Sips 'N' Sniffs: The American Bar at The Stafford Hotel

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

If you follow me on Instagram (@perfume_pervert), you may have noticed that I love a good fragrance and I love a good cocktail. I mean who doesn’t? (Even better if it’s a cocktail-inspired fragrance or a fragrance-inspired cocktail!) So I’ve decided to dedicate a new section of my blog to my adventures in adult beverages - I call it Sips ‘N’ Sniffs.

I’ve recently realised that there are quite a few similarities between cocktails and fragrances. Both are liquids that contain alcohol and usually come in a vessel made of glass. Perfumes and cocktails alike often transcend the sum of their parts, expressing an entirely new flavour or scent, achieved only through a combination of ingredients in exact proportions. As we all know, smell and taste are innately interlinked, and flavour profiles can be charted and discussed much in the same way that aroma can be (often using a similar vocabulary).

Like a fragrance, a good cocktail can enhance your mood (and not just because there’s alcohol in it, but you know, that helps too). It can tell a story. Or at least that’s my thesis for this whole exploration. And so I will go out and sip cocktails and report back through the lens of a fragrance enthusiast.

For my first instalment of Sips ‘N’ Sniffs I’m writing about the American Bar in the Stafford Hotel, London. I was invited to sample their current cocktail list The American Dream, inspired by key moments in American history and the individuals who pursued their dreams in the good old US of A. As an American myself, I felt right at home entering this wood-panelled time capsule covered head-to-toe in American memorabilia, much of which has been donated by guests of the hotel. (Over 80% of the hotel’s clientele are American, many of which are families that have been visiting for several generations!)

The cocktails are as visually stunning as the art deco bar, which draws inspiration from American speakeasies. Each cocktail is served in its own unique glass, and each one is more beautiful than the last, so I had to control my urge to point to the delicate glass globe with a small ship inside and say “I’ll have whatever comes in that!”

Instead, I studied the menu and decided on The Frontier, which contains both mezcal and jalapeño, probably my two favourite ingredients one could find a cocktail. And the cherry on top of the spicy, smoky sundae - the drink was pink! Inspired by the Wild West, this cocktail tells the tale of the pioneers who explored uncharted territories, shedding light on their bravery in pursuit of a brighter future. Served with a garnish of woven straw, The Frontier is rugged and fresh with jalapeño-pomegranate-infused gin and lime juice, in addition to the smoky mezcal, which perhaps could be considered the Wild West of alcohols?

James ordered The Man on The Moon, which made for an incredible display of fog as the cloche was lifted off the spherical glass containing ginger-infused whiskey, fennel soda, honey, and lemon juice. I didn’t taste this one because I prefer to stick to a vegan diet, however, it was by far the most visually spectacular cocktail we ordered, channeling that incredible journey into the unknown with the dissipating fog, the enlivening zing of ginger, and a hopeful and joyous note of lemon.

We had a wonderfully welcoming experience at The American Bar and I definitely anticipate calling this place a home away from home. The theme of the menu changes semi-annually and, if I’m not mistaken, they are due for a new menu very soon. I can’t wait to see what comes next! I’ll keep you guys posted and in the meantime peep my Instagram in the coming days for more photos of the beautiful bar and delicious cocktails.