London Calling, With Turkey Day in a Glass

I rediscovered just last week how lousy with Yanks is Britain's capital; at a Chinese joint in Earl's Court (a nabe of particularly high infestation) called Dragon's Palace, I felt like getting up and shouting, "OK, is anyone here not from the States?" No matter -- especially post-Bush, the Brits seem to fancy us over there more than ever, and a few establishments like St. James' venerable Stafford Hotel, just a hop and a skip from Picadilly Circus -- have quite the history with Americans, dating even from before World War II (when U.S. Army officers were billeted there) to the golden age of the transatlantic ocean liner, in the 1930s. Despite its very English feel, its cozy watering hole has been dubbed The American Bar for generations, and the hotel is aiming to helping ex-pats stave off homesickness this Thanksgiving not just with turkey and stuffing but a whole monthlong bar menu of T-day flavors. I popped in last week so resident bartender Ben Provost could mix me up a Pumpkin Pie Martini. Eyeing the ingredients list -- Stoli Vanilla, pumpkin purée, Licor 43 (a vanilla/citrusy Spanish liqueur), and a splash of Baileys -- I was a more than a little dubious, but darned if it didn't hit the spot quite nicely. I still had to work that afternoon, so I begged off sampling the Crantini, Apple-Sage Martini, and Carrot-Ginger Martini (well, that and the fact that at £15 a pop, otherwise I'd blow my entire day's budget on a liquid lunch). I must say, though, that it warmed my heart to see the Brits paying tribute to one of our most beloved national holidays in quintessential English style: with spirit(s). More info:
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