Journey Into The World of NoMad Cocktails at NoMad Hotel London

So this is not a ‘here are your ingredients, now go and make something, or a ‘here’s how I made this, now you try’. No, this cocktail experience was a bespoke meander down drinks memory lane with an in depth conversation, almost as a therapy session, with cocktail connoisseur Liana Oster, Director of Drinks at NoMad Hotel, London.

If Netflix did Bar’s Table in the style of Chef’s Table, Liana would be top of my call list. With her international family roots, hailing from near Melbourne, Australia, she headed to New York helping Caffé Dante win World’s Best Bar Award in 2019 and now we are lucky to have her at the stylish, buzzy boutique NoMad Hotel in Covent Garden.

Stepping in off the street, into what was once Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, being greeted eagerly by the good looking staff and seated at a power table in the guests only Library we could see the ebb and flow of the lobby. The ghosts of Oscar Wilde, Casanova and Emmeline Pankhurst floating across in these correctional corridors and atrium spaces. Banged up here today you’d never be bored with so many interesting-looking books, art objets, all beautifully lit with exceedingly comfortable chairs and perfectly plumped velvet cushions. Not to mention some of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted. No wonder we stayed so long.

Interesting reading in the Library, NoMad Hotel London

Our cocktail therapist, sorry director of cocktails, Liana Oster is a butterball of sunshine. Immediately putting us at ease, and telling us the NoMad philosophy of making us feel as though we are at home. We weren’t sure what to expect but three hours later we came out refreshed and joyful and ready to ditch the gin and tonics for a completely different cocktail trajectory. This is a walk through the world of NoMad cocktails with some fascinating technical asides. Whether it’s a masterclass or a simple introduction this journey is made for you – you even get handwritten recipe cards of your drinks. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, it’ll be one of the best of your life.

If you want to get the party started then this no brainer Walter Gibson will get you there – a huge cocktail in a bespoke glass (for two), a riff on the classic Gibson of gin and pickles. This time with Old Raj and Boatyard gins, Viognier,  eau de vie Poire Williams and pickled ‘ghost peppers’ from Peru – not something I’d ever thought I’d write. The drink is poured from a bottle which is wrapped inside with a coating of bright yellow bees wax – it changes the texture of the mix apparently – and it’s this level of detail for a cocktail fan like me, seals the deal. We have arrived at the first stop of a magical cocktail journey.

Getting the party started with a Walter Gibson cocktail and small side of pickles.

So how about my go-to Negroni? Now it’s a sensory experience with the scent of cold brew coffee on the surface drawing you in to refreshing coconut water with a subtle hint of spicy pandan leaf. It was definitely a negroni, but then something totally novel.

Listening to our adventures in Bermuda, Liana has a take on the classic Dark ‘n Stormy with our favourite Gosling’s Rum – it’s called Jungle Bird and made with rums, Campari, date molasses and pineapple. With these sweet tropical tastes shifitng us and north Atlantic Bermuda thousands of miles south into the Caribbean.

After blabbering on about martini glasses spilling onto crowded dance floors, so much so that I’d only drink cosmopolitans on the rocks to preserve every precious drop, Liana brought us a Clearly Cosmo, a dramatic take on my ’90s staple. Concocted with cranberry, Amontillado Sherry, chai infused Cochi Torino vermouth and super deluxe Absolut Elyx, it’s made crystal clear by clarifying the mix with milk and lime in the manner of a consommé. It’s so staggeringly delicious that I was sorry to have given them up after my disco bunny days. The huge ice cube with the NoMad stamp is a wonder to behold, keeping the clear pink liquid chilled to perfection. I could feel my feet itching to dance.

Clearly Cosmo will get you back on the dance floor.

We had come with a specific cocktail in mind for a party we are hosting, something Scottish. So our final cocktail is a Rob Roy, that in one sip transported me to a leather armchair in a Scottish castle in front of a peaty fire. The thin stemmed Nick and Nora-style glasses brimmed with golden whisky mellowness, speared with a blood red cherry.

Liana has a wonderful warm way about her, an expert listener, a great cocktail creative and the evening was a wonderful experience. This is the kind of therapy that I’d book more sessions for…

the end of a wonderful experience at the NoMad


28 Bow St
London, WC2E 7AW
+44 (0)20 3906 1600