The Dorchester unveils new Vesper menu

Vesper Bar at London’s The Dorchester hotel has launched a menu with cocktails based on its bar team’s memories.

Named Essentia, the menu was developed by Vesper Bar’s team, led by bar manager Lucia Montanelli and head bartender Denise Elisei. It celebrates the connection between scent and memories, and personal experiences from each member of the team.

Featuring 11 serves, Essentia is based on the Olfactory Pyramid – a concept that the team says ‘visualises a fragrance through three levels: head (top notes), heart (middle notes) and base (end notes)’.

The cocktails evoke memories and experiences through their scents, such as mushroom foraging in the forest, salty sea air from summers on a boat or nostalgic childhood birthday cakes.

Highlights include the Sunkissed Summers, which recalls a boat trip to Capri in the heat of Italian summer through its combination of Seatrus gin, rhubarb and aloe vera. Morning Sunshine is made with Enemigo Blanco Tequila, genever, lychee, kiwi and magnolia and heightens the sense of morning sunshine by reflecting a rainbow around the room.

Meanwhile, fans of brown spirits can order Turning Pages, made with Jack Daniel’s single barrel whiskey, Cognac, white port, paper syrup and smoke. The drink draws from the experience of being hidden away in the corner of an antique library surrounded by treasured leather-bound books.

Four of the cocktails – Birthday Wish, Timber, Morning Sunshine and Forbidden Berries – can be made non-alcoholic.

The bar’s signature Vesper Martini can still be ordered. Shaken with gin, vodka and a touch of Sherry – omitting the traditional vermouth – the cocktail was made famous when it was ordered by James Bond in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale novel.

Fleming is said to have been a regular at The Dorchester.

The hotel underwent renovations last year with Vesper Bar redesigned by Swedish architect Martin Brudnizki, who was inspired by the ‘elegance of the roaring thirties’.

This month, Vesper Bar was nominated for Best New International Cocktail Bar – Europe at the 2024 Spirited Awards, which will take place during the Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans, US, from 21-26 July.

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Author: Rupert Hohwieler