Our signature cocktail at The Egerton, the martini, has come to be one of the most celebrated features of our five-star hotel, earning us the reputation as one of the best martini bars in London. To uncover the secrets behind our success, we spoke to Head Barman, Sahbi Zguider, who uncovers the intricacies that sets our martinis apart.

Can you tell us about the history of the martini and how this is reflected in the martinis at The Egerton?

The martini is one of the most famous and popular cocktails, and in the near twenty years since our opening, has become a keystone in The Egerton’s reputation. The drink was first introduced in the late nineteenth century around 1860, and was made using red vermouth, gin, and cherry syrup. The Classic Martini is an extra dry version of the drink, established in approximately 1902. It is made using gin and vermouth, with the gin being stirred over the vermouth. Another popular variation is the shaken martini, which came into fruition after its feature in the James Bond movies. Unlike this Bond classic, The Egerton’s martinis are not shaken or stirred; they are frozen.

What is the process of building the perfect martini at The Egerton? And what is the Egerton Slurp?

At The Egerton, we freeze our ingredients to ensure the most optimum flavour. Both the gin and vodka are frozen at -22 degrees Celsius, whilst the martini glass too is frozen. This helps protect that exquisite flavour and texture.

The Egerton martini however, whichever variation you try, is an experience not just a drink. This is key in ensuring the perfection of our craft. With the ingredients displayed on the trolley, we curate the perfect martini right in front of our guests whilst they relax in either our Bar or Drawing Room. Each time, this experience is met with enthusiasm and excitement that helps build that magical moment.

The Egerton Slurp stems from how we pour our martinis so that they have an infinity edge. Because of this, there is only one way to take that first delectable sip – to slurp it right from the glass.

I understand you use a lot of innovative and creative flavours in your shaken martinis. Where does the inspiration for these flavours come from?

Alongside the classics, we offer four flavoured shaken martinis at The Egerton: lychee, passionfruit, cherry, and pomegranate. The syrups used to create these martinis are all ethically sourced from my family farm in Tunisia, where they are also distilled. They are then infused with either rose water, blood orange water, or vanilla, which we also source from my home and farm.

By creating our own syrups rather than sourcing them externally, we can ensure that we not only use the finest ingredients - confirmed by their delicious flavour - but that we have complete oversight over the entire production process. This helps is to cut our carbon footprint and ensure that the ingredients are sourced in a manner that protects the natural environment, in keeping with the focus on sustainability that sits at the heart of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, but ethically also.

Do you have a favourite on the menu right now, and can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming cocktails on the menu?

My favourite martini is the Vesper Martini, which was coined in the James Bond movie, Casino Royal. It is made using three dashes of Lillet Blanc, one third of vodka, and two thirds of gin, accompanied by a lemon twist. Here, we make it using an orange twist, an adaptation that has proved incredibly popular at The Egerton.

We also have a festive martini coming soon which will offer a seasonal twist on our classic martini. This flavour will come from the gin that we will use, which is infused with cinnamon and spices. It is the perfect wintery drink that still maintains that martini elegance.