On the 31st floor of the Renzo Piano-designed Shard, the Aqua Shard bar has some of London’s most fabulous views. If you’re looking for some razzle dazzle with your tipple, this is it – and you can just walk in, with no need to make reservations. Whether you want to celebrate an anniversary, birthday, or the fact it’s Tuesday, this is the place, where you can sit next to the window and see London unfurled in front of you like a carpet. And the staff knows their cocktails.
Our waiter, Alessandro Geraci, has an enthusiasm for mixology that’s catching. He’s been fascinated by concocting cocktails since his teens, and acquaints us with Aqua’s Pop from the Past cocktails, which all contains a creative combination of tea and gin in frosted glasses. As Brits, we love tea, and we also love a proper gin drink. What a marriage this is, then.
The first has a flower-scented flavor – an infusion of Cornish Manuka leaf mixed with Tanqueray No. Ten and sparkling wine and poured over a chunk of ice. The other is equally quirky and aromatic, named after Churchill as it utilises the wartime leader’s favourite tea, Lapsang, combined with the sun-infused citrus of fresh mandarin. It has a wonderfully smoky flavour. Other choices are apple and cedro, a fragrant mix of Tanqueray No. Ten with cedro lemons from Sorrentino, apple, lemon and anise tea, while there’s also a veritable After Eight chocolate of a drink, mixing more Tanqueray No. Ten, cacao, and peppermint.
At this point we’re completely buoyed up to try some more from the rest of the cocktail list, even without infusions of tea, and Alessandro then serves us his creation. It’s a twist on an Old Fashioned that uses a peanut butter syrup infusion with bourbon. It’s remarkable - a kind of Willy Wonka-esque confection that tastes of popcorn and Reese’s Pieces, more of an experience than a drink. Another deliciously unusual choice is the Rice Alexander, which tastes like the kind of thing that might be knocked back in paradise, a subtle blend of caramel and rice milk, given a vodka kick.
We also have to recommend the splendidly spectacular, delightfully citrusy sherbet rose-tinged Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey, which has an iconic portrait of Audrey herself on the surface – all you fancy leaf-drawing baristas, eat your hearts out.
Audrey Hepburn, cocktails, views, and the enthusiasm of Alessandro to guide you through the cocktail list: Aqua Shard bar will definitely leave you with a spring in your step. And who knows, perhaps the gin will make you feel a bit like the Queen.
The drinks described in this review were provided at no cost to the contributor.