week from Monday, August 22-29.
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