Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Star At Night

22 Great Chapel Street
London W1F 8FR

The Star At Night is a cute little bar hidden away on some quietish Soho side street. Its location, as with many of the best places, discourages passing trade, although given the time it often takes me to find the damn place one can only hope enough discerning drinkers have access to Google Maps. Moving inside, visitors are offered a 40s Gallic vibe and tables covered with classic red and white check. Then there's the extensive range of cocktails, which is of course my motivation here.

I ordered a Mint Julep (above left) for reasons of principle (I believe in bourbon) but also, and mainly, because I've never been sufficiently organised to make one at home. For this I blame the drink's demand for fresh mint, which I am yet to figure out how to grow successfully - or procure in a timely manner - and crushed ice. The bourbon and sugar syrup I can do, but without the other ingredients the trick would almost certainly fail to be done. Fortunately, The Star runs a well-organised, fully stocked bar, and the cool, minty bourbon drink it delivered made me pledge to look up a recipe at home when it gets a little warmer (August?).

My friend J kindly let me try her Cupid (above right), which was Plymouth Gin shaken with sugar, fresh lime and St Germain elderflower liquor. I'd never tasted St Germain before, and I can't reliably say what it did to the drink, but the overall effect was well received by us both.

No write-up of The Star could pass without a(nother) mention of the terrific rum blazer I enjoyed there a couple of winters ago - an aged rum, heated with brown sugar and orange peel, and set on fire momentarily to create an explosion of hot, spicy-citrus vapours, which warmed my bones. This bar is worth looking for.

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