Food & Drink

Starter for Four

Our favourite capital cocktails of the moment – the recipes, the creators, and where to sample them

Fontaine’s, London


About as slinky a venue as you can get for martini supping, Stoke Newington Road has a gem of an art-deco hideaway in the atmospheric Fontaine’s. If martinis are your drinking palate’s dream, you’re in luck – the bar’s latest martini menu has all the classics alongside some recipes with an interesting ingredient twist. As well as the featured Belvedere martini, we’re also very partial to the grapefruit-themed Portobello Martini, concocted with Ambrato Martini vermouth. This is a golden cocktail experience, with the sultry golden era décor to match.

Smogory Forest Belvedere Martini

60ml Belvedere Smogory Forset 

Bar spoon of Martini Ambrato 

2 dashes of caraway tincture 

Buck wheat honey spray 

Port of Leith Distillery, Edinburgh


A first drinks launch for Port of Leith, the brand’s new Lind & Lime Gin, designed in a wine bottle shape, recalls Leith’s past – from the 14th century – as a trading harbour for wines, sherries and ports. Named after Scottish Enlightenment hero Dr. James Lind, who noted that citrus fruits prevented scurvy by conducting one of the first ever clinical trials, the gin concoction combines flavours of lime and pink peppercorn along with seven botanicals. Port of Leith have also released a sherry sourced from Bodegas Baron in Cadiz. The tipple features zingy citrus notes, dried fruit, and an array of nutty flavours.

Mull it over

45ml Port of Leith Oloroso

60ml Thistly Cross Cider

10ml Cocchi Vermouth de Torino

2.5ml Monin Caramel Syrup

5ml Fresh Orange

0.63ml 4% Saline Solution

Warm gently and serve straight from the pan.

Heads +Tails, London

Industry experts Will Partridge and Chris Dennis were sure to bring us something innovative, and they did not disappoint with West Hampstead’s newest bar opening. Shaking up the area with an alternative late-night cocktail vibe, the Heads + Tails drinks list is expertly curated and has its strength in ingredient combinations that keep it light, classic & packing a punch, while also throwing in some more adventurous imbibing options. You can perch at the marble-topped bar on the ground floor, Heads, then descend into the moodier downstairs bar, Tails, which specialises in short cocktails using bourbon, rum and scotch. Each cocktail on the Heads menu has its Tails menu counterpart – so get to sampling folks, because it would be rude to leave either side flying solo.

The Prettyman

50ml Fords Gin 

15ml Lillet Blanc

5ml Elderflower Cordial

Lemon Penny 

Add all ingredients to a steel mixing tin with cubed ice. Stir until the tin is ice cold. Pour into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with the lemon.

The Adamson, St Andrews

OK, so we’re cheating a little bit with this one, but St Andrews could very well be seen as the cocktail capital of Fife. The Adamson’s cocktail bar is already award-winning, and on top of their usual signature creations, they’ve also launched an alpine-themed pop-up and après bar with some festive options to sip on. You can cosy up in winter lodge style on South Street until 6th Jan, with cocktails that include a ‘Candy Crush’ and a Talisker hot toddy.

Candy Crush

30ml Eden Mill Candy Cane Gin

15ml Cointreau

15ml Cinnamon syrup

15ml Lemon juice

15ml Egg whites

Hard shake into a Nick & Nora glass, with a dusting of icing sugar on the glass.