London’s best exotic cocktails

London’s cocktail scene is a rare bird indeed. In the last few years we’ve seen it morph in wonderful ways. First bartenders began serving their unique twists on classic cocktails with the dawn of the speakeasy era. Then came the emergence of savoury cocktails that gave everything from bacon and horseradish to peas a starring role in drinks only the most daring of imbibers would order.

As the lines between the kitchen and bar continue to blur, it seems no ingredient is too odd to weave into a cocktail. From Stilton to black truffle, mixologists are approaching drinks from a culinary perspective, and have recently been raiding the spice cupboard.

The trend dovetails with the rise of Levantine cuisine in the capital, with venues like The Palomar in Soho and newcomer Berber & Q in Haggerston shining a light on spice in their cocktails. Other exotic ingredients like rose water, sumac, saffron and cardamom are popping up on lists around town, as bartenders go to greater lengths to push the experimental envelope to stand out from the crowd.

Exoticism is also weaving its way into drinks at Asian restaurants via oriental ingredients, with some going as far as to add fiery chili and lip-numbing Szechuan peppercorns to their concoctions.

Highlighting the trend for spiced cocktails, next month Pritesh Mody, founder of bottled cocktail company World of Zing, will open a pop-up bar on the Southbank showing off his blackberry and tamarind spiced rum punch and bottled margarita made with Persian limes and nori seaweed. Visitors to the bar will have the chance to get involved in the UK’s first “immersive spiced-based art exhibition” featuring multi-sensory prints made using some of the world’s most exotic spices.

Keen to spice up your night out? Read on for our round up of the best exotic cocktails in the capital. If we’ve missed any, let us know in the comment box below.

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