Vogue’s Fashion Night Out at Frog Flowers Review

Susie - Vogue

Fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue came to Manchester last week with their Fashion Night Out event being held for one night only, collaborating with the likes of Manchester heavyweights Selfridges and Harvey Nichols as well as stores such as DKNY and Top Shop. With various drink brands coming on board to showcase their names with fashion designers, I took notice of something a little more intimate.

Frog Flowers is located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, away from the usual trendy places like Deansgate and King Street. Offering Manchester a unique experience in the art of flowers, the florist used its innovative and contemporary ideas that utilised a wide range of flowers & foliage. Working alongside them were Jean Jackson Bridal Wear, a South Manchester staple since the 1980’s. In return, a stunning boutique setting over three floors. Its ground floor offered me the most delight though as Manchester bartender and fashion icon in her own right, Susie Wong, offered her services to create for Frog Flowers three Vogue themed cocktails – Penelope Tree, Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy. The 60’s icons were immortalised in Susie’s creations, with each recipe written on a Vogue magazine cover instead of a menu adding the glamour touch.

Susie Wong
Susie with her Penelope Tree creation

Penelope Tree came in the form of a relatively new gin, City of London, built with The Bitter Truth Violette liqueur, tonic bitters and topped with grape soda. A recipe that Susie took with her to London after impressing the judges at the recent Bitter Truth cocktail competition held in Manchester, she took great pride in showering her creation with glitter and flowers to really set the scene for the evening. Another of her creations, Jean Shrimpton, again had a gin base of City of London, but this time shaken with Cointreau, Blossom Syrups Strawberry and cranberry juice. Helped by fellow bartender Edoardo Arcesi of Epernay, the use of strawberries and orange gave a fantastic aromatic floral nose, and came complete with a peacock resting on top. Her last creation was a simple affair, putting together Cointreau and The Bitter Truth orange flower water and topping it with Fentimans Rose Lemonade, complete with a lollipop!

With a display of spirit bottles being utilised to not only show-off Susie’s creations, but also adapted to be a part of the venues display-works (see the photos from the link below), Frog Flowers showcased the very best of the boutique styles that Manchester has to offer and display them in a way that only they seem to create. Having Susie come on board make perfect sense, with myself enjoying many a cocktail from the lady in the past, her style and approach to her creations doesn’t surprise me in her being a part of one of the biggest fashion nights out in the UK.

See, it’s not just the big boys who come out to play on these nights. And I mean that in both ways. Well done to Susie, David of Frog and the team at Jean Jackson.

Check out the rest of my photos via my Facebook page. Also see snaps from the official photographer Danielle Boxall.

© 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.

City of London Tasting Notes

COLD

As mentioned in previous articles of late, England is on a role in the gin category, with many a distillery popping up in the past few years to showcase there brand to the gin-loving public. One of these distilleries is the City of London Distillery (or COLD for short), and have done things a little differently than the rest.

How different though?

Well first of all, the site of the City of London Distillery is not where you’d expect it to be located. Amongst Bride Lane near Blackfriars is a basement. A basement that holds both a distillery AND a fully functioning bar. And separating the two? Windows. So you can have a drink whilst watching Master Distiller Jamie Baxter hard at work to create his citrus based gin. Impressive to think that behind you is the gin that you’re drinking being created. I’ve always said to people that if you ever get the chance to go to a distillery, take in everything you see. It puts everything into perspective of the spirits you enjoy, and it’s very rare to come across one that has a bar so close to the action.

COLDJamie got himself into the business of City of London Distillery after meeting venue owner Jonathan Clark back in April 2012, who had an idea of creating a venue in which the story of gin could be told from beginning to end. With Jamie’s expertise (he established Chase distillery) and Jonathan’s vision, they set to work over the next seven months to renovate the basement and fit the two stills inside, thus making it the first distillery in the City of London for more than 200 years. The two stills house and create two different spirits – vodka and gin. The neutral spirit is bought in from an outside source (as with most other producers), but Jamie is on hand to create a rectified vodka, and then using the vodka as a base, the now available City of London dry gin. 15th November of 2012 saw the first time that Jamie was able to start his distillation process, despite the bar being open to the public before-hand for a few hours a day.
Jamie and Jonathan recruited the London Bar Consultants to run the gin-heavy bar, with a range of tonics and garnishes it’s a great chance to explore the gin category. A cocktail menu of gin cocktails is available, alongside a couple of non-gin based creations to cater for all. 

The City of London dry gin itself has seven botanicals – juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, liquorice root, fresh orange, fresh lemon and pink grapefruit. But how do they fare when housed within Jamie’s creation? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes – 

City of London Dry – 40%

Lots of flavours on the nose, with citrus, dry herbs and liquorice most noticeable. The palate enjoys a spicy start, with a sharp, bold, rich flavour of liquorice and grapefruit zest. Develops a long, warm finish, that’s slightly dry. A cracking gin to enjoy on its own.

City of London dry gin is a great addition to any experience in your favourite bar. Expect to find this in not only the gin palaces, but in the more broader ranges of back-bars, or even in your own drinks cabinet. Jamie and Jonathan have done an excellent job in not only turning around a former comedy club in 7 months, virtually by hand, but creating and winning rave reviews for their small-batch brand. I can’t see this going away any time soon.

© 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.