‘When I first stepped into the hotel, what I noticed is that it’s not just a cool hotel, it’s an interesting hotel that does things properly.
It engages with the locale and focusses on qualitative experiences and the artwork is a really big part of that,’ says Marcis Dzelzainis, co-founder of Idyll Drinks and collaborative consultant for the bar’s latest cocktail menu called ‘The Gallery’.
Before I started on the actual mixology with Roberto Di Paolo, the head bartender and Gosia Krok, Lobby Bar manager, I spent a lot of time just enjoying the art that you can see everywhere within this fantastic building,’ recalls Marcis. ‘I was struck by how much of it is by compelling British artists, often reflecting a connection with nature. That’s when it came to me. That our new cocktails
could be inspired by standout pieces, be they paintings or sculptures, that explore that theme with an understated (or in some cases, out-there) sense of Britishness.’
Marcis not only drew on his experiences as bartender extraordinaire, but also on his knowledge, research and rediscovery of forgotten distillation, fermentation and infusion techniques, via his role at Idyll Drinks – it’s a brand that is passionate about listening to the call of the wild to source some of the most surprising and sustainable natural ingredients in the UK.
The result is a range of concoctions that intrigue and excite. For instance, the sculpture The Boatman by André Wallace, that overlooks the bar and acknowledges the idea of each of us being on a journey, has been honoured with a Horseradish Martini – a blend of vodka, horseradish distillate and Vault Coastal Vermouth, which is infused with oyster shell, olive leaf and Amalfi lemon, plus freshly foraged botanicals including rock samphire and sea purslane. You can almost imagine the splash of oars and the waves lapping the boat.
While Philip Diggle’s Michel Foucault, a Punk explosion of colour and emotion on canvas, is perfectly described as you imbibe the Blueberry Enzoni, with its irreverent clash of gin, Campari, blueberries and lemon. The splash of Raspberry Eau de Vie, by the way, has been distilled to preserve and elevate the juiciness of the fruit, capturing the essence of the landscape in which they’re grown.
‘We’re not creating puns for the pairings of cocktails and pieces,’ says Marcis.