It’s not everyday that you find yourself sipping cocktails in the highest bar in Europe. More rare still, that you do so in in the company of bartending royalty.
So it was with much excitement and anticipation that I accepted an invitation to a special evening at GŎNG at Shangri-La hotel at the Shard…
Arriving at the iconic building, I headed up to the Shangri-La’s reception on the 34th floor – pausing momentarily to take in the sweeping views across London…
… Before being whisked up another 18 floors to GŎNG – the hotel’s sleek cocktail bar which imbibes modern Asian elements in its contemporary design.
If the views lower down in the Shard are breathtaking, the panorama offered from this vantage point on the 52nd floor is simply unparalleled, stretching out over an endless horizon. On certain full-moon nights, you can even gaze out at the stars through the bar’s dedicated telescope!
It all makes for a rather attractive drinking destination.
This particular evening was in honour of visiting mixologist, Jörg Meyer, the experimental force behind Le Lion • Bar de Paris in Hamburg, which is one of only five bars to have been listed in the World’s 50 Best Bars poll, for seven consecutive years!
Jörg has brought five of his original cocktails to GŎNG during his four-day residency at the bar, including the award-winning Gin Basil Smash…
… And it was only fitting to start the evening with this sprightly drink featuring celery gin, basil and lemon.
The three simple ingredients balanced together to create a zesty mix of flavours with an almost spicy kick to it… Having had a heady taste, I can’t think of a more exciting way of absorbing my daily dose of greens!
All in attendance couldn’t help but also gravitate towards GŎNG’s new Circle of Life menu, designed by head bartender, Christian Maspes (previously of the American Bar at the Savoy, Polo Bar at the Westbury and China Tang at the Dorchester) and his formidable bar team, to present a journey through time.
Each of their eighteen original cocktails on this menu reflects a different stage in life, whether a familiar mood or a timeless memory…
For me, it was a carefree look back on the Wonder Years with an aptly-titled “Born to Fly”, which arrived alluringly enclosed within a golden cage…
… that elegantly snapped open to reveal a light yet vibrant potion involving Grey Goose vodka, fig liqueur, basil, citrus, French aperitif.
A tipple entirely suited for a warm summer’s evening, it was every bit as exquisite as it looks!
The floral-inspired My First Painting was another highlight, based on Star of Bombay gin, Cocchi Rosa (a sweet aperitif wine), lime, Peychaud bitters and chamomile with egg white, for a touch of of froth.
Cornflowers, chamomile and gold powder added a decorous garnish, making for an absolute beauty of a cocktail, wouldn’t you agree?
Meanwhile, others rediscovered their inner child with the Kinder Candy – a nutty concoction involving chocolate, peanut butter, balsamic and milk reduction, with a chocolate dome on top for good measure…
The carefree cocktails set a playful and spirited tone to the evening as well – I have to say that it was as much fun to watch the maestros at work, as it was enjoying their artful creations!
Taking advantage of the evening, I also had a wander around the highest floor in Western Europe, peeking at the skypool pool-side which leads off from the bar. Oh what I’d do for a daycation here.
The sun was slowly casting its golden spell across the Thames as the evening started to wind down… it was a spectacular sight to behold and one that lent an uplifting note on which to end the heavenly experience!
I was a guest of GŎNG at Shangri-La Hotel, but as always all opinions and views are my own.