It was all a bit hush hush, but the team at Mullen Bartending put together a little shindig to celebrate all things classic. Held at the new speakeasy The Fitzgerald off Stevenson Square in Manchester (a fitting venue for the theme of the evening), a collaboration of five spirits accompanied by cocktails and canapés were the order of the evening.
Hosted by co-founders Sean and Chris, they started off with local gin producers Hunters and a personal favourite in a Negroni. Equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth went up against a good 40ml of Hunters to really bring out the tart palate. The sweetness from the orange garnish bought the scales more level, but indeed, not a bad way to start off the evening.
To the opposite end of the scale now, with the introduction of Buffalo Trace. The Brown Derby cocktail enjoyed a healthy dose of the Kentucky based bourbon, stirred with grape juice and sweet vermouth. This 1930’s Los Angeles originator came over more sweeter than I imagined, but for a man with a sweet tooth, it balanced well. The grape juice boost the profile, almost kicking its way through the vermouth.
A well-known brand to me came third in line, with Excellia representing the tequila part of the evening. The Reposado expression came within the classic Margarita – a combination of tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and sugar. Unfortunately, a good dose of Excellia would have made this the highlight of the evening, but the 35ml of this delicate tequila seemed to have been lost within the citrus based flavours.
The Icelandic Reyka vodka also came within a classic, this time the Martini. Having a good dose of Reyka, stirred with 20ml Antica Formula and Icelandic bitters made this my personal favourite for the evening. Not too tart, with the Reyka base bringing a well-rounded feel for a consistent finish. Perfect.
Lastly, the new rum to hit the Manchester market in Ron Cubay made a lasting impression for the final cocktail of the evening, the Daiquiri. Utilising the Cuban expressions of the 3 and 7yr, the double mix made for a surprising blend which sharpened the finish and brought out the fruit notes nicely.
Mixed with canapés from the Rosylee Tearooms below, and a good mix of discerning drinkers, the variations that Mullen Bartending put together came through nicely, with the Reyka Martini a particular stand out. Good use of new brands with Ron Cubay and Hunter’s, combined with an old favourite of Buffalo Trace and lesser known names like Reyka and Excellia made the evening varied. The Hunter’s team were present on the evening too, giving an insight into their gin which rounded off a rather intriguing evening.
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