Artesian at the Langham: Can a cocktail menu really simulate memory?

Gentleman's Journal head to Marylebone for an alcoholic odyssey...

Much like its predecessors ‘LOL’ and, worst of all ‘IRL’, the hashtag #thatmomentwhen has somehow made the transition from our screen keyboards into common parlance. In fact, the phrase is now so widely used that it has provided the inspiration behind Artesian at the Langham‘s ‘Moments’ cocktail menu.

The menu is the brainchild of head bartender Remy Savage and bar manager Anna Sebastian, who were given the unenviable task of reimagining the bar, following its dramatic fall from the top spot on the ‘World’s Best Bar’ list in 2016.

Their masterstroke came with the concept to design a menu that evoked the most significant memories human beings possess. What followed was a widespread public poll, to determine what those memories might taste like. The result is a menu of 17 drinks, with concoctions so deftly put together to provide tasting portals, that any accusations of gimmickry are swiftly clapped back.

Gentleman’s Journal headed to the bar famously housed at The Langham in Marylebone, to discover whether a drinks menu really can prove itself to be a time capsule.

In a nutshell?

An award-winning bar shakes up their menu to offer an alcoholic odyssey, with cocktails designed to taste like the most significant moments of human life. We encourage you to read on with an open mind…

What's the occasion?

Given the nature of this singularly nostalgic cocktail menu, paired with David Collins’ romantic interiors, the Artesian at the Langham might just be the best spot in London right now to celebrate a significant milestone or anniversary.

The bar is possibly better suited to a romantic evening for two, as opposed to a rowdier gathering, given the intimacy of the space.

Artesian at the Langham: Can a cocktail menu really simulate memory?
'...You Fell in Love' cocktail

What’s the vibe?

Leather-lined, striking interiors combine Oriental elements with Victorian romance, and staff greet you with all the friendliness and familiarity reserved exclusively in most establishments for regulars.

The masterful effect here, is that you simultaneously feel as though you could be amongst all the glamour of one of Jay Gatsby’s soirees, whilst also feeling as though you’ve simply made a trip to your local.

What should I be drinking?

The cocktails are so incredibly diverse, that no matter which alcohol is your preferred base ingredient, there is a drink on the menu to satisfy.  We would, however, strongly encourage experimentation, since the menu is nothing less than an immersive experience – and, quite frankly, you can get a good G&T anywhere.

At least once, you must try the first cocktail on the menu ‘..It All Began’. With a scent quite literally curated to simulate the sensation of human skin (it’s even weirder than it sounds), this cocktail arrives on a plate as five liquid balls wrapped in a type of membrane.

Artesian at the Langham: Can a cocktail menu really simulate memory?
'...It All Began' cocktail

Garnished with different herbs, this cocktail might just as easily have been entitled ‘…You Ate Your First Oyster’, because there is quite simply no elegant way to get your mouth about these.

Whilst delicious, as we drank our way through the menu, we were unconvinced that the cocktails really were recalling the intended memories. For some, sure, perhaps the combination of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Pear Perrier-Jouët Champagne and Le Coeur De Jade really would recall the time you had your first child. However, others might be quicker to pinpoint notes of Crayola and Playdough as the best ingredients to serve this purpose.

We were swiftly re-immersed in the concept however, as we tasted ‘…You Rode Your First Bike’, which comes with an accompanying ball of iron sorbet, to simulate the taste of the blood as though you had fallen onto gravel.

The most accurate transportation however came with ‘…Your Heart Was Broken’, laced with the all-too-familiar flavours of bitter chocolate and alcohol strong enough to have you making ill-advised phone calls to your ex at 2am.

If you’re planning to drown your lovesick sorrows, a sip of this will reassure you of the universality of your experience. And have you making some terrible decisions.

Artesian at the Langham: Can a cocktail menu really simulate memory?
'...You First Rode A Bike'

Price for two?

An evening at the Artesian can best be summarised in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “here’s to alcohol, the rose coloured glasses of life”.

For a couple of cocktails each, and a selection of (unbelievably good) bar snacks, expect to pay £90.

Artesian at the Langham: Can a cocktail menu really simulate memory?

Artesian at the Langham, London

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