Whatever your feelings are about milk punch, the clarified, beautiful and subtle technique for making a cocktail, you’ve gotta respect the work.
There’s no “easy” shortcut with milk punch, which involves steeping a variety of ingredients in vats or other large containers before the painfully slow process of straining the mix through cheese cloth to get a clear, silky concoction.
While this may sound like something for a subterranean cocktail den in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, or London’s Shoreditch, it’s actually something happening in a hidden away room of British Airways Concorde Room.
British Airways Cocktail Renaissance
Talking to people after New Years, the subject of wine and headaches is almost unavoidable. I’m rarely a drinker before or during flights for this very reason, but a stop through the Concorde Room made me grant an exception to my own policy.
I’m a sucker for milk punch, and a festively spiced, freshly batched arrival had just been finished, with mince pies offered alongside. The cocktail was exceptionally good.
And yes, it was actually created and batched in the Concorde Room, in a storage room by the same very team serving the drinks in the lounge, making it a uniquely wonderful creation.
Thanks to a relatively new partnership with one of the world’s best bartenders, Mr. Lyan, who has actually previously won the actual title of world’s best before, as well as helming the world’s No.1 bar at the time ‘Dandelyan’ in London, there’s no shortage of other wow factor cocktails here.
Talking to other fellow revelers at the bar, not everyone is willing to give up their Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne for these bold and unique creations, but they have real respect and interest for the process and effort coming into the room.
Few food and beverage options are loved by all, but the work behind bringing mixology level beverages and restaurant quality food to what was once a fairly sleepy and dull ole’ airport lounge is to be seriously admired.
I had a smoked salmon appetizer which was comfortably better than many I’ve paid for in “foodie’ cities around the world, and the pumpkin tortellini in burnt butter and sage was a comforting choice before a long flight.
Though the decor of the Concorde Room remains largely the same, the vibe in there is markedly improved. Staff seem excited about regularly creating new drinks and dishes and there’s more interaction with guests.
First Class Comeback?
For the first time in probably 10+ years, I felt like the Concorde Room was regaining its place as a true “first class” lounge, among the best. It’s retained the “class”, but added a healthy dose of on trend, on point standards for just about everything.
Yes, the loos still need dramatic refurb, but one step at a time, right?
With a rapidly improving ground experience, British Airways somewhat controversial first class is starting to feel like actual value again, and often priced just above business class, like a worthwhile splurge. If the words “value” and first class can ever go hand in hand, it’s starting to feel like it?
On the ground, there’s now a lot to love, and if the positive trend continues to make its way into the air, a first class comeback may slowly be creeping up upon us.