London Calling

This British classic is a relative newcomer - Clinton Cawood bring us its short history.

If there’s a drink that deserves its contemporary classic status, it’s the London Calling, from its timeless proportions and commonly-found ingredients, all the way to its accessible yet complex flavour profile – not to mention its memorable name, in common with the classic album by The Clash.

A Gin Sour at heart, the London Calling crucially introduces fino sherry into the mix, which brings a welcome savoury element to the citrus notes provided by lemon juice and orange bitters, with sugar syrup to bring everything together, served up with a grapefruit twist for garnish.

The drink dates back to 2002, when bartender Chris Jepson, working at Milk & Honey at the time, submitted it to a competition featured in CLASS' sister title Drinks International.

It became a regular presence on Milk & Honey’s menu, and a bartender favourite too, which has led to appearances on cocktail lists the world over in the subsequent two decades.

Some point to a 1930s cocktail with similar ingredients, but Jepson’s drink differs from the Barbara West in a few important ways, the addition of sugar syrup being one of them, placing it more squarely in Gin Sour territory, rather than a Martini with fino and lemon juice.