Suiting Up For Gin Tonics At London's Soho Hotel

Ted Mosby's barfly friend, Barney Stinson, on "How I Met Your Mother" had a thing for gin tonics. But in one episode, when asked to bartend himself, was forced to confess that he had no clue which ingredients were in his favorite cocktail.

Obviously, he has never been to afternoon tea at London's five-star Soho Hotel. Afternoon tea, held daily at the hotel's Refuel Bar & Restaurant, not only includes the quintessential British cocktail, but a waiter rolls over a fancy cart, gives an animated gin and tonic (G+T) history lesson and lets customers choose between a wide variety of gins and an even wider variety of tonics.

Barney no doubt would have dubbed Soho Hotel's afternoon tea–wait for it–legendary. It has all the customary accoutrements–scones, cream, cucumber sandwiches–but because it's a Kit Kemp hotel and because whimsical twists on old traditions are Kit's trademark, it also comes with a G+T "appetizer," vegan options and a comfy, inspiring setting that, like all Kit's properties, provide a sumptuous feast for the eyes.

The only word that comes close to describing Kit's Firmdale hotels (there are eight in London and two in New York) is well, art. Or at least if you use the dictionary's definition: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.

As I said, when I first visited The Whitby in New York, one of her latest projects, I felt like I was hearing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club for the first time or finally seeing Picasso's Guernica. Hyperbole maybe, but her quirky, inspiring design sense is a beacon to humanity (or at least to me) to "Wake up! There's so much more possible."

Maybe that's why Harper's Bazaar just named her one of the most influential female leaders in the UK alongside Stella McCartney and Victoria Beckham.

The Soho Hotel, situated on a quiet street (that's saying something in this neighborhood) in the heart of London's most happening entertainment district, has 96 individually designed rooms and suites and it hosts such celebs as Ethan Hawke, Sean Penn and Tom Hardy.

And while I have no idea if they imbibed G+T's, I do know that gin is definitely trending, as they say, in London. Hipsters frequent the city's many gin distilleries and Junipalooza, a huge summer festival celebrating all things gin and juniper, is one of London's hottest tickets.

Although afternoon tea at Soho Hotel always celebrated London's mascot spirit with the pre-tea G+T cart and the history lesson (who knew gin originated as medicine to improve circulation and that London became its capital after William of Orange ousted the Catholic King James in 1688 and imposed high import duties on French brandy?), it's spotlighting a new Christmas G+T this December with Monkey 47 gin, an exotic handcrafted gin inspired by Germany's Black Forest.

Using the 47 herbs, berries and other botanicals used in the distilling of Monkey 47 (it's also rumored to be 47 proof), Refuel chefs have concocted a special December tea menu. Expect brie and cranberry relish on walnut bread, ginger and cinnamon cupcakes with spruce frosting, cheesecake with bilberry compote and other delectable that complement the special gin's notes and aromas.

As for Barney, if he really wants to woo women, he should take them to Soho Hotel for afternoon tea.