Hilton London Tower Bridge, 5 Tooley Street, London SE1 2SY www.tworuba.com
Danielle Woodward steps out for after-work cocktails and discovers a cosy, friendly location near London Bridge
There’s something special Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and a bit indulgent Ã¢â‚¬â€œ about sharing midweek cocktails with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. After a long day at work, we joined a noisy crowd of office workers obviously celebrating something important, quieter couples and groups of friends and even a family with a tiny newborn baby out for the evening, in the cosy TwoRuba bar. We sat in the type of lounge chairs that invite you sink into them while still keeping you upright (important when you’ve had a few tipples), and we soon forgot about the daily stresses and focused on catching up and sampling some delicious cocktails.
We were there in time to try the Apothecary range for the start of 2016, where “health is inspired by history” with cocktails designed to target common winter ailments from colds to sore throats. There were four choices, whose titles were puns in the best tradition of cocktail-naming. I hesitated over the All Berry Well just because I loved the description: “vodka, acai berry juice, lemon juice and bitters creating a libation as virtuous as the Virgin Mary… nearly”.
But I opted for Right On Thyme: orange and lemon juice with gin, thyme essence and topped with egg white foam – a nice dose of vitamin C with the perfect warmth of gin and hint of herby thyme. Sore throat begone! My friend chose Eucan Do It: one to help you breathe easy with eucalyptus, black pepper, kiwi, lime, mint, agave syrup and vodka, it was zingy and fresh like a cool, zesty cough-candy sweet.
If you’re feeling peckish, there’s a wide choice of “bar nibbles” thanks to Jamie’s Italian next door, ranging from foccaccia garlic bread and Italian nachos to crab arancini and antipasti sharing plates. As for cocktails, it was time for our second choice. There’s lots of wine on the menu, as well as champagne from Pommery Brut Royal NV for £65 to the Dom Perignon for £145, and champagne cocktails, but we were drawn to the Ruba Signature list.
Creative names such as Smoking In 1815 (cherry-infused Johnnie Walker, Lagavulin and cinnamon sugar) and Got Moustache? (dalmore whiskey, creme de cacao, amaretto foam, egg white and sugar syrup) kept us browsing for a while before we decided what to try.
I went for the Tihi Madness (Sailor Jerry spiced rum, banana liqueur, lime, passion fruit and mango juices), which came in a striking Easter Island-style tumbler. Taking a sip, I was hit by the fruity sweetness – all I was missing to go with it was the tropical beach and 30-degree heat. My friend tried it and said it tasted like Fruit Salad chewy sweets!
She opted for the Rubito (mint, London gin, St Germain, raspberry puree and ginger ale), and it was definitely a classy choice. Fresh and fruity with ginger and mint warming the palate, it was a delicious take on the classic mojito.
The danger with cocktails is that they are perilously easy to drink so, as it was a school night and we were both far too sensible for our own good, we decided to call it a night. The music in the bar was beginning to get slightly heavier on the base too, although it was still at just the right volume to enable a conversation without shouting. A great location for a relaxed meet-up or livelier get-together, I’m already planning my return to TwoRuba to work my way through the rest of the cocktail menu!