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Maura Milia, Giorgio Bargiani, and Ago Perrone pouring drinks at The Connaught Bar


The Connaught Bar Book

The perfect martini or an exercise in madness? These cocktail recipes from one of the greatest bars in the world suggest, perhaps, a bit of both.

Instructions for pulling off a proper Connaught Martini run four pages in the new Connaught Bar book, with a deep dive into its many components—from the selection of “bespoke bitters” (black cardamom, lavender, tonka bean), to the proprietary blend of “extra dry,” “dry floral,” and “bianco” vermouths, to the “olive with three pinpricks to let a little of the juice run out into the glass,” all ideally combined tableside, “raising the mixing glass high to add aeration to the drink,” from a “drinks trolley” or “portable bar.”

This iconic martini—the signature drink at the best hotel bar in London, which has twice topped the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars—is more than a cocktail. It’s a performance too. “The martini really distills our concept, which is classic meets innovation,” says head bartender Agostino Perrone, The Connaught Bar’s impresario front man.

The bar and its debut book both have many layers. With 100 cocktail creations, all beautifully photographed, the book functions perfectly well as coffee table adornment—a lavish memento of your last lost weekend in London. The step-by-step breakdowns of each drink, categorized by level of difficulty (1 to 3), build on the recipe cards Perrone, and his lieutenant (and co-author) Giorgio Bargiani have been handing out to guests since the bar first opened.

Spread from The Connaught Bar book
The book contains recipes for 100 drinks. Number 11 was created in 2019 to celebrate the bar’s 11th anniversary and is decorated with edible paints in a style “reminiscent of Jackson Pollock.” Photo courtesy of The Connaught
Connaught Bar Gin Martini
The Connaught Martini, according to The Connaught Bar “is an aromatized martini that has been served following the same ritual since the day we opened the newly refurbished bar.” Photo courtesy of The Connaught
Grating nutmeg onto a Connaught Bar Bloody Mary cocktail
Bloody Mary, another flagship drink, features soy sauce and ghost pepper and is served straight up in a coupe glass topped with a layer of celery air and grated nutmeg. Photo courtesy of The Connaught

Though the Connaught Bar feels like it’s been there forever, it only debuted in 2008. At the time, says Perrone, “there were a handful of independent bars pushing creativity and then there were classic hotel bars with spotless service, focused on taking care of people. We wanted to put those two things together.”

Perrone’s upgraded martini is all about getting the small details right, but most of his drinks stray much further from the classic cocktails that inspired them, often borrowing techniques from the world of molecular gastronomy. The Connaught Bloody Mary, another flagship drink, features soy sauce and ghost pepper in the Bloody Mary mix and is served straight up in a coupe glass topped with a layer of celery air. “It was a little bit controversial,” says Perrone, of the drink. “You’ve never had a Bloody Mary like this.”

The book is as much for Connaught Bar regulars as for cocktail professionals. Recipes for infusions, ferments, powders, syrups, tinctures, and shrubs often require hours of work and special equipment. “We unveiled everything we’ve been doing for the last 16 years, every combination, every ingredient, every garnish,” says Bargiani. “If somebody wants a piece of us they want to copy, I say, good luck!”

Hero photo courtesy of The Connaught

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