Henriot Champagne Tasting Notes

On Wednesday night, I had the chance to try the relatively unknown champagne house Henriot at the Epernay champagne bar in Manchester. Three bottles were on offer to sample, with hosts Cyriaque and Joelle giving a speech on the history of Henriot and what to expect from their Rose Brut, Brut Souverain and Blanc De Blancs.

 

A little history first,

 

Native to Lorraine, the Henriot family relocated to Champagne around 1640. In Reims, the Henriots slowly acquired vineyards as well as the acquisition of the Hôtel des Douanes and the Fermes Royales. Nicolas Henriot married Apolline Godinot. Together, they developed a fascination for the culture of the vine and production of wines of quality.

After the death of Nicolas Henriot, Apolline Henriot decided to continue to develop the vineyards and refine the style of the wines. The 33 year-old set forth her name and founded Veuve Henriot Ainé in 1808. Apolline sold her wines both in France and abroad and became a huge success with royalty, concluding with Henriot being declared Official Supplier to the Imperial and Royal Court of Austria.

The vineyards grew bigger when Paul Henriot, nephew of Ernest Henriot, married Marie Marguet, who owned vines in the Côtes des Blancs.

Once Apolline passed away, the family legacy continued with her grandson Ernest, where in 1875, Ernest enlarged the company’s holdings and developed the House. Etienne Henriot, son of Paul, who had trained as an agronomist, took over the management of the House. With great vision, he expanded the house’s viticultural domain, which then covered nearly 110 hectares (275 acres).
1957 saw the death of Etienne Henriot, and his son, Joseph Henriot, who was also a trained agronomist, gradually taking over the reins of the family company from 1962.

 

So with a little history explained to us, our first champagne of the night was poured, Rose Brut (all prices are straight from the Epernay champagne menu).

Henriot Rose Brut – £58

Made up of 58% Pinot Noir grapes and 42% Chardonnay grapes, a fruit nose dominates the senses with citrus and floral scents making their way through slowly. The palate enjoys a light, salivating fruityness, with floral and hints of spice mixing well to create a long-lasting flavour.

Brut Souverain – £46

Created with a balance of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, the nose has a hit of boldness, moving quickly into a refreshing citrus and floral flavour mix. Fresh bread was also detected. A taste of apricot and oranges lay well on the palate, with vanilla and cherry subtly making an appearance near the end.

Blanc De Blancs – £58

The sole use of Chardonnay grapes creates a sophisticated blend of fruit, floral and spice on the nose. The honey, vanilla and almond attack the palate to lay down a soft and smooth finish with lingering vanilla scents.

 

My personal favourite? Blanc De Blancs. And for £58, I’ve found a champagne worth splashing out for! For the same price, the Rose Brut is also a good shout, while the Brut Souverain, albeit not my personal favourite out of the three, is still a great champagne to drink.

The Henriot range is not readily available in supermarkets, however you can purchase the three above champagnes here. Or better still, get yourself down to Epernay in Manchester where you can enjoy the range in comfort and style. Give me a shout, I’ll see you there!

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

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Fancy a Beer Mate Sale Winter Ales Festival Review

Last Friday there was a more local affair happening in the town of Sale as the Fancy a Beer Mate company came to Sale’s Masonic Hall for a two-day festival of all things ale. Promising local breweries in both ale, cider and perry, along with entertainment on both days, it would be rude not to go along and give it a go!

Now I will admit, a fair few ales were consumed on this night, so I’ve had to refer to the tasting notes from the programme to jog my memory on the odd occasion.

Costing only £5 to enter (including the customary festival glass), the four strong group trawled through the list of breweries available to us to see which one would get the night rolling. First up for me was a tipple from the Dunham Massey Brewing Company named ‘Winter Warmer’ (6.6%). A rather strong offering, although not immediately noticeable, with a rich malt flavour being present with hints of spice. Ginger and nutmeg were also present as it went down rather quickly. So in not time at all, I went in search for the recommended ‘Ape Ale’ (5.4%) by the Blue Monkey Brewing Company from Nottingham. A strong pale ale, a good mix of pine, citrus and orange are immediate flavours, which culminated into a dry finish. An after-taste of slight bitterness eventually came around but the end result was rather moorish.

Next up was ‘HedgeHopper’ (3.8%) by Mobberley Fine Ales. A golden ale, light on the palate with hopps and a mild flavour lingering on the after-taste. The lady who served me warned that I’d be back for more, but i noticed instead the Quantum Brewing Company from Stockport, and their offering of Summit IPA (5.5%). Their description boasts that it’s produced using a single hop to showcase the characteristics of the hop variety. With this in mind, the ‘stripped down’ IPA was heavy on the berries and citrus fruits, with hints of malt thrown in near the end.

5th of the night was the simply named ‘Jack’ (4.2%) by the Falstaff Brewery in Derby. A fruity golden ale with heavy hints of butterscotch. Citrus replaces as the dominant flavour as it moved to a more gentle after-taste of hops. The Leatherbritches Brewery from Ashbourne were up next with their ale named ‘Owd Codger’ (4.9%). A hint of strawberry on the palate joins with slight pepper notes that results in a long hoppy finish. Nearing the end of the night, and after enjoying the local entertainment on the stage next to us, ‘Kingdom’ (4.5%) by The Tap House Brewery in Smisby, Derbyshire was next in line, offering huge amounts of malt on the palate with caramel flavours mixing in to give a sweet, long after-taste.

The last ale of the night went to a name that all three of my fellow ale drinkers had tried before, with raving reviews – ‘Pegasus’ (4.2%). By the Milton Brewery down in Milton, Cambridgeshire, a well-balanced mix of fruit and malt was enjoyed on the palate to produce a very moorish offering!

After 8 ales, it was time to hit the hay and stumble home. A cracking night had by all with congratulations to the boys and girls of Fancy a Beer Mate!

Click here to be taken to the links page where you can find all the links to the breweries websites as well as Fancy a Beer Mate.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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

Fancy a Beer Mate Sale Winter Ales Festival

The boys at Fancy a Beer Mate are back with a two-day festival at the Sale Masonic Hall on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th November.

Commencing at 5pm till 11pm on the Friday, and noon till 11pm on the Saturday, Fancy a Beer Mate will be showcasing the likes of Dunham Massey Brewing Company, Mobberley Fine Ales, The Tap House Brewery and the Leatherbritches Brewery as well as a selection of ciders and perrys from both the Broadoak Cider Company and Saxon Cider Company. Wine and soft drinks are also available.

Tickets are £5 on the night (receive 20% off if you click here and purchase online) which includes £1 refundable deposit on the festival glass. Tokens are then available to purchase once inside. Free entry for parental supervised children on Saturday afternoon till 7pm and their drinks are free.

The venue is located approximately 150 metres from the Sale Metrolink station, behind the Town Hall. 

And there’s entertainment too! Local girl and singer / songwriter Sophie Roberts will be covering a list of well-known hits as well as her own songs.

So come on down!

For further information about Fancy a Beer Mate, click here

The Liquorists Vodka Trail Review

Last night was another installment into The Liquorists busy calendar, the vodka trail. Following the same concept of their Nominees & Spirited Ventures trails last month, we were to be enjoying 5 different vodka’s, 5 different vodka cocktails in 5 different bars accompanied by 5 different light bite appetizers. Sound daunting? Challenge accepted!

Finlandia Caiproska at Blackdog Ballroom

Starting the night in the Blackdog Ballroom in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, we gathered in the bar’s Ballroom, a quietly tucked away private member’s bar which is perfect for events like this. Mr Tom Sneesby would be our host for the evening as he explained a brief history on vodka, what The Liquorists are all about and why we had a shot of Finlandia in front of us. Finlandia is a perfect example of how a spirit can get better when mixed properly. Although nice on its own, the Finlandia Caiproska that came after brought this Finnish vodka more alive. A small bite to eat followed in the form of breaded chicken strips and chips and then we were hopping into a taxi to our next venue, 24 Bar & Grill.
Cariel Vodka was the choice of vodka at this newly re-branded bar (formerly Obsidian), and one of my personal favourites in the cocktail world, the Pornstar Martini, was made to perfection using Cariel’s vanilla flavour. Nestled at the end of the bar in their boothed seating, we enjoyed small pineapple and coriander salsa pastries to accompany the cocktail, as well as a shot of Cariel vodka to finish the visit off.

Pornstar Matini with Cariel Vanilla vodka at 24 Bar and Grill

Epernay was the next port of call, with the stunning champagne venue offering us Belevedere vodka to sip while French 76 cocktails were being hand crafted for our pleasure. Tom gave us a little history lesson on Belvedere, and mentioned that the building on the front of every bottle is the Polish presidential palace Belweder, with the vodka being named after it. From Poland to Sweden, Absolut vodka was next to showcase themselves at Hula, with a tiki cocktail being elaborately concocted while we munched on what I can only describe as a volcano of sweets – literally. Sherbert straws were on hand in our tiki drinks, while we drank amid a beach bar with hammocks and fire (no joke with the fire part!).
Our last bar for the night was in Manchester’s mecca when it comes to cocktails in the Northern Quarter – Socio Rehab. The French vodka Grey Goose was sipped, while Grey Goose le Fizz cocktails were brought over to us amid vegetable and meat toasties to warm the cockles of the rainy weather outside.

Grey Goose le Fizz at Socio Rehab

A great night was had, with a round of applause given to Tom by all  in attendance. And it truly was. My friend came with me last night as the trail was a great idea for an early Christmas present, and he’s now raring to go back to all 5 bars again, with Hula and Epernay his highlights. As for me, all 5 bars are favourites of mine for various reasons, but the Pornstar Martini with Cariel Vanilla vodka at 24 Bar & Grill would be the recommendation of the night, but this is coming from a guy who loves vanilla!

They’ll be more trails coming up in the near future, so keep an eye on The Liquorist’s website and Facebook page for more information

Click on my Links page for links to all the bars and brands mentioned in this article

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

Elbow’s ‘build a rocket boys!’ Tasting Notes

Last month, the Manchester band Elbow launched a brand new ale, ‘build a rocket boys!’. Working with Stockport based Robinson’s Brewery and named after their recent album, the band created a media buzz at the recent Manchester Food and Drink Festival as they themselves pulled the first few pints in the Robinson’s beer tent. I myself have been enjoying Elbow’s new ale in the various Kro bars dotted around Manchester, but I wanted to wait until the bottle version arrived on my doorstep until I reviewed this golden bitter.

‘build a rocket boys!’  has been created to Elbow’s own specifications. The band enjoyed a series of beer tastings at the brewery where they sampled a range of Robinsons’ ales to shortlist their preferred style of beer, taste and colour. Elbow’s finished product was decided on a golden ale with a rich rounded body, smooth bitterness, with a subtle tang of malt and fruity aroma. It created a golden premium session bitter with a strength of 4.0% ABV.  The nose enjoys a slight bitterness with fresh hops mellowing their way down your sinuses. The palate gets a slow burst of sweet fruit with only a hint of bitterness on the tongue. A fresh, slight citrus note, lasts long on the after-taste with malt flavour staying on your lips. A lack of dryness means you can enjoy two or three of these during a night, and it’s not too heavy to stomach.

Robinson’s recently sent out a press release stating that “Robinsons report brisk trade of the beer with several supermarkets across the North West ordering extra stock of ‘build a rocket boys’, to keep up with demand. Elbow and Robinsons officially launched the beer at the recent Manchester Food and Drink Festival and the ale has gone on to be a big hit with music and beer fans alike. Two of Manchester’s most iconic drinking establishments, Kro Bar and The Castle, have already requested a second helping of the beer after pumps quickly ran dry.”

And to be fair, I can see why. I’ve met numerous people, both ale and non ale drinkers, who have enjoyed the new sensation, and with it rolling out into supermarkets, it can only get bigger.

Robinsons Brewery will also donate a significant percentage of all profits raised by the sale of ‘build a rocket boys!’ beer to Oxfam’s Famine Appeal.

This is an ale you really need to try.

To purchase ‘build a rocket boys!’, click here

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

Alchemist Dreams Review

Ruth Ball. If you’ve been to any trade shows, farmers markets or festivals recently, you will no doubt recognise the name. Ruth is the creator and founder of Alchemist Dreams, an idea that transforms the liqueur category into a new age. If you’re not familiar with the name, to put it simply, she creates hand-crafted liqueurs, any flavour, for any occasion. When was the last time you heard something like that?!
The process is easy too. Pick your base flavour, choose your accent(s), decide what bottle you would like your liqueur in and even create your label and voilà! With a great range of base flavours to choose from including blackberry, fig, lime and orange, and combined with cinnamon, juniper, ginger, elderberry, coffee or even red cinchona bark, you can create something unique and personal to yourself or to your backbar.
If your stuck for ideas though, Ruth has some house blends that you could try including (1) –

Black(berry) Magic – A mysterious blend of blackberry, ginger and Szechuan pepper

Everything’s Rosy – An optimistic blend of raspberry, juniper and rose

Blue Monday – A mellow blend of blueberry, elderberry and vanilla

Winter Warmer – A delicious blend of orange, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove

Drinks Enthusiast creation

I was lucky enough to win one of the Alchemist Dreams competitions, and the prize was the chance to create my own liqueur. So after racking my brains over which flavours would be the best to blend and what would work well, Ruth created me a base ingredient of orange, with a mix of vanilla, cacao and cinnamon.
On the nose, the orange flavour is soft, with small hints of the vanilla and cacao slowly coming through near the end. The palate enjoys a sensation of the vanilla and orange, with a bold hit of cacao and cinnamon following. A sweet mix on the tongue with a slightly thick layer being left for you to savour long after. Wow!

Personalised label

Alchemist Dreams gives you the chance to create that something different, and with many small, niche bars being opened lately, it’s the perfect chance to have a signature range that you can tell your customers it really is a once in a lifetime experience. But it doesn’t have to be for the bar’s though. Alchemist Dreams caters for weddings where you design the flavour, select the bottles and then they can be decorated with a variety of different trimmings to match colour schemes, decor or themes. You can even include special extras such as gold leaf! The labels are hand-printed with a message or can even be professionally printed to include a picture of the happy couple for a truly memorable gift. Alchemist Dreams can also be used for corporate gifts and events as gifts for something a bit more memorable.

I know I’ll be hoping to see a good range of Alchemist Dreams bottles on the backbar when I open my own place, it’s a fantastic idea!

Ruth has come on to a winner here. Give it a try!

Check out the Alchemist Dreams website here

 

(1) House blend recipes taken from the Alchemist Dreams press pack

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

Coming soon is the fourth whisky tasting event to be held at Kro 2 on Manchester’s Oxford Road.

Following last month’s successful visit from Maxxium Brands (click here for the review) they now welcome Moet & Hennessy Distillery to the table to present their portfolio of Scotch whisky delights.

Their range will include –

– Glenmorangie Lasanta
– Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben
– Glenmorangie Nectar D’or
– Ardbeg 10yr
– Ardbeg Uigeadail
– Ardber Corryvreckan

Kro 2 will also have their head chef create a dish to compliment the whiskies on offer!

This must-go-to event will take place Wednesday 7th December from 7.30pm and will cost £20 per head.

For further details and to purchase tickets, you can either swing by Kro 2, give them a call on 0161 236 1048 or visit their website at http://www.kro.co.uk/kro-two

See you there!

Maxxium Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

It’s been that time of month again at Kro 2 with their monthly whisky tasting and this time incorporating the whiskies of Maxxium.

Again for those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea in the Manchester area, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Mike Green, the Brand Development Manager of Maxxium, and he took us through a thorough history of Maxxium itself as well as the whiskies they have under their portfolio. These included –

– Ardmore Traditional Cask
– Highland Park 12yr
– Macallan 10yr Fine Oak
– Glenrothes Select Reserve
– Laphroaig 10yr
– Snow Grouse
– Highland Park 18yr

Now I’ve personally never tried any of these whiskies before apart from Laphroaig 10yr, and i encountered Maxxium at the London Cocktail Week a few weeks back (click here for my review on Stolichnaya). Maxxium themselves are responsible for the sales, local marketing and distribution of many of the world’s leading premium spirits and wine brands including Jim Beam, Courvoisier, Bols and Makers Mark. The company is owned by two equal shareholders: BEAM Inc and The Edrington Group.

Back to the night, below are my tasting notes on each whisky offered to us:-

Snow Grouse – 40%

Served chilled. Smooth on the nose with a fragrant aroma of vanilla coming through near the end. On the palate, a sharp, slightly harsh flavour of vanilla with an almost tequila like taste lingering around giving a warm after-taste.

Glenrothes Select Reserve – 43%

Slightly peaty on the nose with hints of citrus lemons and limes blending their way through. A smooth, slighlty velvety taste on the palate, with vanilla and barley subtly making an appearance near the end. A slight malt burn on the after-taste but an easy drinker non-the-less.

Macallan Fine Oak 10yr – 40%

On then nose, smooth vanilla produces a slight sweetness aroma that becomes enthasised on the palate, although the flavour is rather short. A blend of walnut and butter mix well but result in very little after-taste. Short offering, but a great choice!

Highland Park 12yr – 40%

Slight peatyness on the nose with subtle aromas of honey and citrus fruits to give a well-balanced flavour. On the palate, it’s clean, almost breathless with a light texture. A low spice on the after-taste with a slight sweetness if you add a dash of water.

Ardmore Traditional Cask – 46%

Lots of caramel on the nose, with a slight peat aroma making its way through near the end. Sweet palate offering with a slightly peaty burn on the tongue. Some caramal and vanilla flavours mixing well too.

Laphroaig 10yr – 40%

Smoky peat instantly hits your nose, with sea salt following soon after. Iodine aromas flowing slowly near the end. The palate enjoys a smoky smooth vanilla with oak flavours resulting in a long after-taste with a hint of spice near the end.

Highland Park 18yr – 43%

Lots of toffee sweetness on the nose with some fresh fruit aromas subtly overtaking near the end. The palate encounters a very smooth blend of cinnamon and toffee with a citrus end resulting in a very mild offering with a slight sweetness.

Mid-way through the tastings, Kro supplied us with a delicious dish named Cullen Skink. A mix of smoked Scottish Haddock, potato and onion served with fresh oven baked seeded bread rolls. Delicious!

Another thoroughly enjoyable event in which we were able to sample a good range of whatMaxxium have to offer. Personal highlights were the Highland Park 18yr and Macallan 10yr, hopefully two items I’ll be picking up to add to my collection soon! Special thanks to Mike Green who displayed a great amount of knowledge of the whiskies on offer, and hopefully I’ll get to see both himself and Maxxium in the near future with their wide range in their portfolio.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting will be hosted by Moet & Hennessy Distillery. On offer will be –

– Glenmorangie Lasanta
– Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben
– Glenmorangie Nectar D’or
– Ardbeg 10yr
– Ardbeg Uigeadail
– Ardber Corryvreckan

Check out Kro’s website here – http://www.kro.co.uk/

Take a look at Maxxium Brands website here – http://www.maxxium.co.uk/

You can purchase the above whiskies here – http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

The Liquorist Trails Review

During the Manchester Food and Drink Festival last month, a Manchester based company named The Liquorists held 3 different trails around the many bars and restaurants Manchester has to offer. The Liquorists themselves are Jody Monteith and Tom Sneesby, 2 guys who know everything and anything about drinking in Manchester, so ideally the perfect hosts for 2 nights of exploring!

Due to commitments for the London Cocktail Week, I missed out on their ‘Trail of the Flowing Bowl’ which involved some of the city’s best rum bars. Never one to become distraught over missed opportunities, I signed myself up for their ‘Nominees Trail’ on the Saturday. This trail involved visiting a selection of bars and restaurants who were nominated in the festivals awards including best bar, best restaurant and best newcomer.

White Lady - Grill on New York

After gathering in the festival’s hub in Albert Square, Tom lead us to our first stop of the night, Vertigo. The site of the ex. Japanese restaurant Ithaca, it nows houses a modern European menu created by Head Chef Ian Armstrong. Making our way up the stairs to the top floor (the restaurants split over 5 levels), we all gathered round the rooms center bar, where Tom gave us an introduction to what the night had to offer, a little about the company he works for and the drink he was creating in front of us, a Jameson’s whiskey sour. Now I have to admit, I didn’t finish mine. I’m not a fan of whiskey sours but there were plenty of offers in the group to finish it off! We also enjoyed a small beetroot risotto with a herb sour cream to accompany.
After making our way down the flight of stairs, we walked over to Australasia in Spinningfields. Located underground, the entrance looks almost like a shard of glass sticking out of the paving stones. Walking down the flight of stairs, a long, sand coloured room is ahead of you where the seating of the restaurant is, with the bar behind. Here we enjoyed a Grey Goose mix in an Australasian Iced Tea or Fonzerelli’s Punch. Whilst sipping a two rather delightful cocktails, platters of Sushi were brought out (my heart sinking as I’m not the best when it comes to chopsticks!). Rather cunningly, I used the safe bet and re-named the platter ‘finger-food’!

Australasia Pornstar - Australasia

The Alchemist was next on the trail, located just round the corner from Australasia (check out my review on The Alchemist here). The new Bacardi Oakheart was on the agenda, with Oakheart Mojito’s being crafted for us while we enjoyed crispy King Prawns on skewers.  After taking in the wonderous setting, we hopped into a taxi and travelled to The Lowry. Their first floor bar was host to Galliano Ristretto Coffee shots that were handed out to be sipped and savoured, followed by a new creation named the Black Forest Gateaux cocktail. We enjoyed the ‘dessert’ part of the night on the balcony overlooking the River Irwell, while waiting for us inside were chocolate fondant’s with salted caramel, and I can safely say they were being made short work of!
The last bar of the night was a short taxi trip to Blackdog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter. Brugal Golden Mojito’s were created for our arrival as we made our way past the bar to the pool tables. A very sweet Mojito cheesecake finished the offerings off well, with a few games of pool to round off a great evening.

Smokey Old Fashioned - The Alchemist

The next night, The Spirited Ventures trail took place (the theme of the night was that all the restaurants we will be visiting are owned by Living Ventures). Once again, we met in Albert Square and Tom hailed a taxi for us to travel to our first port of call – Grill on New York. A smaller group than the previous night, we were able to sit round one of the restaurants circular tables, and enjoyed the cocktail White Lady. The drink called for the use of  Oxley gin, Cointreau and lemon juice to create a great appetizer! Duck spring rolls were brought out for us to compliment while we introduced ourselves to each other and Tom talked a little about The Liquorists and Living Ventures.
Grill on the Alley was next up, just a short taxi ride away off Deansgate. Sitting next to the bar on high tables and boothed-like seating, we were served a PPP Caiproska (pepper, Pernod and passion fruit) and Thai fish cakes, both being given thumbs up by the group! Live music entertained us from a far, with the restaurant bustling both upstairs and down. A short walk to Australasia (see above for last nights visit) culminated in an Australasia Pornstar with the use of Grey Goose vodka and a range of Sushi to tickle the taste buds. 

PPP Caiproska – Grill on the Alley

Unfortunately, Living Ventures new restaurant, The OastHouse was not completed by the time the Manchester Food and Drink Festival rolled around, so we made our way round the corner to The Alchemist for two different offerings in the same bar. Hot Cognac laced mulled wine was a great winter warmer on a chilly night, with chicken skewers being brought out as we sat on the Union Jack leather couches at the end of the bar. Now me being me, i talked about one of The Alchemist most popular drinks, the Smokey Old Fashioned, pretty much all night. Low and behold, a tray of Makers Mark Smokey Old Fashioned’s were place on our table! Fantastic! A round of applause was given to our host as he had to scoot off to help de-construct their tent at the festival hub, while we finished the night sipping and enjoying our Old Fashioned’s, Cognac muld wine and some tasty looking mini burgers.

Two very good nights were enjoyed by all, with Tom showcasing the best that Manchester has to offer in a relaxed, yet almost without knowing it, busy night. Hard to believe by the end of one night, you’ve enjoyed 5 bars, 5 fantastic cocktails and 5 different light-bites.

The Liquorists are hosting a Vodka Trail next, and you can bet you’ll see me on that one!

Check out The Liquorists website here or here

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

The Alchemist Review

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the Manchester area, and one place that keeps getting a mention is a bar that ‘is proud to stay true to the principles of bartending’. They name themselves The Alchemist, and their situated in the busy Spinningfields area of Manchester.

They were in the running for the title of ‘Best Bar’ in last month’s Manchester Food & Drink Festival awards, it utilises a corner section of one of the buildings, where you enter to be greeted by a range of friendly staff (a touch which I feel needs to be standard in all restaurants and bars). I made my way to the bar and was handed both a food and drinks menu to scour through, although my attention was diverted to their rather impressive back-bar of spirits and wines! I like my passion fruit in drinks so I plumped for a Passion Fruit Meringue Martini (£5.95), which boasted a mix of Russian Standard vodka, passion fruit liqueur, passion fruit syrup, lemon mix and culminating in flambéed meringue foam. The finish product looked very impressive, with their policy of ‘staying true to the principles of professional bartending’ shining through in their creating of the meringue. The drink itself was rather light and well balanced, with a hint of sweetness on the palate lingering on the after-taste (great for my sweet-tooth!).

Passion Fruit Meringue Martini

While I was enjoying the Martini in the comfort of their old fashioned Union Jack leather sofas, my Chicken Tandoori Wrap (£6.75) arrived with a good portion of crispy fries to go with. The dish looked ample to someone who was after a bite to eat instead of a full lunch, and with a pot of sour cream sauce to compliment, I can safely say it went down a storm! The chicken wasn’t too overpowering in its flavour, and there was a good wrapping of salad to boost your 5-a-day. Too often I’ve eaten wraps where the chicken has cooked the salad that comes with it, but this seemed to be spot on. It’s as if the chefs have the same policy as the bartenders – attention to detail.

Whilst enjoying a Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva over ice, I took in the surroundings that The Alchemist has to offer. There’s no shortage of places to sit, with a long perch table along the window as well as comfy leather bar stools and scattered tall tables close by. The restaurant itself is situated at the end of the bar (although you are more than welcome to eat at any of the bar tables) with simple traditional dark wooden square tables leading around the side. Their use of lighting is a noticeable feature too, with snow lights falling from each large windowpane, which at night must look the part from both inside and out. The bar has small lanterns hanging from the ceiling in a range of different lengths and theirs a sign of The Alchemist on the wall that surprisingly doesn’t look out of place.

Chicken Tandoori Wrap

The bar itself is also a sight for any professional bartender to get a little bit giddy over! A spirit collection that includes Chase vodka, Elements 8 rum, Martin Millers gin, a range of Patron tequila and my personal favourite of Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva are all below small alcoves of the wine selection that stretches the length of the bar. Highlights of the list include Johnson Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (£25.95 or £6.20 / £8.85 for a 175ml / 250ml) for the whites, a Castillo de Clavijo Rioja Reserva (£21.95 or £7.35 / £5.25 for a 175ml / 250ml) in the red section and for the rosé drinkers a ‘classy and seductive’ Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Rosardo (£23.95 or £8.15 / £5.70 for a 175ml / 250ml). Their range of wines start at the £13 bracket and rising to £42 for those special night outs. Champagne and Prosecco are also available with brands such as Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label (£65), Prosecco Doc Bel Star (£23.95) and Dom Perignon 2002 (£135) chilled for you to enjoy. Cocktails are also a main attraction here, with the menu divided into 6 main categories. Depending on the style of drink your after, there’s no shortage of options and ideas. The list includes ‘Artisan’ (hand-crafted) cocktails from The Alchemist’s very own bartenders, molecular techniques involving smoke, foam and fruit dust and a rather interesting concept that includes the use of flavoured caviar. One that caught my eye was the Maple Manhattan. Woodford Reserve is stirred into Antica Formula (red vermouth), aromatic bitters and grapefruit zest. It’s then topped with lemon and maple syrup foam! Non-alcoholic cocktails are also available with a good selection of teas and coffees to finish your visit off.

This is a superb place to visit, whether its for a drink and catch-up with friends, meeting with clients or enjoying a 3 course meal from their menu (the fillet steak fajita sounds like a winner!)

Check out The Alchemist website here – http://www.thealchemist.uk.com

 

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