Not far from Highbury & Islington station on a road leading away from Upper Street is The Four Sisters, a intimate, sexy cocktail bar perfect for date nights, casual drinks and sophisticated imbibing.
The lighting is low, it’s mostly candles and strategically placed up-lighting allowing you to read the expansive and creative menu above the bar. The beautiful array of colourful bottles holding cocktail concoctions behind it glow on the shelves. It looks like a magical display of potions in an apothecary, which is enough to tempt anyone into snuggling into one of the comfortable sofas and working their way through the menu.
And speaking of the menu, it’s new. Manager and award winning mixologist Ash has recently devised a menu worthy of the colder seasons with gorgeous warming cocktails that utilise the flavours of winter, with whiskeys and bourbons, winter spices, imaginative twists on a few classics and a few of his own original creations. Chat to him for five minutes and you know he’s a man who knows what he’s talking about, so I was confident enough to put my night in his hands and let him choose my drinks for me based on my favourite flavours and spirits; strong, sweet, smooth and powerful. Without hesitation he began mixing up the 6ix Side (£9), made with Jim Beam Rye, Branca Menta, Maple & Lemon Oil, garnished with a strawberry and served on the rocks. It ticked every box; smooth and strong, but not overpowering. The sweetness was subtle but certainly didn’t get lost, rather it had all been balanced beautifully.
Meanwhile my friend enjoyed the Amazonian (£8.50) which had a base of Whitley Neill gin with Boudier Cacao (a chocolate based creme liqueur), Lemon, Egg white, Vanilla and Lemon Oil. As the name implies, this tasted like far away exotic lands with a creamy texture and spikes of zing from the lemon and sweetness from the Cacao. My friend’s second drink, the £11 Jessica (which has proven itself very popular since the introduction of this new menu) has a depth and complexity I don’t think i’ve ever experienced before with the combination of Bourbon, Malt Whiskey, Angostura Bitters, Tobacco Smoke and Lemon Oil. The smokiness is intriguing and almost disguises itself as spicy as the flavour hits the back of your tongue. Meanwhile I enjoyed Ash’s take on an Old Fashioned in the form of the Fashioned In The Farmhouse (£9) which had the most beautiful sweetness added by the introduction of date.
We ended our evening with one of the warm cocktails on the menu, the Hot Buttered Rum which serves 2 for £18. Served in a teapot with delicate, vintage style teacups, how buttery you make your drink is up you you, as you are provided with butter cubes (a far more indulgent and less sweet substitute for sugar) to plop into the hot liquid made up of a blend of Rums, hot water and winter spices. Watch it melt into the liquid and enjoy the smoothness as it warms you up from the inside before you step out into the cold. If only my morning cuppa tasted like this.
The enjoyable thing about cocktails is that they inspire creativity, and that is the best way to summarise the cocktail menu in The Four Sisters. Ash and his team haven’t settled for the expected but rather chosen to break a few moulds and explore the ways in which certain aspects of classics can be elevated to provide a different drinking experience. Much like the newer branch in the family, The Four Sisters Townhouse, the atmosphere in this bar is chilled and relaxed. Come for one or come for many and you’re guaranteed a wonderful experience.