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words Andreas Gregoriou
I have never been too thrilled by the prospect of cocktails; to me they’re flamboyant, garishly decorated and often overpriced – especially in central London.
But even if you’re not a fan of cocktails – like me – then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by The Vault of Soho.
‘The Vault’ is situated in the basement of London’s oldest whiskey bar; ‘Milroys of London’ and it’s no wonder that the Vault offers none of the pretentious gimmicky cocktails you might expect elsewhere. Instead, it’s a charmingly tasteful with an excellent variety of whiskey-based cocktails at hand. While set in a basement, ‘The Vault’ never feels cramped or uncomfortable; instead you are immediately bathed in the warm lighting and an oaky smell which gives the Vault a cosy feel. It’s no surprise therefore that on the Wednesday night of our visit, it’s bustling.
The menu is vast, with a cocktail to suit any whiskey or cocktail enthusiast. Most notable was a rich and creamy cocktail, ‘The Apple of My Eye’. This is infused with Granny Smith apples (I’m told that the apples are fermented in The Vault) and Vodka Kirsch, Honey, Egg White and LBV Port. The result? A frothy, sweet and tangy taste, with all the consistency of a good latte or a refined smoothie.
Next I tried ‘Purple Rain’, which can only be a reference to Prince’s legendary 1984 hit. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a milder and lighter cocktail, since it is made from lavender infused gin, Cassis de Borgogne, raspberry vinegar, egg white and prosecco. The lavender-infused gin tantalises your nose buds before your lips even reach the top of the glass, and gives the drink a slightly sharper taste. The combination of the prosecco alongside the frothy egg white topping makes this a winner, successfully navigating between sharp and sweet.
Beyond my third drink, my own perceptions of the flavour combinations become hazy. What does remain clear is that these are not your flamboyant 1980s hen-night style cocktails you might have previously experienced. Instead The Vault offers cocktails that are almost artisanal in their craftsmanship of flavour and appearance. There’s no doubt that The Vault offers one of the most impressively extensive assortment of cocktails as well as a ‘Top Shelf’ whisky selection of drinks also. With cocktails starting at £9.50, it’s not the cheapest option in Soho, but The Vault offers a more refined experience of cocktails which cannot be found easily. These are finely crafted drinks served in a warmly-lit, cosy environment. It is perhaps no wonder that The Vault has been nominated for a variety of awards this year. Visit, and you’ll see why.
For more on The Vault of Soho at www.thevaultsoho.co.uk. Enter at the back of Milroy’s of Soho, 3 Greek Street, London, W1D 4NX.
words Andreas Gregoriou