Tailored cocktails with modern twists by Owen Rice

back in the 1850s, if you dropped into a London Bridge drinking establishment, chances are you’d find a few familiar beverages to whet your whistle. Not just your merry pint of beer; pale ales, porters, champagne, port and sherry were all easy to come by and extremely popular with the hard drinking, hard working locals.

Somewhat more surprising might have been the familiarity of the cocktail and mixed drink list. Pimm’s Cup (created at the Pimm’s Oyster House) and the Tom Collins (made famous in a 1830s verse) were all regularly featured on painted bar boards which after some time, ensured that their popularity boomed.
Hide Bar Cocktail Martini London

It wasn’t all gin-based though. One of the most famous British drinkers of the period, Charles Dickens, regularly referenced mixed drinks in his writing. In the novel ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ he wrote;

“He could smoke more tobacco, drink more Rum-Toddy, Mint-Julep, Gin-Sling and cocktail than any private gentleman of his acquaintance” – years later, all things that are available from SE1’s more cocktail-focused bars such as The Hide on Bermondsey Street.

Although the names may be similar, it’s likely that the modern versions of these drinks are slightly more palatable than their predecessors. The mixed drink originated as a means of masking the harshness of rough, strong spirits made in local pot stills. Indeed Bermondsey had its own share of distilleries in the 1700’s, given its proximity to warehouses containing grain and imported herbs and spices.

These days your Tom Collins at The Hide might still be made using a local gin (Jensen’s Bermondsey Gin, or Jensen’s Old Tom Gin), but it will be a clean and refreshing drink with a modern twist. The creative bartenders here will even tailor the bitters and seasonal fruits to suit your personal taste. The surroundings are fresh and crisp offering a relaxing and ambient aura thus ensures that their frequenters return to experience a piece of history in a modern part of the city.

The Hide Bar
39-45 Bermondsey Street
t: 020 7403 6655
w: www.thehidebar.com

Hide Bar London Cocktail Book

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