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The burning question: is the charcoal cocktail here to stay?

As the trend for smoked foods gathers pace, bartenders have followed suite by using charcoal as an exciting new ingredient for cocktails.

Corporate types have always liked their charcoal colours of blacks, greys and chromes and so on. But, how will it go down with cocktail aficionados?

The new charcoal cocktail trend isn’t just uber-cool – it’s tasty too. The charcoal gives the drink a matte black sophisticated finish but brings the bitter yet smoky flavour. It’s not to everyone’s taste but try it before you judge it.

The joys don’t stop there. Charcoal itself is an ancient Chinese medicine, and used as a natural healing aid and stomach pain reliever. It is also thought to cure hangovers so it may be worth the extra pound or two so you can get up right as rain after that corporate event or boozy catch up.

Where to taste it in London?

One of the first bars to champion charcoal in cocktails was the Artesian at The Langham, voted the world’s best bar for the last two years in a row.

Their Dream Within A Dream cocktail blends Pisco, Suze, guava juice, citrus and vegetable ash seasoned with salt and sugar, which is sprinkled around the rim of a Champagne flute and mixed with edible glitter to make the glass sparkle in the light.

Momo, Heddon Street, nodded to the fashion with their Inked Daiquri, made with Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, lime, noisette and demerara charcoal, which adds a hint of smoke on the finish.

Over on Shoreditch High Street, the Bull in a China Shop has embraced the trend with serves including the Chamomile and Charcoal Old Fashioned (and charcoal brioche buns with their burgers). They’ve also put a twist on cocktails by using a Chinese bourbon based cocktail instead of the usual American bourbon. This gives the drink a little more of a fruity flavour whilst still being able to maintain the charcoal aromas. 

The nights in the bar districts of London will never be the same again.

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