Nestled on a tree-lined thoroughfare in the heart of London’s theatre district, Good Godfrey’s at The Waldorf Hilton is the perfect place to take shelter from an unexpected mid-August downpour – a fitting scene for an evening of divinely indulgent cocktails and delightful nibbles. Despite the name conjuring up images of Basil Fawlty desperately trying to decipher the ingredients of a salad, The Waldorf Hilton is not a place for flustered or frantic minds. The chirpy man wearing coattails and a bowler hat will happily take your worries off you at the door, never to be seen again.
The 1920s-inspired bar awash with marble table tops and prohibition-style furnishings is full of historic splendour, something prevalent in every fine detail, even in the delicate descriptions dotted throughout the cocktail menu.
With classic concoctions dating back as far as 1862 and names such as ‘Corpse Reviver #2’, deciding which cocktail to have may be the trickiest decision I’ve had to make since switching my broadband provider. Luckily there are snacks to keep my partner entertained. Whilst she knocks back the sundried tomatoes and nibbles on an artichoke, I stumble across Godfrey’s Cobbler…one of the most famous cocktails of the 1880s and the first cocktail served with a straw. Served with a trio of berries and a triangle of chocolate, this Byhrr wine-based aperitif mixed with Mozart Dry chocolate liqueur was nothing short of exstrawdinary. Touches of vanilla and fresh lemon made it extremely tricky not to guzzle this tasty tail down in one.
Cocktail number two was Corpse Reviver #2 – presumably Corpse Reviver #1 was not hugely successful. Created by Harry Craddock at the American Bar, he used to say “four of these taken in swift succession will revive the corpse again”. The blend of gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, fresh lemon juice and Absinthe did just that. You know what they say, ‘absinthe makes the heart grow fonder’ and my post-work corpse greatly appreciated the expertly-crafted concoction.
Other cocktails tried and tested:
Tango Essence (Martin Millers Gin, Mandarin Napoleon liqueur, home-made forest tea, fresh lemon juice, vanilla sugar and a dash of rose water)
Green Aldwych (Calvados apple brandy, vanilla and green tea syrup, fresh lemon juice and a touch of apple juice, finished with Champagne)
Red Samba – A Good Godfrey’s Special (we can’t remember what was in it but it was delicious!)
Needless to say, when we bid adieu to our bowler-hatted friend, our worries were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they were under a pile of coats, lost down a prohibition sofa or dispatched along with the fourth cocktail. We weren’t fussed. The rain had stopped and the 1920s were drawing to a close. Thankfully the doors to the Golden Age reopen at 8am!
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