Whether a classic shaken not stirred, vespa dry martini with a lemon twist; a glamorous ruby red cosmopolitan finished with a sweet, orange peel; or a luxe champagne peach Bellini topped with 24 Carat gold dust, our love for the cocktail has soared to dizzying heights. In turn, this has encouraged the little black book bar hot spots to raise their game with tantalising creations, from magical and enchanting to fresh and exotic, and interesting collaborations too.
A liqueur with a golden legacy from the glittering shores of Italy, lies with Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, the multi award-winning Aperitivo created by spirits maestro Giuseppe Gallo, renowned for its fresh, citrus flavour palette encompassing floral notes of lavender and real rose, with a touch of calming chamomile. As the city of London has continued to bask in the last of the summer cocktail nights, Italicus has launched the exclusive Aperitivo Garden, hosted amidst the gloriously leafy green garden surroundings of Soho’s stylish bar The Coral Room.
This delectable partnership has brought us a sublimely curated menu of five cocktail creations, designed to ignite a little of la dolce vita into our soul, and I was headed along to grab a piece of this myself.
Located in the heart of Central London’s literary and theatre hubs, The Coral Bar is housed inside the historically refined settings of the restored Luytens’ 1930s, Georgian built Bloomsbury Hotel. Making my entrance through the striking original ironwork gates, followed by warm greetings by the hotel staff fully equipped with their secure face coverings, safety practices played key priority with an immediate hand sanitising and temperature check before entering.
Perfect temperatures recorded, I was led through the majestic beauty of the 1920s, country house like grandeur of a gleaming marble bar centrepiece, towering glass chandeliers and deep, vibrant coral painted walls courtesy of acclaimed interior architect, Martin Brudnizki, before settling into the charming alfresco surroundings of the Italicus Aperitivo Garden.
The garden setting exuded an oasis of tranquility from the hustle and bustle of the city with large, emerald green potted plants, soft fabric summer chairs, and solid wooden benches, finished off with the piece de resistance; the deep turquoise, custom built Italicus delivery bike on hand for the Bloomsbury locals to enjoy a refreshingly bespoke, after work or pre-dinner aperitif in the comfort of their confinements.
The cocktail menu embraced the alfresco vibe with delightful summer twists on classic favourites, from the gentian liquor, Negronicus to the sparkling May Day Spritz. I began with the May Day Spritz, a refreshing concoction of smooth gin, with the light fruity sweet flavours of apricot honey water. This was given a rejuvenating oomph with the crisp bubbles of English sparkling wine, complete with flavours of bergamot, chamomile and rose petals from the Italicus liquor all served over generous lashings of ice.
Accompanying my beverage were a selection of mini crab croquettes, chicken skewers and beef sliders, ordered via QR codes for a complete contact free, peace of mind experience. The croquettes generously loaded with helpings of solid crab meat, worked beautifully with the tangy citrus mayonnaise cutting through the richness. The skewers in a marinade of peri peri whilst a tad on the dry side, were rescued by the flavourful helping of creamy Cajun slaw; the winning crown, however, sat with the beef sliders, juicy hearty patties with a perfect balance of solid mature melted cheddar, a touch of tangy mustard mayonnaise and salad in soft, warm brioche baps.
As our beloved UK heavens befell us from the clouds, the experience was completed in the splendour of The Coral Room with the Italiano cocktail, a union of the signature Italicus flavours with the sweet citrus notes of orange, tropical nuances of pear and floral tones from the elderflower tonic, lifted with the herbal zests and subtle spice from the vermouth bianco, making this an absolute delight to the tastebuds.
In a nutshell
With the rise of the quarantine restrictions dashing our hopes for some holiday sun, this endearing union of one of London’s beloved bars with Italy’s shimmering, green bottled spirit has pulled out all the stops to give us an Italian Summer romance. Set to run until the end of September, the Italicus Apertivo Garden is the perfect destination for exotic instagrammable cocktails, delicious snacks and sun-kissed settings in the heart of our multicultural capital.
Address: The Coral Room 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3NN
Phone: 0207 347 1221