I do love Manchester when it comes to its bar scene, there’s always something new opening, and this past Thursday was no different. The guys behind event and mobile bar company Escapade Bars have gone for something a little more static in the shape and form of Elixir Tonics & Treats.
Located on the easy to remember 123 Deansgate, the venture aims to bridge the gap between Spinnningfields and the Northern Quarter. With backing by Escapade Director Dan Purnell (ex beverage manager at the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7* hotel, and general manager of popular Manchester private members club Sugar Lounge) and his partner Jaime Wilkinson who will be acting as General Manager of the bar, they aim to combine a wealth of knowledge and experience of both Manchester and the drinks industry into an experience that the city has quite frankly never seen before.
The setting is stripped back. White painted brickwork with stencilled artwork on top, complete with low-level cast iron light fittings give it that New York meets London feel. Comfy sofas and chairs look inviting, but the bar is the most striking, with its dark wooden compartments showcasing some of the very best spirits to be found. Labelled with the words ‘Tonics and Treats’ at the top, and met with well-dressed and presentable staff (not a t-shirt in sight), you’re obliged to take a look at the menu with quite frankly some awe and amazement.
For example, take the Saints and Sinners (£8). A mix of Manzanilla Sherry, limoncello, gin and grape syrup, finished with a gold leaf sugar rim and grape skewer. To see a sherry based cocktail on any menu is a surprise, but to make it work? Well, it worked for me, and I’m not acquainted well with sherry as I am with other spirits. It just seemed to work, and you could get each flavour coming through at different parts of the experience.
Another cocktail under its ‘Purgatory to Paradise’ section is the Apollo Daiquiri (£9). I’m always a little dubious when it comes to twists on classics, but they’ve nailed it with this a five ingredient drink – gin, rhum agrigole and clement creole, lime and sugar, blended and served within a small cocktail glass. The stem held in place on a metal platform, and a doily to add character. It’s the little things sometimes.
To give you an idea of what else Elixir Tonics & Treats have to offer, I only need to mention names such as Mr Bertoux’s Sip (£8), a variation on the classic Side Car cocktail using Couvoisier Exclusif, orange liqueur and lemon juice finished with gold leaf, sugar rim and an orange twist. Best of all, you can ‘add intensity with our unique pipette injections flavoured with Orange Flower Water, Marc de Champagne or Lemon Droplets.’ Or how about the Earl’s Breakfast (£8.50) which combines Chase Smoked vodka, Briotett Triple Sec, Earl grey syrup, lemon and a spoonful of Marmalade, garnished with smoked cheese on toasted cracker-bread.
You could also go for a treat within their ‘Specialities’. La Petite Voliere or The Little Birdcage (£40) is a sharing cocktail housed within a birdcage. Here you will find an array of luxurious chocolates and truffles from the bars very own bespoke chocolatier. You can then enjoy Elixir’s petite cocktails in mini coupes which you can choose yourself!
Elxir Tonics & Treats will impress. There’s no turning to the classics that you’ve had time and time again, they’re introducing something new, and from what I’ve tried so far, I can not agree highly enough. They’ve bridged the gap alright, and built a fort on top. Elixir Tonics & Treats may have just set the bar with pulling off imagination.
Oh, and whatever your mood, ask for Mood Enhancing Elixirs on the House. Gems and crystals that have been used for healing purposes for centuries, where you can add a few drops of their own home-made tinctures to your drink. ‘They may alter your mood, they may open your mind’ the guys say, either way you can choose from Motivation, Determination, Clarity, Concentration, Anti-depressant, Calming or Prosperity.
Who needs London.
I’ve been back to check out their summer menu launch in June 2014. Click here to see what delights they offer now.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.