Oriel Grand Brasserie: Mary Lapin

A refreshing take on the Bloody Mary.


Oriel Grand Brasserie



  • Grey Goose vodka
  • Fresh orange & carrot juice
  • Ginger
  • Coriander


The Gatsby-esque menu.

A good Bloody Mary seems to be a hard thing to come by. I'm not sure if it is just inherently difficult to get the correct mix of tomato juice and Tabasco. Or perhaps the cheaper ones are just made with really bad vodka? Either way it is not a drink I jump to unless I have been assured it will be good.

Even with good Bloody Marys I find I need to be in the right mood. I believe that is normally defined as 'hungover' although travel seems to make them seem more appropriate. That might be because it is the only cocktail you can get on a Virgin Atlantic flight, however.

The Oriel is a lovely brasserie despite the rather ignominious location in a corner at Terminal 3. The staff are lovely (this is not my first visit and they have always been excellent) and are, of course, understanding of the limited timeframe you have when in an airport. The vibe of the place is old fashioned with mirrored walls and art deco styling. The front of the menu is a good example of the style of the place.

They offer 3 different Bloody Marys and I went, like Goldilocks, for the one in the middle of the page. In addition to the Mary Lapin they offer the traditional Maison Mary and the Mary Verte which is green and uses tequila as the base spirit.

The Mary Lapin is very different to the traditional recipe. In fact it is more reminiscent of the simple Screwdriver. The ginger gives it a more complex flavour and the carrot juice lightens the orange juice. Overall this is much subtler than a screwdriver without that strong citrusy tang.

The vodka is overshadowed by the rest of the cocktail so I'm not sure if it was worth the extra £1.50 to upgrade it to Grey Goose. Perhaps the house vodka is not as smooth. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to compare them. Maybe next time.

I'd definitely recommend the Oriel if you have even just 20 minutes while passing through Terminal 3. 

Dr Wilko