Often times, you enter a hotel or restaurant with no knowledge of its significance on history. With some properties dating back centuries, the style, kitchen and bar menus of many properties directly reflect an essence from a different era. Right now, we’re specifically toasting to the latter. Star-Rated hotels in the following four global cities offer different cocktails, wines and champagnes that tip their hats to past tipples without alienating today’s clientele.
At the 195-room Regent Berlin, martinis are prepared — shaken or stirred — on the hotel’s roving martini trolley, harking back to an aristocratic air from the time the drink was created in the 1850s. You can order one prepared tableside in the hotel’s restaurant, Fischers Fritz, or in the Regent Bar. The trolley is stocked with six types of gin (you can also have your martini made with vodka), including Old Tom made in Germany. Regent Berlin boasts the only martini trolley on the European mainland (Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Connaught, in London, also has a martini trolley). Trolley-made martinis are quaffed from crystal glasses from Arnstadt Kristall.
To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Le Bristol Paris is serving a special cocktail crafted by its head barman Maxime Hoerth. Inspired by the Roaring Twenties, it combines a masculine Old Fashioned with a champagne cocktail. The result is a smooth drink with 30-year-old XO Eugenie cognac, bitter licorice, tangerine and syrup made with tobacco leaf-infused Grand Cru champagne. Gussied up with dried tobacco leaves and cherries marinated in Dubonnet and Byrrh, the cocktail is served in an Art Deco-inspired crystal highball glass designed by Benjamin Auzier exclusively for the hotel’s anniversary.
Guests staying at the iconic Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris can taste their way through the hotel’s fabled wine cellar in the company of Eric Beaumard, sommelier and restaurant director of Le Cinq. The cellar for the 1928-built property houses more than 50,000 bottles, and every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Beaumard leads complimentary tastings of reds, whites and champagne. Bottles are stocked from major wine regions worldwide, so as you munch on pastries, charcuterie and cheese, you’ll sip vino from South Africa, Chile, Hungary and Argentina as well as vintages from within French regions like Bourgogne, Bordeaux and Rhône Valley.
The Long Bar at Five-Star Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund predates the hotel itself. When this handsome six-story Baroque Revival structure opened as the Shanghai Club Building in the early 1900s, it was the most exclusive men’s club in the city. On the then-second floor was a 111-foot, mahogany bar that was, at the time, the world’s longest. The building was in shambles when Waldorf took over in 2009, but the property was painstakingly renovated; the bar was fully repaired and, today, looks almost exactly as it did a century ago. The tipple to taste here is one of the hotel’s signatures: the Shanghai Club (gin, goji berry liqueur, raspberry and almond sugar, lemon and egg white).
Fans of the children’s book series Madeline will be delighted by the walls at Four-Star The Carlyle’s Bemelmans Bar, so named for Madeline author-illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans may be best known for the Parisian schoolgirls depicted in the books, but he also illustrated for The New Yorker, Vogue and Town and Country. In 1947, in exchange for a year and a half’s accommodations at The Carlyle, Bemelmans turned the bar’s walls and table lamps into canvases so delightful you’ll want to bring your child in for a peek before the bar snacks and live entertainment get going in the afternoon. Drink to the late, great artist with The Ludwig (Hennessy V.S., simple syrup, lime juice and champagne).