Oli Dodd catches up with Marcello Cauda, bar manager of Blue Bar at The Berkeley, following the launch of the bar’s first new menu since he took over the reins.

So, Blue Bar has recently launched a new menu, could you talk us through the inspiration behind it?

Having first opened more than 20 years ago, the Blue Bar is steeped in history, and we really wanted to honour that from the get-go, creating something which celebrates music, mixology, and cocktail culture. Music has always been a part of its DNA – we count Madonna as a regular guest.

The menu is called Blue Move and comprises 12 signature cocktails in an array of flavours and style, showcased on the menu from the lightest to the heaviest drinks. Even the physical menu nods to the design of the mirrors on the walls, whilst also mimicking a vinyl sleeve to reflect the bar’s music credentials.

You’ve been in your role at Blue Bar for a little under a year, how’s your experience been so far?

I feel very blessed every day I walk into The Berkeley – it is a pleasure to work alongside such inspiring people who share my love for hospitality and the drinks industry. I was immediately drawn to the Blue Bar as it’s always had a stellar reputation for innovation and unique menu concepts. I felt I could bring creativity to the role, and I’m very pleased with the work we as a team have achieved in under a year. This is just the beginning of a long journey.

Are any of the new drinks becoming favourites among guests?

The response has been wonderful – both from our regulars and new guests, which is so great to see.

On the drinks, the most popular right now is our Nitromisu – a chocolatey and nutty highball cocktail that is inspired by the flavours of tiramisu. We’ve worked with The Odd Coffee Company, a super-sustainable coffee company that grew during the pandemic. We infuse the coffee for 24 hours with Macallan 12 Double Oak and Bacardi blend, carob, vanilla, marsala, hazelnut and Cadello 88, and then put it through the nitro and serve it in a shorter highball glass.

When its hot outside the go-to favourite is our Side by Side cocktail, a Sangria-style tequila-based drink which cleverly showcases peach in three ways - using a peach aperitif, a peach liqueur and finally garnished with a Japanese wakamomo peach. 

How important is it for hotel bars to continue to innovate and deliver given the expectations of guests and the cost associated with drinking in them?

Working at hotel bars in London is a privilege. Often it can be hard to differentiate yourself from others but with the right team and resources, you can create something truly unique and memorable. Every single detail needs to be considered – you can not only focus on the signature cocktails. The service is just as important, making sure everyone is having the best possible experience.

At the Blue Bar, our glass pavilion is now dedicated to exclusive vinyl-only sets which DJs will provide every Thursday to Saturday evening. We wanted to offer an elevated experience, given the expectations of our guests. The response has been overwhelmingly positive – people love it.