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Friday, 31 January 2014

The Whip, Mayfair

("Whip it! Whip it good.") 

The theme at this new cocktail spot above The Running Horse, a handsome Georgian tavern in Mayfair, is the Kentucky Derby circa that State’s most famous racehorse, Seabiscuit. Yes, I do know Seabiscuit never ran in America's most prestigious race: having once correctly answered 19 out of 20 pub quiz questions about horse races - much to the incredulity of Frank Skinner and Jonathon Ross on an opposing team - I'm a bit of a gee-gee fancier - and not in a Catherine The Great kind of way. A past relationship with a native Kentuckian also left me with a taste for the South's signature drink, the julep - as sipped by Scarlett O'Hara, if not Rhett Butler, a straight whiskey fan and a man after my own heart who was prone to declare 'I'm very drunk and I intend on getting still drunker before this evening's over.' Of the seven advertised juleps here - whipped up by Peaky Blinder bartenders and served, comme il faut, through strainers in pewter cups - the bookies’ favourite is rye and raspberry. The rhubarb vodka version is a good each-way bet, but I'm not about to stake £10 stake on gin julep. Having had a sip of my mate's, I conclude it's lame. TBH I'd rather snog Clare Balding - not that she'd be up for it, I imagine. If your two lips don't do juleps, there's sours, fizzes, flips slings and tings built on a savvily edited range of premium spirits that includes citrussexy Navy Strength gin, Perry’s Tot. The Whip - like the Running Horse below, since autumn 2013 - is owned by James Chase of Chase Distillery and  Dominic Jacobs, a former bar director at Sketch. In a slow week for launches, it's my favourite newbie and although it's early doors, expect to find yourself jockeying for position at its bar by Grand National day.  
The Running Horse, 50 Davies Street, W1K 5JE 7493 1275