As the big day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding approaches, bartenders have been coming up with ideas for how to celebrate.
At The Savoy in London, The American Bar is maintaining the hotel’s tradition of creating a new cocktail to mark milestones in the royal family’s history. For May’s wedding, the hotel’s bar team have created The Royal Welcome (pictured below), a light and aromatic blend of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, Bombay Sapphire gin, champagne syrup, yuzu, Peychaud’s Bitters and English sparkling wine. It is available throughout May along with The Royal Flight – three cocktails created for previous royal weddings. They include the Wedding Bells, inspired by the Queen’s wedding to Prince Philip, made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, orange bitters, dry orange curaçao and Cocchi Americano.
Italian restaurant and bar Ritorno in Chelsea in London has put five cocktails (pictured top) on the menu for the wedding, available until May 19. Created by head bartender Simone Francini and the bar team, they include The Prince & the Showgirl, made with Stolichnaya vodka, ginger liqueur, Liquore delle Sirene bitter and Cocchi Americano Rosa, based on Prince Harry’s past record of enjoying vodka and reports that Meghan likes a Negroni. The royal family inspire other drinks such as the Queen Mother’s Tipple, mixing VII Hills Italian Dry Gin, Contratto Rosso vermouth, maraschino liqueur, Angostura Bitters and English breakfast tea. “As well as marking the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, I wanted to celebrate the whole royal family,” Simone explains, “so I have delved into many books and biographies to find out not just what drinks they liked, but also foods and traditions with relevance to them. Then with our bar team I thought about how we could translate these into cocktails, using our favourite Italian speciality liquors and bitters.”
As part of a Royal Wedding Celebration Package for romantic weekenders at One Aldwych hotel in London, the Lobby Bar’s team have created the floral and fruity Royal Cup Cocktail (pictured above). This combines gin, elderflower liqueur and house-made bergamot and camomile syrup, topped with Perrier-Jouët Champagne and gold leaf.
In Cambridge, The Varsity Hotel & Spa is offering a special cocktail exclusively on the day of the wedding, May 19, in its Six Brasserie and River Bar Steakhouse & Grill. The pale blue Markle Sparkle pays homage to the couple’s lemon and elderflower wedding cake, combining pear vodka with lemon juice, elderflower cordial, blue curaçao and prosecco, served with a glittery sprig of thyme.
A drink dedicated to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, remains a popular fixture on the menu at Rules in London’s Covent Garden since her wedding seven years ago. It is very refreshing and full of floral flavour, made with gin, lemon juice and a powder of crystalised violet petals, which turns it light purple. The bar team have now created a new cocktail to mark Meghan and Harry’s wedding, the Meghan Markle Royal 19 (pictured above). “We were looking for a champagne cocktail as it’s for a celebration,” explains bar manager Mike Walker. “We also wanted to tie this drink to its Kate Middleton counterpart and then perhaps an American influence on the ingredients. With this in mind we have brought out some of the more floral and delicate flavours of the Maker’s Mark bourbon with a violet liqueur and a rose champagne reduction. We produce the reduction here at Rules with the help of our pastry chef. This is all finished with a drop of cherry bitters and a single maraschino cherry as a garnish served in a champagne coupe. The Meghan ends up a delicate and balanced drink with a touch of floral sweetness.”
Meghan Markle Royal 19
25ml Maker’s Mark bourbon
15ml Rose champagne reduction
10ml Miclo Violet Liqueur
1 drop Cherry bitters
Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Champagne
Stir the first four ingredients over ice and pour into a frozen champagne coupe. Top with champagne and garnish with a single maraschino cherry.