Why would a bar in central London be serving a cocktail named after Cox & Kings?
The answer is because the luxurious Sofitel St James Hotel resides in what was originally the Cox’s & King’s bank on the corner of London’s Pall Mall and Waterloo Place, and the hotel has chosen to celebrate that heritage with the creation of a unique drink.
The hotel’s recently refurbished Balcon restaurant is reminiscent of the 1920s and it is here that Sofitel has honoured the Cox & Kings legacy by creating a ‘vintage’ cocktail in the company’s name. The cocktail is infused with Darjeeling tea, reflecting the prominent India links in the history of Cox & Kings. The Balcon, and the St James’ bar, are open between 8am and midnight if you want to try it for yourself, alternatively you can make one at home with the recipe below.
How to make a Cox & Kings:
Served shaken in a vintage glass
50ml Darjeeling infused Tanqueray
40ml Pink grapefruit
10ml of gomme syrup
20ml egg white
In 1923 Cox & Co moved to newly-built and very grand headquarters on Pall Mall. It was the grandest bank in London at the time. Shortly afterwards the company merged with Henry S. King & Co (another bank and India agency), creating Cox’s & King’s, which was subsequently bought up by Lloyds Bank. The shipping and travel agency division of Cox’s & King’s company was split off as a separate company (Cox & Kings Agency– losing its apostrophes), which evolved into the modern day tour operator. The bank became the Cox’s & King’s branch of Lloyds Bank and remained in the building for almost eighty years. Just over ten years ago Lloyds sold the property to Sofitel, who since have transformed the Grade II listed building into the Sofitel St James.
Throughout the hotel there are banking artefacts left over from the building’s days as a bank such as weighing scales and metal presses. The high ceilings, huge windows and marble walls have been retained, along with paintings featuring the cockerel that was the logo of Cox & Co. bank. In the lobby, a prominent glass panel is engraved with the history of the building, detailing the evolution from Cox & Co. bank to its recent reincarnation as a hotel.
Read more about the history of Cox & Kings here.