For muslim’s, it is all about visiting Mekka once in a lifetime. For true lovers of dry Martini’s, Dukes Hotel in London should be a destination of equal importance.
Situated on a dead-end street in London’s historical St. James area, Dukes is a truly unique place, founded more than 100 years ago.
I have to admit that I have never stayed overnight, but apart from that, I can attest for both their food, drinks, and hospitality. However, since this post is supposed to be about cocktails, I will concentrate on the bar and the craftsmanship of the staff at Dukes Bar.
It is worth nothing that Dukes Bar deserves a special place in the cocktail world, not only because of their splendid drinks. This is ground zero for what may be both the most disputed technique when making a dry martini, and at the same time what has made the dry martini such a famous drink. It was in Dukes bar that Ian Fleming got the inspiration to the famous “shaken – not stirred” a hallmark of James Bond.
[bctt tweet=”For true lovers of dry Martini’s, Dukes Hotel in London is heaven on earth.”]
This is one of the few places in the world where they still make the drinks on a trolley next to your table. That experience in itself makes it worth the visit. All the liquids, as well as the glasses, are stored in a freezer room, thus eliminating the need for ice. In other words, the only thing that will reduce the alcohol in the gin is the somewhat lower alcohol content of the vermouth. Add the fact that the glass will be topped off at the table, and I think I have a solid argument for that they should serve their dry Martini’s with a warning sign, and possibly both a limitation of liability and a non-disclosure agreement.
My personal recommendation: Have a solid dinner before attempting more than one of these drinks.
In the video below you can see Alessandro prepare the Vesper Martini.
Thanks to Jerome Arbuturian at www.arbuturian.com for the excellent video.
With a full belly and a drink in hand, it is just to lean back and look at the richly decorated walls, the discreet staff as well as the other guests.