Part of the plan for my birthday celebrations was to head into London early, have a wander about and then a nice drink before going to dinner. The weather, however, failed to comply. It was drizzly and squally to the point that there was more rain under my umbrella than above it. So much for the carefully-constructed hairdo. And so much for the planned wander about. There was nothing for it but to have two nice drinks before going to dinner.
As we were in Soho, my first thought was Bob Bob Ricard. Alas, they don't open until 6pm.
The backup plan was Bar Américain. I was pretty sure that at 5.00pm on a Friday we'd be able to get a table and have a civilised drink, without being bombarded by hoi polloi and drunken media types. When I've been there before it's been quite busy, but that has been late in the evening. We were given our choice of tables, so we tucked ourselves in a quiet corner.
I had a Spritz Américain - a lovely citrussy bubbly concoction, let down by far too much ice, which kept getting up my nose because I couldn't figure out how to drink it elegantly. Paul had a ZL Cobbler - Grand Marnier, calvados and fruity things, also with way too much ice. We shared some fried mushrooms.
For his second drink, Paul had a Sazerac which contained no ice at all, and was quite hard going. My second drink (again, despite too much ice) was the best of the four, an Old Fashioned. I think the Old Fashioned may become my cocktail of choice if ever I am in an environment where a gin & tonic isn't the answer.