Cheers from Merry Olde England, darlings! I’ve just landed in London (aka my home away from home) and I’ve already gotten into the swing of nightlife in my personal favorite city in the world, enjoying several martinis along the way, of course. Divine!
Speaking of Martinis—those beautiful, clear, mind-numbing libations that bring such joy and pleasure—if you’re anything like me, you just can’t get enough of them. As a bit of a connoisseur of the drink, I make it a point to try them as often and in as many places as I possibly can. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it is a grueling endeavor, but I feel like I owe it to you and to everyone who wants to understand the art of Living Wells to continue my quest to find the most brilliant martinis in every destination around the globe.
This week I reconnected with one of my favorite martinis at my favorite hotel in London, the Egerton House. You absolutely have not lived until you’ve sat by the fireplace in the elegantly appointed, cozy drawing room of the Egerton House hotel and sipped one of the house martinis made by the hand of legendary bartender Antonio (no need for a last name, as with most icons).
The other night I stayed up until 5 a.m. having far too many martinis and chatting with Antonio about his 40-plus years behind the bar serving a plethora of boldfaced names from both sides of the Atlantic at some of London’s swankiest hot spots over the years. The man is a legend, and a very smart set from all over London—and, indeed, the world—gather nightly to watch the legend work his magic.
All martinis at the Egerton House are prepared right in front of guests on a little table that carries all the ingredients Antonio needs—a splash of vermouth, perfectly chilled Belvedere vodka and a thin slice of lemon rind cut fresh before guests’ eyes and dropped into the martini glass as a finishing note. How such simple ingredients become so much in Antonio’s hands is a mystery (although I think it has something to do with the way he shifts his shoulders as he puts the final touches on his creations), but the magic of his martinis is undeniable.
Stop by the Egerton House and plan to be transported over one of these delicious cocktails, but do be sure to make a reservation or at least call ahead, because the bar is small and Antonio’s martinis are always in demand. Here’s the contact info:
The Egerton House Hotel
17-19 Egerton Terrace
London SW3 2BX
Tel: +44 20 7589 2412