It’s taken me a while to write this. Not because I didn’t want to but because my schedule has been so packed lately that I’ve struggled to catch up with my writing. So it’s lovely to finally sit down, breathe and write.
Antonio Lai at Gong
Last month, Shangri-La, London hosted multi-awarded international mixologist Antonio Lai for three nights at the hotel’s Gong Bar. Antonio pioneered the comprehensive Multisensory Mixology concept in Hong Kong and is the owner of Quinary Bar. So we were very lucky to have him grace us in London even if only for three nights.
Cocktails on the night
Vanilla Sky, especially created for the night, was made of Italicus infused with cedar wood, Bullet Whiskey, Rosso and bitters with smoky notes. The striking amber shade encased in a classic whiskey glass of cut crystal was a bold move against the other more theatrically presented drinks on the menu.
My favourite was the Earl Grey Caviar Martini (pictured above) made of Ketel One Citron Vodka, Cointreau, elderflower syrup and containing caviar with a dramatic whipped top. Antonio’s knowledge and skill had created an utterly stimulating creation which triggered, as expected, all senses. Colour, texture, aroma and taste all in perfect balance for an incredibly immersive cocktail.
I am Jade was another winner for me. Made of B24, jasmine basil syrup, lemongrass syrup, lime juice and soda water. It was all my favourite things at once; lemongrass, lime juice, jasmine basil. Ingredients which can easily overpower if not used correctly. In this instance of course balanced impeccably with precision which can only be expect from skilled hands.
The evening ended with cocktails served by Shangri-La’s rooftop infinity pool. With whimsical views across London we watched the sun patiently sink against a purple sky. The capital illuminated itself, slowly, one flickering light at a time. We sat spellbound, as dusk unfolded its blanket, savouring the cocktails as patiently as the sunset itself. For a few breathtaking moments everything was synchronised and in perfect harmony just as we always hope it could be.
Gong is located at The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG. For more information visit: Gong Bar