The Bassano Bar and PizzaExpress To Partner Up in Manchester This Summer

Spiced Nigroni 1_Low Res

The nation’s favourite restaurant chain PizzaExpress and pop-up innovators Bassano Events have joined together to bring ‘The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress’ to Manchester. Opening June 21st at PizzaExpress’s First Street restaurant, the modern Italian cocktail bar concept will be a first for the North of England after it follows last summer’s successful debut for The Bassano Bar and its winning Italian drinks formula within the busy ‘Magic Roundabout’ venue in London’s Shoreditch.

Offering a selected menu that combines a focus on classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers.

Augmenting the much-loved and increasingly broad PizzaExpress menu, The Bassano Bar is keen to promote a range of traditional Italian drinks, including grappa, Italy’s much under-rated national spirit. Originating from Bassano del Grappa in the Veneto region, Nardini is Italy’s most prestigious grappa brand, with the distiller’s home town providing the inspiration for the name of the bar.

Working alongside PizzaExpress, owners of Bassano Events Dave Marsland and Nick Hopewell-Smith have taken the opportunity to bring a flavour of Italian serves to the terrace of First Street, Pizza Express’ newest restaurant in the city, located in one of Manchester’s most dynamic leisure areas.

Dave is a well-known drinks expert and trainer, creating brand agency ‘Drinks Enthusiast’ in 2011, with his own spirits retail business in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist.  A marketing professional with over 35 years experience, Nick is the initiator and creative driver behind The Bassano Bar in London and a specialist importer of Italian spirits and liqueurs from The Nardini Distillery.

With an al-fresco feel to the venue, making use of its natural light and, hopeful, Summer months, The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress will be a welcome addition to the Manchester bar scene.

Opening Hours;

Wednesday-Friday from 5pm – 11pm and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. 


The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, First Street North, Manchester, M15 4FN

Image by Georgie Glass / / @georgieglass_

All Aboard The ‘Aperol Spritz 321 Bus’

Aperol Spritz Social

Aperol Spritz Set To Reward Lucky Commuters For Their Spontaneity

What: Mystery bus journey with Aperol Spritz to a secret celebrity DJ set

When: 20th May 2015

Where: Central London, secret pick-up location to be disclosed to lucky winners


Aperol Spritz will surprise lucky Londoners by inviting them to swap their usual evening commute in favour of boarding a mysterious bus for a 5pm adventure.

In an exciting twist to the daily commute, the ‘321 Bus’ journey will reward passengers for acting spontaneously. Commuters boarding the bus will do so on the promise of a secret celebrity DJ set at the final destination and a supply of Aperol Spritz.

Named after the iconic 3-2-1 Aperol Spritz recipe – 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and 1 part Soda – the experience will launch a summer of activity from the ever-popular aperitif, as it flows through the nation at a series of special events in major UK cities: the ‘Aperol Spritz Socials’.

To apply for a place for you and a friend on the ‘Aperol Spritz 321 Bus’: simply email with your name and phone number.

Please note: Entry will close on Tuesday 19th May 2015, 12:00pm. Applicants will be chosen on a first come first served basis and notified if successful by 16:00 on Tuesday 19th May 2015. Successful applicants will receive further information detailing the bus departure location and pick up time. All passengers will be required to prove they are of UK legal drinking age.

To keep up with all of the action, and be the first to find out about upcoming announcements, visit, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @AperolSpritzUK #ItStartsNow

The Aperol Spritz Social schedule:



Date: Round One

Date: Round Two


Albert Square

14th, 15th & 16th May

4th, 5th & 6th June


Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf

20th, 21st & 22nd May

5th, 6th & 7th August


Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate

10th, 11th & 12th June

15th, 16th & 17th July


Anchor Square

18th, 19th & 20th June

25th, 26th & 27th June


Jubilee Square

2nd, 3rd & 4th July

30th, 31st July & 1st August

More London Cocktail Week Events Announced


  1. Raise a glass with The Ampersand Hotel’s London Cocktail Week Afternoon Tea
  2. Feast on cocktail-inspired pastries including mojito layer cake, pina colada custard tart, bellini chocolate cups, cosmopolitan jelly shots and white russian mini-babas
Available from 4-12 October, £32.50 per person or £44.50 per person with a glass of champagne

  1. Wristband holders can enjoy Apero’s Minnie Cunningham cocktail for £4 – a concoction made with Portobello gin, byrrh & raspberry sour
  2. Enjoy with Head Chef Chris Goldings’ fantastic sharing menu | £30 per person
  3. Located in the original 19th century vault below the luxurious décor of The Ampersand Hotel, Apero offers a taste of the Mediterranean with a tempting menu of sharing plates and cocktails


  1. The King of Soho and Jazz After Dark invite you to discover the Spirit of Soho through one of the world’s most famous blends  – gin and jazz
  2. Pairing Jazz After Dark’s unique acts with the smooth taste of the King of Soho gin, we are bringing this legendary combination to life for what promises to be an unforgettable evening on Greek Street in the heart of Soho

London Cocktail Week wristband entitles you to 1 x £5 cocktail on Thursday 9 October or £5 off admission on Friday 10 + Saturday 11 October

  1. Enjoy 20% off all cocktails at these two London institutions throughout London Cocktail Week
  2. Head to authentic Italian restaurant ORSO for an Aperol Spritz and afterwards simply head around the corner to enjoy classic American cocktails including mint juleps, sazerazs and mojitos

Artisan – Does It Change In A Year?


“There always seems to be something new popping up in the Manchester restaurant scene. New concepts, new ideas, re-vamping tired menus or giving a new lease of life into forgotten venues. These are what seem to define many a city’s food culture. To be fair, nothing against that. It’s what keeps us on our toes – the buzz through social media, word of mouth or a quick e-mail and text after you see the erection of a ‘coming soon’ sign. In Manchester, there is one company that seems to get the most buzz no matter what the concept or idea, and to count their venues to the mid-twenties is an astounding achievement. Living Ventures have proven once again that they can transform even the most quirky of locations into a masterpiece in the form of Artisan.”

You could possibly recognise the above statement. For avid readers of my website, this is taken from my previous visit to Artisan last September, and it’s a statement I still stand by. Why? Artisan is evolving, Living Ventures is evolving. Manchester is evolving.

Bold words perhaps? A visit to Artisan this week could very well prove my point in the coming weeks as the venue opens a second bar within its establishment, following on from the success of opening its original floor plan to accommodate the tipple crowd. That’s not all though. One word could be the buzz of Manchester very soon – Cinema. I will say no more, yet.

The Broken Rose
The Broken Rose

My reason for coming back this time around was a simple one though. I enjoyed the food on my first visit, and it is still spoken about today between me and my partner, and anyone who will listen to me, but my only criticism was to be the cocktails. Good, but not what I would call great. I took on board a recommendation I gave previously, ordering the aptly named The Artisan (£6.95) which involves Green Mark vodka, Aperol, pomegranate, mint and apple juice.
No tin cup in sight, instead a hurricane glass to show off the mint and apple pieces. The Aperol dominates, creating a drink that had a slight sweetness to it, but fresh, red fruit flavours burst, resulting in a slightly dry finish. Perfect for what was a humid evening. My partner (once again, to be called Miss J from here onwards) chose The Broken Rose (£6.50), bringing together Beefeater, rose liqueur, almond syrup, pineapple and lemon juice smashed with rose petals. It looked stunning, yet simple, with the dry nose of the rose petals being a great invitation to sip. The almond and rose create a rich flavour blend, although it was to be a rather short offering. Slightly sweet, but ultimately a good choice.

Skillet of smoked salmon, poached eggs, green vegetables, hollandaise and crushed potatoes
Skillet of smoked salmon, poached eggs, green vegetables, hollandaise and crushed potatoes

The food menu seemed a little sparse compared to our last visit, but by no means did that mean a lack of choice. If you know me well, I do love a menu that offers you more than one dish to salivate over. Artisan gave me several, and it has me itching to come back to try the one’s that I had to cut from my chosen order, the St Louis cut salt and pepper pork ribs with kimchee and coleslaw (£14.95). To back up a little though, Miss J opted for a starter the Braised meatballs in tomato sauce (£5.95), a dish that, she proclaimed in a simple phrase, came with “awesome meat”. She was right too, being enjoyed with a light sauce, steaming hot, fresh and plenty of heavy meat. No light and airy meatballs here.
I went for a simple dish too, the Prawn salad with guacamole (£7.50). Good presentation, but the prawns didn’t taste fresh, and the pairing with guacamole seemed a little pointless, it just didn’t seem to compliment. For the price, I’m afraid it just wasn’t worth it.

To the mains now, and as mentioned, the St Louis cut with pork ribs was to be my chosen champion from within the multiple choices I could have enjoyed, whilst Miss J went for the Skillet of smoked salmon, poached eggs, green vegetables, hollandaise and crushed potatoes (£10.95). Again, both came with some good presentation, with the smoked salmon looking alive with colour, dripping soft poached eggs and creamy hollandaise, giving off rich, warm flavours. The kimchee and home-made coleslaw complimented my St Louis cut in both look and flavour, with the meat being well-seasoned and cooked, giving a dry pepper and herb edge to it all.

Hot chocolate fondant with coconut ice-cream
Hot chocolate fondant with coconut ice-cream

With us both leaving a little room for dessert, the stand-out Hot chocolate fondant with coconut ice-cream (£5.95) came for us each, one with gingerbread ice-cream and the other with salted caramel. Hot, rich and incredibly moorish. A great way to finish the evening.

The food was brilliant, although I do wish I chose another starter. Trial and error though Is what I’ll be putting that down to. The drinks? Well, now I have something to talk about for both sides of the menu. Refreshing, well presented, and above all, tasty. Much better than our last visit, and even though I missed out on the likes of the TwoTone Daiquiri and Cinnaberry, plus classics such as the Negroni and Quick Old Fashioned, I can only imagine that I’ll be impressed upon my next visit, which incidentally will focus on these delights.

Give a place another chance, and you may surprise yourself. I look forward to crawling through the delights within their open planned bar area. Well the chairs and sofas do look like a comfy place to while away an evening. Won’t you join me?

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. 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 Aperol Spritz Social Returns To Manchester

Aperol Spritz Social

The Aperol Spritz Social is set to return to Spinningfields, Manchester on 3rd-6th July with a new look for a long weekend of good times and front row Wimbledon action on the big screen.

Following 2013’s smash-hit success, Italy’s favourite drink once again takes up residence on the Hardman Square Lawns for what is shaping up to be another packed out finals weekend. Retreat from the shops, take in the sun, watch and enjoy after-work refreshments over a game of ping pong.

Enjoy the views of the big screen from the new and exclusive mezzanine level terrace, or sit back and soak up the atmosphere enjoying Aperol’s sparkling 3-2-1 Spritz serve from the comfort of the deck-chairs, bean-bags and lounge-style seating. If you’re heading out on the town after visiting don’t worry about getting grass on your shoes, there is even a completely decked area to keep your dancing shoes clean!

When the tennis ends the live music begins. Expect up-beat funk and brass band ballads from local DJs and musicians to accompany your ice-cold Aperol Spritz and if you’re celebrating with friends jump in front of our live photo wall for an instant reminder of the night.

The Aperol Spritz Social is the perfect spot to meet friends, hang out and immerse yourself in the exciting and cosmopolitan cityscape of Manchester’s richly varied metropolis of culture, shopping and architectural excellence.

Opening Times:

Thursday 3rd July & Sunday – 12noon to 12midnight
Friday 4th July – 12noon to 1am
Saturday 5th July – 12noon to 1am
Sunday 6th July – 12noon to 11pm

The Perfect Serve:

Making Aperol Spritz is as easy as 3, 2, 1 – just get a large wine glass and follow the simple instructions:
Add ice in the glass, then pour in the Prosecco , the Aperol and add a splash of soda. Top with a slice of orange. This serving avoids the Aperol settling at the bottom.

• Ice
• 3 parts of Cinzano Prosecco
• 2 parts of Aperol
• 1 splash of soda
• A slice of orange

Also known as “Spritz Veneziano”, since 2011 Aperol Spritz is listed in the IBA (International Bartending Association) Official Drinks’ list. The IBA Official Drinks section includes the list of cocktails which are selected by the Association as most notable and frequently-made cocktails by professional bartenders around the world.

To keep up to date with Aperol Spritz UK events, competitions and more visit or follow us on twitter @AperolSpritzUK #AperolSpritz #AperolSpritzSocial

Aperol Tasting Notes


Aperol has seen a bit of a resurgence lately, or to be fair, most summers. Why? Their signature serve comes into play and graces many a bar top. But do you really know what it is?

Way back in 1919, the Barbieri brothers presented to the International Fair of Padua a bright orange liqueur named Aperol. With the Italians embracing its bittersweet characteristics, the brothers took full advantage and created advertising campaigns, not only for the outside of bars, but inside too, effectively inviting customers in for an Aperol drink. They also targeted women, creating a campaign that was published in major newspapers expressing the fact that Aperol has a low alcohol content for the fitness conscious.

1950 saw the emergence of a classic twist. Based on the traditional Venetian white wine and soda, Aperol changed the rules and showcased 40 ml Aperol, 60 ml Prosecco and a splash of soda. Speaking of changes, the 1980’s saw Aperol begin to use the Aperol girl within promotional advertising, starting the now historic slogan: ‘I drink Aperol, what about you?’. Another famous phrase coined by Aperol is the 2007 advert with Amanda Rosa Da Silva walking along a row of tables to serve her customers, leading to the ending of ‘Happy Spritz, Happy Aperol’.

With classic ingredients in orange and rhubarb, how does this Italian aperitif fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Aperol – 11%

Light on the nose with soft scents of orange. The lightness continues onto the palate, with originally a sweet offering, before developing a slight bitterness on the finish. Fresh orange is evident, with rhubarb aromas lingering.

A great liqueur on its own, but its most famous for its signature serve –

Aperol Spritz
Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

Glass –


Ingredients – 

3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash of soda

Method – 

Combine together in a glass with ice and garnish with half a slice of orange.

* 1 part = 25 ml

A great summer drink, and indeed all round year drink too. Aperol grows by the year and with its iconic marketing, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Better grab yourself a bottle and join in!

© 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.

Aperol Spritz Social Launches in Manchester

Aperol Spritz-Brighton

Aperol Spritz, Italy’s favourite libation comes to Manchester this June, with a taste of the famously stylish Italian lifestyle in the Aperol Spritz Social at Spinningfields from 24th June to 7th July.

Fast becoming one of the UK’s favourite drinks, the Aperol Spritz Social at Spinningfields will serve the refreshing orange and rhubarb cocktail daily, Sunday to Thursday from 12pm – 12am and Friday and Sunday 12pm -1am.

Coinciding with Wimbledon, tennis fans can take in the action of the courtside on a giant TV screen, while enjoying Aperol’s 3-2-1 Spritz serve from the comfort of Aperol Spritz deck chairs. The pop up bar also offers the ideal retreat from shops, and a great setting to take in the sun, people watch and enjoy post work refreshments over a game of ping pong. Come evening, the Aperol Spritz Stage hosts performances from up and coming musicians from 6.30pm on Friday’s and Saturday’s. The Aperol Spritz Social is set to be the perfect spot to meet friends, hang out and immerse yourself in the exciting and cosmopolitan cityscape of Manchester’s richly varied metropolis of culture and architectural excellence.

2012 saw Aperol Spritz become one of the coolest drink in the U.K.’s hottest bars and restaurants with its taste and flavour of the modern Italian zest for life. Manchester gets a taste of the Spritz Life, with the Aperol Spritz Social popping up in the stylish Spinningfields from Monday 24th June until Sunday 7th July. The Aperol Spritz Social runs in London from 24th June until 29th August at London Wonderground and it will make a welcome return to Edinburgh with the Aperol Spritz Garden at the Assembly Room Fringe from 3rd August until 26th August; delivering individual, fun and refreshing experiences.

To create your perfect 3-2-1 serve fill a large wine glass with ice and pour in:

• 3 parts Prosecco
• 2 parts Aperol
• 1 dash of Soda Water

Garnish with a slice of fresh orange, sit back, relax and enjoy.

To keep up to date with Aperol Spritz UK events, competitions and more visit or
follow us on twitter @AperolSpritzUK #321Spritz
For stockist information visit