Langstrasse is at the heart of Zürich’s party scene. But just off this often-chaotic strip, in a calm side street overlooking a green square, is one of my all-time favourite bars. Central is a cocktail establishment that seats just 45 people on Alvar Aalto stools and chairs. The interior is simple, with wood panelling, low lighting from a hanging lamp designed specifically for the space and just one single piece of art: a neoclassical sculpture of a crouching nude by Delphin Massier Vallauris.
The reason to come here, however, is the expertly made cocktails (from SFr14, about £11). The focus is on classics with a twist, rather than new concoctions. This is where to go for a perfect whisky sour or negroni, blending high-quality spirits with fresh, hand-pressed ingredients to strict recipes, rather than free mixing. My favourite is the New Yorker (about £14), created from bourbon, lime juice and grenadine syrup, served in a short glass with a large ice ball.
For those not in Zürich any time soon, co-owner Kaspar Fenkart and chef de bar Jessica Kollar have created a pre-bottled label, The Cocktail, which enables fans to purchase drinks online. The Aurora (about £55 for 50cl), for example, was made in collaboration with Christian Heiss, mixologist at Zürich’s infamous Kronenhalle Bar, and is a refreshing blend of gin and sake with elderflower, orange blossom, cucumber and lime. A selection of Central’s classic blends are available too.