The Dorchester Collection’s divine drinks

First-class wine tastings and cracking cocktails

Intoxicating news from The Dorchester Collection. First, five fashionable new cocktails have been created by Dorchester Collection mixologists. Available from September 6 to October 3 – at the group’s 45 Park Lane in London, Hotel Principe de Savoia in Milan, Le Richemond in Geneva and Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris – the cocktails are inspired by the designers who have been shortlisted for the 2012 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize.

The vibrant orange Milanese Calla-pirinha (second from right in picture) with cinnamon stick, saffron and limes pays homage to Calla Haynes’s colourful collection. IRM Design’s experimental take on fashion is reflected in the IRM Cocktail (centre in picture) of rum, sake and vodka, which is presented with three pipettes containing iris, rose and mint essences – when added to the alcohol, these emulate IRM’s “running paint” motif. Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul’s sophisticated work is summed up by a Black Velvet tequila cocktail (second from left in picture) with blackberries, thyme honey, crème de cassis and lime juice. Quentin Veron’s 1920s-influenced work inspired a Black Southside (far left in picture) of gin, blackberries and cherry syrup; and Les Garçons’ black collection has brought about Nuit Noire (far right in picture), a blueberry vodka with blackberry liqueur.

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This quintet of drinks is very much in the spirit of things during the September/October fashion weeks. (The winner of the €30,000 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize will be chosen by a panel of judges including Kenzo Takada, Bruno Frisoni, Nathalie Rykiel and Lorenz Baumer, and announced on October 16.)

The second development is at The Dorchester in London itself, where the three-Michelin-star Alain Ducasse restaurant is not only offering diners a chance to taste five of its finest French Grand Crus, showcasing a different producer each month, but also allowing them to be sampled in a smaller measure than usual – a 37.5cl carafe created by head sommelier Gerard Margeon – at either lunch or dinner. Currently on offer by the glass (£25), carafe (£75) and bottle (£150) is the 1999 Domaine de Chevalier red (which Robert Parker calls “a classic, finesse-styled Graves”) and 2009 white (to which Parker awarded 95+ points).

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On October 23, the offering changes to Pontet Canet. For the full experience, How To Spend It readers will relish the chance to meet Alfred Tesseron, who owns and runs the estate, which is located in the heart of the Pauillac appellation and grows mainly Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This is the second in a series of exclusive “meet the owners” wine-tasting dinners at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (the next will be in February, with an as-yet-unannounced producer). Head chef Jocelyn Herland’s bespoke menu will be served in the private dining rooms or in Salon Park Lane, where guests will be talked through the first-class vintages, some of which have never been offered in the UK. Book early to avoid missing out on a rare opportunity.

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