There are, I would say, 6 people on this earth who truly know what I'm like and what I like and my friend Sam is one of them. That's why she knew to email me when she saw a Groupon deal for a gin cocktail and afternoon tea.
I have mixed feelings about Groupon and these types of sites (Livingsocial, wowcher, etc). The premise is great although I'm concerned it's encouraging a culture of expecting last minute deals all the time. We will never learn to get used to paying full price for things and as someone who works in marketing this is obviously important to me! However, it is a great way to do something I might never have thought about doing before. I bought a voucher to go horse riding in the summer (with Sam) and (with Sam!) we're going on a hat making course next year.
Anyway, the gin cocktail and afternoon tea at 140 Park Lane restaurant, W1K 7AA (http://www.140parklane.co.uk/). What an absolutely winning concept. With afternoon tea places cropping up all over the place, it's hard to know the difference between them are and why you should choose one over the other. I don't like wine or champagne which are standard for an alcoholic afternoon tea but cocktails, for me, makes sense and especially a gin cocktail afternoon tea.
The deal was a gin cocktail on arrival with a tea and then the standard 3 tier stand full of delightful treats. We both ordered the Hendrick's Elderflower martini cocktail. The name of their cocktails were as original as the name of the restaurant but certainly to the point. This had Hendrick's gin (I almost felt embarrassed writing that), St Germain liqueur (an elderflower liqueur), lychee juice, lemon and cucumber. Lychee with gin in cocktails is without a doubt my favourite partnership and it helped give the edge of an otherwise standard partnership of Hendrick's and cucumber. As the photo suggests, the drink was served in a teapot. When the waiter came over and started pouring it into the somewhat standard tumbler, I was a little confused. As someone who is becoming regularly used to drinking martinis in...martini glasses, this was a huge oversight and knocked off an overwise potential perfect score for the drink. It was light and refreshing and considering we were drinking this at 3pm in the afternoon, didn't make me feel like a raging alcoholic.
I'm not entirely sure what the discount was as the website doesn't actually give an option of a gin cocktail afternoon tea so perhaps it was a one-off but I thought it was a nice place, which was to be expected when part of the Marriott hotel group, and considering it's location near the shops around Marble Arch, a nice place to go with girlfriends.
Later on, we went to Carom because I had to introduce Sam to my favourite lychee and rose-petal-tini drink. Was going to try something else after that but was so good we had another one. However I will persevere on and see if I can ever find a drink that can match it or even top it.