Drink with a View
There are few places that can boast a view of London as spectacular as The Shard. As a Londoner through and through, I don’t say this lightly. So when I was invited for cocktails at Gong at Shangri La at the Shard I thought about it for about a millisecond and agreed. Gong is located on the 52nd floor of the Shangri La Hotel which makes it the highest cocktail bar in London. Needless to say, the view from up here is the stuff of urban dreams.
So what do you serve your guests when you are competing with THIS view? It takes years of searching, tasting and creating – a real labour of passionate love. The result? A collection of vintage champagnes, rare wines and an especially concocted menu of cocktails so carefully considered that their theatrical presentation is only surpassed by their taste.
The Director’s Cut
Skipping champagnes and wines (reluctantly) I was keen to sample cocktails from The ‘Director’s Cut’ to end a long working day. This is a menu of 16 cocktails and 4 mocktails inspired by the greatest film directors known for their love of story telling. There are no ”shaken not stirred” drinks served with an olive here. Each cocktail is an experience in itself sending you on a sensory journey of ecstasy.
Fear the Jungle
The first on my list was the fabulously tropical “Fear the Jungle”, inspired by the master of awe Steven Spielberg. The description of this cocktail was so intriguing that more than anything else, I wanted to SEE it. The mix of banana, pineapple skin sherbet and lime is the ultimate energiser. However, what makes for a killer combination is Peru’s national drink of Barsol Quebranta Pisco and Xocolatl Mole which comes from the shores of Mexico. It is served in a terracotta container with bamboo straw covered in ivy. A real scorpion nestled in the ivy reminds you there’s a sting in it – perfection.
The next drink on my list was “Bullet Proof”, inspired by Francis Ford Coppola. Imagine the aroma of this blend of single malt Chardu (12 year old) Scotch Whiskey, Italicus Bergamot and Spanish Oloroso Sherry bonded with liquid smoke. The rich golden colour of the drink against the setting sun simply added to it’s allure. Served in a glass with a rose gold bullet on the side for extra impact I couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of so much attention to detail being paid to a cocktail – exactly how it should be. The taste was smoky, light and warm making it perfect for sipping over a long evening. I couldn’t think of a better drink to end a day.
As I mentioned earlier, there are 20 cocktails in all in this menu. Whilst I encourage drinking responsibly I also encourage tasting all the cocktails on separate visits. The space here is wonderfully intimate. The staff are immensely attentive, witty and hilarious. I hadn’t laughed so much in a long while! The view is incredible as the sun begins to set over the Thames – this is London at it’s wonderful best. Make a reservation if you want to secure yourself the best view. I always maintain that food and drink should be accompanied by two things – a great view and good company. I got both here.