Being the world’s best bar once is quite a feat – to do it four times in a row, quite another. Welcome to the hotbed of cocktail creativity that is Artesian
The world’s best bar four years in a row – when you hear those words you wonder if it was a one-horse race, or a competition sponsored by the owners of the winner. But, much like Muhammad Ali, Ant and Dec and Bayern Munich, Artesian is out there on its own.
Nestling in one corner of the Langham hotel just up from Oxford Street and Regent Street, and home to a continual turnover of the most innovative kind on its menu, the Artesian plays host to media types and hedge funders and hotel guests and well-heeled tourists.
It is currently running a sub-menu called Surrealism, a tribute to the Surrealism art movement, and a most appropriate theme for this ever-creative bar, giving it full rein to employ the creative juices (geddit!).
You wonder whether they might achieve peak-creativity with such cocktails as Snake Charmer, Anti Hero and Join The Colony. How about Spring Drifting Into Summer, made up of Ketel One, Shochu, Artichoke, Coffee, Yuzu, Passion, Coriander.
Let’s break that down: Ketel One is a premium distilled wheat vodka; Shochu is a Japanese distilled spirit made from barley or potatoes; artichoke is a vegetable with a gentle grassy flavour; coffee will have a bitterness to it; yuzu is a citrus fruit from the Far East; passion fruit will add a pineappley edge; coriander supplies a perfumey dimension.
A heady mix but then, Spring into Summer is a heady time of gentle but evocative transition.
Heaven Is For Sinners features Zacapa 23, furikake, pineapple, mango, tonka, saison: let’s have a closer look. Zacapa is a sweet, nutty Guatamalan rum; furikake is a Japanese seasoning featuring seaweed and soy; pineapple and mango bring the fresh glow of tropical sunshine; tonka spice has a fruity vanilla thing going on; saison is a fruity pale ale.
A fruity, sweet, tropical smack in the face!
The bar snacks SNAX menu is designed to compliment the cocktails and features such impressive parts as cepe arrancini with tarragon and Japanese bloody mary macarons.
The luxe Oriental-style bar is well known for many different serving flourishes, with sculpted pineapples, Mexican earthenware and even skulls (not real!) being used to transport the bar’s creations.
Staff are relaxed and charming and the price list reflects the bar’s ‘world’s best’ tag, so it’s worth saving up (or even remortgaging) to give it a go. Like Muhammad Ali, the Artesian is indisputably the best, continually voted as such by an academy of drinks’ experts and bartenders from around the world, making it one of a kind in an incredibly subjective world. Unbelievable really. It has to be sampled at least once.
1C Portland Place, London, W1