Manchester has a new venue to impress its ever-expanding customer base, and a dose of India is hitting the pitch.

Positioned within Spinningfields, Scene shows off a Tardis of Indian delights in the form of its cocktail bar and street kitchen.

Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by friendly faces as they welcome you to the bar for a quick drink before the feast. With a drinks list of signature and classic cocktails, it’s hard to choose which to enjoy first, but a cold lager on the riverside terrace is always a welcome option (especially in the warm weather we’ve experienced lately). Corona, Cobra, Tiger and Estrella are part of the many options available as you wander the eyes over the elaborate street food menu.

Tandoori Mixed Grill

Highlights include the King Prawn Tikka (£6.95) to start, which see’s King prawns marinated with yogurt, vinegar, delicate herbs and spices, cooked over charcoal and served with salad and Hydrabadi sauce. Or the Chicken Chapali Kebab (£4.95) that offers you a traditional dish from Pakistan, a very moist kebab that is prepared with minced chicken meat.

For mains? I can highly recommend the Tandoori Mixed Grill (£15.95) which serves up a delicious combination of tandoori specialities; tangdi chicken, chicken tikka,
seekh kebab, lamb chops and king prawn tikka. There’s also chef’s specialities and signature dishes, including the Monkfish Malai (£14.95) that offers fresh morsels of monkfish cooked gently in a mild masala sauce.

But it’s not the food, although excellent and well presented, that I’m concentrating on this piece for, it’s the cocktails and liquor! Once finishing your feast, expect to be offered a nightcap or two within either the bar or at your table (either position works as you are surrounded by an impressive Indian decor with striking, vibrant colours, plus the large windows overlooking the River Irwell.

Bombay Bonfire

Instantly eye-catching is the Bombay Bonfire that see’s Chivas Regal, lemon juice, honey and ginger syrup, complete with an atomised Laphroaig garnish. Perfect is you’ve had a lightly flavoured meal. But if you’re after something more heavy and rich, the Besharam Lassi provides a blend of Old J Spiced Rum and Old J Tikki Fire, mango pulp, passion fruit, lime juice, yogurt, orange juice and Angostura Bitters.
The Kerala Cafe is a good substitute for perhaps your usual coffee, as Old Spiced Rum, Kahlua, cinnamon syrup and shot of Espresso works wonders to keep your night going. Indeed as does the Assam Negroni, with its combination of Assam Tea infused Beefeater 24, Aperol, Campari and Martini Rosso. All of these are priced at £8.95 each too.

A recommended dram or tot is also in order, as the likes of Plantation Panama and Havana Club 7 year stand out for the rum offerings, as do Lagavulin 16 year, Makers Mark and Chivas Regal 12 year for the whisky counterparts. A great way of finishing off what should be a cracking evening at Scene, and it compliments a variety of the flavours offered within the food too.

For a first-hand look at my visit to Scene, check out the video as seen on RickBVlogs.

Ladies and Gentleman. I give to you Scene. India has come to Manchester.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

London’s First Dry Aged Cocktail Comes To Soho Steakhouse MASH

MASH Steakhouse
Soho Steakhouse MASH has launched a “dry-aged cocktail” – a drink infused with the fat of their signature dry-aged Danish meat.

Inspired by their love of the meat MASH serves, the bar team headed to the kitchen when it came to developing the new drink. Fat washing – infusing spirits with the fat from substances such as butter, peanut butter or even chorizo – is a trend that has been around for a few years, and fat is, naturally, in great supply in a steakhouse.

“We all love steak, obviously, and we wanted to bring it to our cocktails. We went to the chefs and they suggested the dry-aged meat because it’s so distinctive, and never really been done before,” explains head bartender Miro Panos. He knew immediately they were onto a hit.

Dry aged meat takes on its deep flavours as the meat’s moisture evaporates, leaving a strong, almost gamey taste. In the Danish Crown, this is balanced out with the botanicals of Genever (gin’s ancestor) and Lillet Rouge, but the final touches come from game’s best friend: dark berries. Crème de cassis adds a deep, fruity and sour flavour that sets off the flavours perfectly.

Just like MASH’s Danish steaks, the cocktail is garnished with thyme. It is available at the bar and the team recommend it for an after-dinner treat – or as a substitute for a steak itself.

MASH’S Dry Aged Meat
· Danish meat is dry aged for approx. 90 days,
· The process starts in Denmark, to make sure it is suitable for dry-ageing and has enough marbling
· The meat finishes ageing in MASH’s in-house meat lockers
· Each day, the chefs cut individual steaks & remove all of the decayed meat

Fat-Washing: A How-To
· Step 1: infusing the spirit with the fat (in this case, Genever)
· Step 2: freeze the whole thing, so that the fat separates from the liquid
· Step 3: Double strain through muslin cloth – so there’s no actual fat in the drink

Castle St Townhouse Set To Open Its Doors This Summer

Castle St Townhouse
Liverpool’s bustling commercial district is set to welcome its newest arrival Castle St Townhouse this summer.

The Grade II listed building, formerly occupied by GT Law, will be transformed into a multi-level eatery and bar courtesy of Warrington based interior design and architecture firm, DV8 Designs.

Set to showcase a grand opulent bar and raised seating areas, the new venue owned by Circo director Jason McNeill, will pay homage to its historic surrounding while ‘adding character and urban charm’.

Jason said: “Over the past decade the city’s landscape has changed dramatically, whereby areas such as the business district have evolved to become more than just a corporate workplace, which is why we decided to open in the heart of Castle Street.

“We hope that the new venue will receive a great response from Liverpool locals and those traveling from further afield due to our novel brunch and lunch offerings, extensive drinks list and chic design.”

Managing Director of DV8 Designs Lee Birchall added: “In order to preserve the rich heritage and history of the Castle Street building, it is important that the venue remains true to its roots. With this in mind we will keep many of the building’s original columns, while rearranging the entrance area to create a central focal point that showcases the full length of the space.

“By combining a series of modern decors and a playful design throughout the building, the overall object is to carry out a restoration that suits the originality of the building and its setting, in addition to incorporating a grandeur feel.”

Castle St Townhouse is set to open to the public summer 2016.

Four Pillars

Four Pillars
There seems to be a wave of new world gins coming over to the UK in the past 12-18 months, with Australia taking the ground of offering innovative brands and expressions. Oceania as a whole seem to offer a good selection, with Lighthouse gin from New Zealand already making its mark on the UK mainland with their original and navy strength formula, but experiencing a full range can be tricky, especially here in Manchester. With the growing bar scene and their willingness to experience the full potential of each brand, the city have been inviting Australia over to show off their look, with West Winds starting the trend, followed closely by Four Pillars.

Four Pillars is the showcased brand here as Stuart Gregor, one of the co-founders of the brand, visited last week as part of his UK tour (hitting also Liverpool, Leeds, London amongst others). Created back in 2013, Stuart and fellow marketing and wine maker Cameron Mackenzie and brand guru Matt Jones used Pozible (the Australian version of Kickstarter) to fund their dream of a craft distillery within the Yarra Valley, close to Melbourne. Using a CARL copper pot still (originating from the CARL workshop in Stuttgart, Germany, also the first of her kind commissioned in Australia) named Wilma which holds 450 litres and comes equipped with a botanical basket (for the whole oranges used within the recipe).

There’s enough capacity to create 460 bottles per seven hour distillation, but recent expansion now means that Wilma is joined by Jude (600 litres) and Eileen (50 litres and predominantly for experimental runs).


The water used to cut the gin down to the desired strength comes from the Yarra Valley, itself seen as some of the best water available due to the area’s protected water catchment area. The 157,000 hectares of mountain forests mean the rain water falls and filters naturally through eucalyptus foliage, ferns and dense forest floor, resulting in an alkaline water base with a crystal clear finish and a crisp, fresh sweet taste. This is filtered three times before being added to Four Pillars.

The botanicals within Four Pillars took 18 months of trials to get to the finished recipe, resulting in 10 botanicals featured. Included are two native botanicals in Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon myrtle (both in dry leaf form), plus cassia, star anise, cardamom and coriander seeds, juniper, lavender, whole oranges and angelica root.
For the Navy Strength expression, fresh finger limes are added to offer a more South East Asian feel to the gin.

So how do they all fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Four Pillars Rare Dry – 41.8%

Subtle coriander and cardaman come through on the nose, with both flavours expressed more vibrantly upon the palate. Orange comes through with a bold statement, with the lemon offering a fresh, long, slight earthy finish.

Four Pillars Navy Strength – 58.8%

A savoury nose, with lavender and coriander coming through well. Sharp on the palate to begin, with dry citrus, slight salt too with a long, bold, sweet liquorice finish.

Four Pillars Barrel Aged – 43.8%

Soft, subtle oak on the nose, with subtle vanilla notes, slight Sauterne that offers onto the palate a sweet and very long bold, fresh finish.

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz – 37.8%

Dried stoned fruits upon the nose, moving to a bold, naturally sweet profile on the palate. Plenty of dried prune and ripe grape coming through for a balanced, light finish.

An amazing array of Australian gins that are perfect to enjoy over ice, but these recipes do look intriguing –

Four Pillars - The Drop Bear
The Drop Bear

The Drop Bear

Glass –


Ingredients –

50 ml Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
10 ml elderflower liqueur
30 ml eucalyptus syrup
30 ml fresh lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
10 ml egg white

Method –

Add ingredients to a shaker without ice and shake for 10 seconds (this will get that egg white nice and frothy). Add ice to the shaker and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupette.

Or perhaps,

Four Pillars - Bloody Jasmine
Bloody Jasmine

Bloody Jasmine

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

20 ml Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin
20 ml Campari
20 ml Dry Curacao (or any other orange liqueur, such as Cointreau)
20 ml fresh lemon juice
1 dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters
Lemon twist for garnish

Method – 

Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupette glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

A range to entice you for sure, and should be a part of anyone gin collection. The Bloody Shiraz offers something different to the flavoured gin category, and the Barrel Aged is one of the better one’s, I believe, on the market today.

Shame we don’t get the sunshine enough to enjoy it the proper Australian way!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Beyond Bourbon: The Global Thirst for American Whiskey

American Whiskey on the category’s staggering growth and the reasons behind it-

The facts:

On the rocks, in the mix, classic and complex – the multifaceted American whiskey category has enjoyed continuous global market growth over the last five years, increasing by 12% a year since 2009.
*Distilled Spirits Council of the US, 2015

Exports to overseas markets such as the U.K., Canada, and Germany have more than doubled in the past decade, from $743 million in 2005 to a projected $1.56 billion last year.
*The Drinks Business 2015

The US whiskey market has seen rocketing sales in the past decade with bourbon production alone growing by more than 150%.
*Distilled Spirits Council of the US, 2015

And while bourbon is the most popular and well-known variant of American whiskey, it most certainly isn’t the only option when considering a foray into the world of American whiskey; with three additional main taste profiles available to the consumer including Tennessee, Rye and Corn., which brings Brown Forman’s portfolio within the category to life by educating spirit drinkers on the heritage and versatility of the liquid; largely attributes American Whiskey’s continuous success to ‘being in the right place at the right time.’

Wider international trends around innovation and craft, premiumisation, and revivalism, along with a wider understanding as to ‘how to enjoy American whiskey’, have naturally come to the category – which has supported a cultural shift in perceptions and attitudes.

The reasons:

The mixology trend: The growth of the premium cocktail market, along with influential bartenders championing bourbon and rye as mixers, have played a large part in inspiring consumers to understand where and how they can enjoy their whiskey, their way.

American-inspired cuisine: The increased popularity in American whiskey coincides with the rising appeal of American-inspired cuisine. The proliferation of upscale, authentic burger and rib eateries, along with the growing premium casual dining scene – think street food markets, trucks and pop-ups; offers the consumer a more accessible and credible opportunity to enjoy American whiskey.

Pop culture and television: The popularity of television shows such as Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire has been beneficial to American whiskey; both of which introduced classic American serves and golden age cocktails to new audiences, while giving whisky brands the ability to contemporize and modernize with credibility.

This trend has been further echoed in the UK with the opening of nostalgic, ‘speak easy’ style bars across London including Night Jar, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town and The Vault, hidden behind a bookshelf in London’s oldest whisky shop.

Craft, heritage and authenticity: Platforms such as provide the wider story behind the craft of America’s four whiskey taste profiles, offering intrigue and reason for consumers to learn about, and grow with, what they are drinking.

Taking this to the next level is the rise of ‘Bourbon Tourism,’ with increasing visitors from all 50 states and 50 countries across the world flocking to Kentucky to follow the Bourbon Trail and learn about its heritage.

Innovation and flavor variants: Making it easier for a younger generation to join the category, American whisky producers have been willing to add flavoured whiskeys to their collections, which has in the past been avoided by the whisky industry.

This trend is part of the broader growth in popularity of flavoured spirits, producing milder tastes, more accessible to younger drinkers and increasing their prominence in cocktails.

Prime examples of this are Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Tennessee Fire.

Entry level and broad appeal: The whisky category is set-up with a consumer journey of clear stepping-stones. A drinker can enter with a familiar brand and a mixer and evolve through a range of brands’ age-statement products over time, to more premium and occasion led serves.

Furthermore, American whisky offers broad appeal and broad usage. In stark contrast to the likes of vodka and gin, American whisky offers drinkers a substantial spectrum of price range and taste profiles. These spectrums are populated with brands that range from the artisan to the supermarket staple; all of which are great for gifting, seen as luxury, personalized and with a level of connoisseur; all playing on wider popular, social trends.

Social Media: The proliferation of social media has also helped push American whiskey into the mainstream.

From big brand players to craft innovators, American whiskey’s international popularity shows no sign of slowing.

Gabriele Manfredi Plants His Roots In The UK

Gabriele Manfredi

Spirit Cartel welcomes renowned bartender and cocktail master Gabriele Manfredi into the growing fold as new UK Brand Ambassador for Greek spirit brand Roots.

Originating from Milan in Italy, Gabriele made waves in the drinks industry six years ago when he joined the bar team at the Artesian at The Langham, London. He has since demonstrated his talent behind the bar at the iconic Nightjar, leading to his current role as Head Bartender at sister bar Oriole.

As the face of one of the UK’s most traditional but innovative brands, Gabriele will use his extensive experience and boundless energy to assist in spreading the gospel according to Roots by driving trade and consumer engagement.

Commenting on his new position, Gabriele says: “It’s an absolute privilege to step into the shoes of UK brand ambassador for Roots. I’m looking forward to meeting and engaging with the trade as well as consumers to help them better understand the brand and cement Roots status as premium liqueurs in the UK. My parents met and fell in love in Greece many years ago so I believe it’s destiny that I have been offered this opportunity with such an exciting and original brand such as Roots.”

Nikolas Smyrlakis, Roots’ Brand Owner, adds: “Roots is a brand with plenty of potential for innovation so we want to familiarise the UK with the product and the process in which it is produced. The UK is a very important market for brand building with the trends scrutinised & reproduced throughout the world; Gabriele has the right passion and vision to help further establish Roots in the UK.

Charles Marshall, Spirit Cartel Consiglieri, says: “We’re delighted to welcome Gabriele to the Spirit Cartel gang. Gabriele has an impressive understanding of the on-trade, as well as a compelling enthusiasm and passion for the brand, which we believe will help communicate Roots unique character and drive its presence in the trade.

Gabriele joins us following the appointments of David Hood, Capo di Capi of the sales team Adam Peters-Ennis, Head of Multiples and Benji Purslow, our new Four Roses Brand Ambassador, which is a reflection on the exciting growth of the company.”

For more information about the Spirit Cartel portfolio, please visit

All Aboard The Appleton Estate Rum Bus For An Authentic Taste Of Jamaica

appleton-estate-rum-bus-3 low res
The Appleton Estate Rum Bus is inviting you aboard as it visits Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest food festival, at Circus Field Blackheath on the 8th -10th July. Serving up the very best in Jamaican rum cocktails made with Appleton Estate aged golden rum, and sips of the luxury Appleton Estate 21 Year Old, the Appleton Estate Rum Bus will be the place to relax and ‘lime’, as they say in Jamaica. Visitors will also be able to try out a sugar cane press whilst enjoying an authentic Jamaican BBQ.

WHY: Climb aboard for the opportunity to sample Appleton Estate’s full-bodied, award winning rums. 100% Jamaican from cane to cup, Appleton Estate Rum have been distilled on the Appleton Estate in the heart of Jamaica since 1749.

WHO: Global Rum Ambassador, Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards finalist and all round rum expert Ian Burrell will be at the bus on Saturday 8 July. He will be sharing his expertise through a special rum masterclass in the drinks theatre at 3.30pm where he will lead the audience through a tasting of four rums. Meanwhile, on board the Rum Bus, Appleton Estate’s bartenders will be serving cocktails such as the traditional Appleton Estate Mai Tai, the Jamaican Mule, Jamaican Rum Punch as well as sips of Appleton Estate 21 Year Old.

WHERE: Foodies Festival, Circus Field, Shooters Hills Rd, Blackheath, SE3 7AS

WHEN: 8-10 July, 11am-7pm (11am-6pm Sunday)

City Centre Nightclub Fills The ‘Void’ For Cosmopolitan Party-Goers

Liverpool’s Stanley Street is set to see the opening of an exclusive new nightclub following an impressive six-figure sum investment.

Void will open its doors in late August and is the brainchild of owners Joe McMahon, Adam Ramsey and Dan Friend, whose ever-expanding hospitality portfolio also contains Graffiti and Wall of Fame, which are both located on Victoria Street.

Set in the former Wonderland site, the over-21 nightclub will fill the gap in the market to offer an exclusive experience comprising high-end table service and a premium drinks selection.

Joe said: “Our previous ventures have seen us cater to such a wide demographic, including the younger generation who like to party at Graffiti and an eclectic mix at Wall of Fame, ranging from families, corporates and tourists. The idea for Void was conceived when we noticed a huge gap in the nightlife market for those who want to enjoy a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the heart of the city centre with a bit of extra opulence.”

Adam added: “The inspiration for the concept came from our travels across the globe, particularly locations such as London, Marbella and Las Vegas, whereby a premium standard of drinks and high level of customer service is expected. We want to replicate this approach here in Liverpool so that our guests will never have to worry about their glasses being empty. By providing the ultimate table service experience, Void is set to become the ideal venue for those seeking a unique and prestigious night out.”

The 175 sq. metre site has been completely transformed to feature lowered ceilings to offer a more intimate atmosphere, a raised DJ booth and a mirrored wrap around video wall. Located at 10 Stanley Street, the venue will be split into two separate sites, with the ground floor bar offering a different concept under the same ownership set to open in July.

In addition to supporting the on-going development of the local area, Void will create around 30 jobs ranging from security to bar and hosting staff.

Dan said: “We’re glad to be a part of the resurgence of the business district of Liverpool City Centre. In recent months, we’ve noticed a number of exciting new happenings in the form of both exciting independents and exclusive chain bars and restaurants set up shop – it’s great to see this side of our city thriving.”

Outerspace Vodka Makes Landfall In Australia

Award winning, meteorite filtered vodka touches down! Think Spirits has proudly been appointed as the exclusive Importer & Distributor of Outerspace Vodka for the Australien market.

Enjoying tremendous success in the USA, Outerspace Vodka is now available in over 30 states across America and is now set to hit stores and bars across Australia from July 1st.

Five-times distilled from corn in Iowa, USA, the vodka boasts 100% gluten-free credentials and is filtered through meteorites for ultimate purity and uniqueness.

Picking up a Gold Medal at the prestigious 2016 SIP Awards, it seems that the experts agree. “It wasn’t just about creating radical packaging” says Jim Denoon, co-founder of the brand, “we had to develop an exceptional liquid too”.

Clearly the bottle deserves a mention. Truly from outer space, the bottle represents the widely understood notion of an alien. “It’s ironic”, says Denoon, “no one knows what an alien looks like, but then at the same time, everyone sort of does and is fascinated by the notion that we’re not alone.”

It’s clearly a brand that’s centered around fun. The alien even writes his own social media feeds reporting on all he finds curious about his new home on planet earth: @outerspacevodka #madeforaustraliens

“We’re super excited to introduce Outerspace Vodka to our portfolio”, says Patrick Borg, Managing Director of Think Spirits, Australia. “We expect our little green friend to thrive in the Australien market! He has already enjoyed high profile acceptance nationwide, which is out-of-this-world!”

Keep a keen eye out in your local liquor store or bar for Outerspace Vodka or ask for it by name. At least we now know that we’re not alone!

Available in 700ml & 50ml bottles at 40%ABV.

1800 Tequila Transforms Brunchtime With The ‘1800 Brunch Carousel’

1800 Brunch Carousel
1800 Tequila has created a premium interactive on-trade offering to encourage customers to build their own Bloody Marias at brunchtimes in bars – the ‘1800 Brunch Carousel’.

Under the campaign ‘Brunching 1800 Ways’ (it takes just 11 ingredients to create more than 1800 Bloody Maria variations), the ‘1800 Ways Brunch Carousel’ is a three-tier slate stand holding 27 on-trend ingredients that can be ground, pinched, crushed or mixed to taste, including umami paste, wasabi, seaweed and porcini powder.

Savoury cocktails are set to dominate in 2016 and the Bloody Maria is predicted to be one of the most talked about cocktail trends of the year. A modern and adventurous rendition of the Bloody Mary, the 1800 Bloody Maria is made with expertly aged and consistently smooth 1800 Tequila which shoulders the punch of a spiced-up tomato juice, adding a complex vegetal earthy depth of flavour.

The carousel will be presented with a 20cl bottle of 1800 Silver Tequila, alongside a recipe booklet listing ideas for six savoury drinks, including meaty, vegetable and umami influences. The booklet discusses the popular brunch phenomenon, the Bloody Maria and how the flavour profile of tequila transforms the taste of the traditional Bloody Mary.

There are a number of ways the carousel can be used in bar: It can be placed on the customer’s table for them to create their own concoctions or alternatively, the bartender can make and serve the drinks at the table. It can also be placed on the bar, where the bartender can make the drink and the customer can customize their Bloody Maria using the carousel.

Tequila is not just for shooting or for the darker recesses of the weekend – it’s one of the most versatile white spirits out there and it is perfect in a Bloody Maria at brunchtime. The ‘1800 Brunch Carousel’ creates a sense of occasion for the drinker and also gives the vendor a valuable offering, creating word of mouth for the bar and the serve.

The ‘1800 Brunch Carousel’ will be available in Bourne & Hollingsworth and other high-end brunch venues across London from July 2016. The initiative will be supported with the ‘1800 Brunch Saloons’, lively gatherings and discussions over brunch, hosted by the comedy duo The Thinking Drinkers, which are being rolled out in brunch venues and festivals over the summer.

Freelance Events Curator/Collaborator, Brand Development, Drink Journalist, Taster & Guide to the World of Drinks

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