If they were handing out awards to companies who enhance the drinking experience outside of the tried-and-tested arenas – you know, bars, hotels, restaurants, pop-ups etc – Virgin Atlantic would be top of the pile, no question. The sexy 14 metre-long bar in its Heathrow Terminal 3 Clubhouse (below) is reason enough for that. But there’s more. This isn’t simply a case of cool design and bold statements, the VA drinks offering delivers on every front.
That bar… 14 metres of pure perfection at the Heathrow Clubhouse
Let’s start with that bar… Who cares that your complimentary Classic Dry Martini, or signature Virgin Redhead hasn’t been mixed by a hipster bartender? You can bet your booty that at some point the good folk here, supported by Bacardí Global Travel Retail, will have been trained by one, (well, maybe not an actual hipster but someone who definitely knows their stuff…) The learning part is a big thing for Bacardí and Mark Murphy, Manager of Global Clubhouse Food & Beverage. In addition to ensuring the team are fully versed on cocktails 101, both parties have made it their mission to surprise and delight Upper Class and Flying Club Gold passengers with new and exciting innovations.
Upstairs in the light-filled mezzanine
The Five Up season earlier this year is a case in point. Here’s where Virgin Atlantic high fliers were invited to shrug off the stresses of everyday life by stepping up to the mezzanine for a sip of escapism – we’re talking cocktails of the highest order created by five of the best bars in the world. No joke. Each week Terminal 3 became a veritable hothouse of bartending talent with the crew from Quinary in Hong Kong, hinoki & the bird in Los Angeles, Employees Only in New York and Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco taking over the light-filled space and injecting it with the mood and culture of their respective cities. Of course, great drinks came as part of the package with the bars devising a bespoke menu for Clubhouse guests created with Grey Goose Vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin and Bacardí Carta Blanca rum at their heart.
Five Up: Dev Johnson brings the taste of Employees Only NYC to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow
Award-winning London bar Dandelyan were also in the mix. As they should be, Murphy has cleverly collaborated with them to produce four travel and botany inspired cocktails that will be available exclusively to Heathrow Clubhouse guests throughout the year. Talk about sippable stunners, theres nothing remotely economy about the gems on this list: take your pick from Century Fizz (Grey Goose Le Poire, hibiscus, toasted wheat, celery and Jenkyn Place Brut English Sparkling); Laverstoke Old Fashioned (Bombay Sapphire gin, burnt honey and Dandelyan Garden Bitters); Pinnacle Point Fizz (Patrón Blanco, nixtamalized blue corn, sloe, ginger bitter, sour pineapple and soda), and Diamond Daisy (Bacardí Carta Blanca, Riesling, pandas, cavolo nero and lime).
If that little lot doesn’t show you that Virgin Atlantic mean serious business on the drinks front we don’t know what does. Buckle in though, there’s more where that came from. We’ll be revealing all manner of fab partnerships coming to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in Gatwick, Heathrow, JFK, Newark, Washington, Boston, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Los Angeles in 2017. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone but we’ve just heard that Smuggler’s Cove, number 29 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list no less, have just signed up for the San Francisco outpost – the upcoming announcements are equally exciting. Trust us, you won’t want to fly with anyone else.
For more information and to book flights see virgin-atlantic.com