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The best bar is inside an hotel

William Reed Business Media revealed last October the list of the World's 50 Bars 2017. Curiously, four of the top five facilities are part of a hotel complex, and they are not the only ones included in this particular list, which was drawn up by a jury of over 500 beverage experts from all over the world and unveiled on a Tanqueray-sponsored gala evening and award ceremony in London's Southwark Cathedral. It is not by chance that London is keeping its crown as the world capital of cocktails with eight bars on the list, four of which are in the top 10 and one is in first place.

The journey between bars starts in London

In fact, in what can be considered a sort of international guide, the historic American Bar of the Savoy Hotel in London stands out, among the most famous in the world for over 125 years, as well as home to legendary barmen such as Ada Coleman, in the early twentieth century, Harry Craddock, in the twenties, Joe Gilmore, Victor Gowe and Peter Dorelli, more recently. Erik Lorincz, the "resident" bartender - to use a jargon common to DJs - right in the Savoy, at the time of the award, said he was rightly very proud and told The Telegraph that it was great to see so much hard work pay off: "I think we stood out because our latest menu concept, the Coast to Coast - which travels not only through Britain but also through the centuries - is bold and unique, but the cocktails are still accessible. We have carefully analysed different categories of drinkers according to their tastes and preferences and assessed in detail what our customers like and don't like".
In fact, a glance at the Coast to Coast is enough to be fascinated by the almost avant-garde research work and by the sensitivity shown towards the tastes of its guests: Erik Lorincz and the manager of the American Bar Declan McGurk have created a real "concentrated exploration" of the British countryside between Kent and Castle Rock and its folklore, starting with the ingredients of the cocktails on the menu, all from those territories, up to the combination of materials of the glasses in which they are served - slate set in glass, silver, fine woods. It is not, therefore, just a metaphor to say that every drink tells a story, since the menu itself seems almost an old book of English fairy tales, with illustrations to accompany the glossary.

When drinks tell stories

The journey begins in the Garden of England, the flourishing area of Kent, with light and fresh long drinks, served in beautiful terrariums of glass, made to measure, such as the Oast House Fizz, which owes its name to the abandoned houses scattered throughout the area, always used to dry the hops, and combines gin, Cocchi Rosa wine, pineapple syrup, lemon juice, dyeing of hops and herbs, sparkling water and egg white.

It continues with the coupés resting on the silver Art Deco trays of London, with chalices - also silver - on a wooden base, cocktails inspired by the Sherwood forest, and then ends up on the opposite coast, with intense and almost wild drinks like Arthur's Seat, which owes its name to a hill formed on the remains of an extinct volcano, a mile from Edinburgh, which mixes malt whisky aged 16 years, Rosa Cocchi with wild honeysuckle, honey water, raspberry vinegar and bitter flowers.

But, as we said, the Savoy bar owes its fame not only to the finest experimentation, the elegance of the location and the obsessive attention to detail, but also to a tradition that goes back more than a century. Suffice it to say that one of the most famous beverage books ever was written in 1930 by the then chief American barman, Harry Craddock, after he returned home because of American Prohibition. The Savoy Cocktail Book is the only work of its kind and probably also in its genre. It is a mix of interesting coloured illustrations by Gilbert Rumbold, capable of perfectly restoring the elegant and enjoyable climate of those years, and recipes that have made history, as well as a series of acute and ironic advice.
Given what such a structure has to offer in terms of tradition and experimentation, it is hardly surprising that even the second place in the ranking has been awarded to the bar of a (London) hotel, the Dandelyan del Mondrian, designed by Tom Dixon as a sort of luxury Art Deco cruise ship: lavender leather benches, glass walls reflected on mirror tables and sumptuous olive green velvet armchairs, around which runs a counter made from a single block of green marble. Golden brass inserts complete the interior design, which suits different times of day, from the after-dinner drink to the now famous afternoon tea of Dandelyan, the Wyld Tea, served with an original menu inspired by the 70s and combined with "botanical" cocktails created especially by the award-winning mixologist Ryan 'Mr. Lyan' Chetiyawardana.
The bartender is famous in the industry for his original concoctions of plants and roots and for the drinks he has created, such as cucumber and honey wine, tomato wine, pine kernels and cedar sap. There is also the Vitruvian rose Spritz, with sunflower and chocolate vermouth, vodka, bergamot peel and lavender liqueur influenced by the Fibonacci sequence, or the Lonely Heart Killers, a peculiar mixture of rum with tonka and lily, inspired by the American serial killer of voodoo Raymond Fernandez.

But the peculiarity of Dandelyan lies perhaps in the mix between the superglam appeal of Mondrian and the atmosphere almost like a neighbourhood bar that you can breathe among the rows of sofas in pink leather, lightened by music every night different, from funk to rock to the disco of the seventies and eighties and hip hop of Sunday Lyan on Sunday evening.

NoMad Bar, an icon in the City

Located in New York, like the Dead Rabbit, in fifth place on the list, the NoMad Bar of the homonymous hotel, also awarded as the best bar in North America. Although it opened its doors only in 2014, in response to the overwhelming demand created immediately after the opening of the NoMad Hotel two years earlier, the bar has already become an icon and one of the essential venues in the city, with an appeal undoubtedly more lounge, regal and at the same time urban than the two that precede it in the standings.
It incorporates the original Elephant Bar, adjacent to the hotel's restaurant, but features an independent entrance on West 28th Street, just east of Broadway, and a large hall surrounded by galleries where mahogany is the master. Is in a tavern of yesteryear but with all the elegance of a large hotel, Leo Robitschek, the award-winning director of the bar, creates maxi-format cocktails, even for eight or ten people, with his personal re-elaborations of Sherry Cobbler, Whiskey Smash and Zombies.
And for the fourth position of the ranking we return to London, Mayfair, with the Connaught Bar, born in less than a decade and already a classic, thanks to the direction of one of the most decorated bartenders in the world, Agostino Perrone, whose Bloody Mary has long been a benchmark in the industry. Elegant, with an atmosphere, so solid in its classicism that not even the recent renovation, curated by the Parisian architect India Mahdavi, has damaged its style - ending, indeed, to increase its charm -, has a list that includes the best cocktails ever made in the last two centuries. An environment and a card that is joined by the opportunity to meet a wide variety of guests from all over the world, with tastes not too different from their own: enough to make it really not surprising that Connaught is yet another example of a bar, present in a hotel, to have reached the top of the World's 50 Bars 2017.

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