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

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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. 

Address;

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

Image by Georgie Glass / www.georgieglass.co.uk / @georgieglass_

The Winning Formula: Antica Formula Launches Cocktail Competition

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Bartenders from across the UK will put their mixology skills to the test in a cocktail competition showcasing the versatility of Antica Formula, the original Italian vermouth.
At stake is the chance for four regional winners to enjoy an exclusive VIP trip to Milan to visit the Fratelli Branca Distillery, where Antica Formula is still made to the original 1786 recipe.

With Antica Formula a key ingredient in three much-loved cocktails – the Negroni, Americano, and Hanky Panky – entrants will need to demonstrate their knowledge of the heritage and character of the iconic red vermouth.

UK distributor Hi-Spirits is inviting bartenders to create their own aperitivo recipe based on one of the four classics. The drink must either feature on the cocktail menu or as a special at their bar. The shortlisted finalists will be invited to compete at four regional events in Scotland, London, the North West and the Midlands, where they will be asked to:

• Make three of their chosen cocktail from the Negroni, Americano and Hanky Panky; the drinks will be made individually and contestants judged on consistency;
• Make the cocktail which they originally submitted to the competition.
The four regional contests will be decided by a panel of judge headed by Nicola Branca, world ambassador for Antica Formula. Judges will be awarding points for drinks that reflect the tradition and strengths of Antica Formula, as well as the contestants’ technical skills.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Antica Formula is at the heart of some of the world’s best-loved cocktails. We’re not only inviting the UK’s top bartenders to show that they can make the classics expertly and consistently, but also that they have the skill and ingenuity to create an aperitivo of their own as a twist one of these great cocktails.”

The competition opens on 1 May, and entrants have until 31 July to enter their aperitivo recipe online at http://www.Hi-Spirits.com/competitions, where full terms and conditions can be found. The regional finals will be held between 4 and 8 September, with the winners heading to Milan later in September.

• Antica Formula is the classic Italian red Vermouth, sweet and with a subtle vanilla aroma. It was created by Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the inventor of the Vermouth category, in 1786. Made by Fratelli Branca Distillerie with a selected infusion of mountain herbs and spices, including saffron, Antica Formula is produced in limited quantities and sealed with a cork in a distinctive brown bottle which includes a reproduction of the original 1786 label. As well as an essential ingredient in many classic cocktail, Antica Formula is ideal to drink over ice with an orange wedge, both as an aperitivo or after dinner.

For more information, contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com, or visit http://www.hi-spirits.com.

The Buffalo Trail Stopped For Food At Hawksmoor

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Last week, the Buffalo Trace Trail came into Manchester as it meanders its way across the UK. Working alongside restaurants within key cities such as London and Liverpool, UK Buffalo Trace Brand Ambassador Tim Giles hosted an evening at the ever-popular Hawksmoor, a venue that Time Out has said is “a place to blur day with night over cocktails and the country’s finest meat”.

With a focus on their 2015 Antique Collection, including expressions such as Eagle Rare, Sazerac and Thomas H Handy, the team at Hawksmoor came up with a fantastic menu, complimented by Buffalo Trace serves from the bar team.
Starters included short-rib nuggets with kimchi, fried oysters with tartar and roast beetroot salad with Dorstone, enjoyed with a serve named ‘Zenith of Man’ which saw Buffalo Trace paired with Pimento Dram, PX, apple and mint.

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Tim (l) and Ross (r)

Entwined between courses was a short look into Buffalo Trace by both Tim and Ross Thompson of Buffalo’s UK distributor Hi-Spirits, before indulging into the main course of a Hawksmoor burger with Ogleshield, triple cooked chips and vinegar slaw, showed off with a serve from the bar named ‘Trace It Back To Bill’, which saw Buffalo Trace roast plum and pepper syrup, soda and lemon come together.

For pudding, a delicious honeycomb sundae paired with with the ‘Trailblazer’; Buffalo Trace, Tawny port, Chartreuse and bitters that worked well to finish the evening in style.

Well I say style.

Tim and Ross introduced the 2015 Antique Collection by Buffalo Trace. 5 expressions of highly commended and award-winning liquids, with enough for one or two drams to really finish the evening!

An evening such as this really got the audience in attendance looking at Buffalo Trace in a different way, as the 3 courses by Hawksmoor worked perfectly with the Buffalo Trace serves created by the bar team (special thanks to Richie West and Anthony Hogan). With a look at the Antique Collection, it really made the evening a special one, and a potential break of the bank as I now search for a bottle of the Thomas H. Handy!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.