Perhaps the intimate size of The Blue Bar — just 50 seats — helped make it London’s hottest, most sophisticated watering hole. The Blue Bar draws the kind of professional Brits who look quite comfortable striding across the black crocodile-print embossed leather floor, lounging on the lilac, leather chairs, and leaning against the white, onyx bar. Most sip the bar’s signature cocktail, the Lutyens Gimlet
, concocted by bar manager Niall Cowan and named after the architect who did the woodcarvings here. The original gimlet of gin and lime juice derives its name from the gimlet boring tool used to puncture the kegs of lime juice. Cowan substitutes Grey Goose Vodka for the gin, not unlike another Brit — 007 — who replaced gin with vodka in his martini. Belly up to The Blue Bar in the posh Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge (Wilton Place; 011-44-207-235-6000; www.savoygroup.co.uk
) or concoct this classic at home. LUTYENS GIMLET
In a large mixing glass filled with ice cubes pour 1 ounce Roses lime cordial and 3 ounces Grey Goose Vodka. While stirring, slowly add the juice of 11/2 fresh limes. Shake until very cold and strain into a frozen cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lime, spraying the lime oils of the skin over the drink prior to dropping the twist into the cocktail.