A Look At Garden Of Earthly Delights At Elixir, Tonics & Treats

Elixir Camper Van

This week saw one of the relatively new bars to hit Manchester launch its summer drinks menu with a ‘The Garden of Earthly Delight’s’ theme. Not one to just hope for the best, Elixir Tonics & Treats showed off their creations for a two-hour period on a warm Friday evening, allowing friends and VIP’s to sample and experience. But it wasn’t just their new menu that was to be launching that evening, but also their new event and exhibition space, located underneath the main floor.

To the new menu first.


Favourites such as the Apollo Daiquiri have been saved onto the new version, and is now nestled between names such as Rambling Bramble (£9 – white grain spirit, juniper and sage syrup, lemon juice and a float-your-own Chambord miniature) and The Bee Keeper (£9.50 – gin, apple liqueur, honey, apple and lemon juice). A simple, yet perfect summer cocktail had to be the Forget-Me-Not (£10.50 for mini-pro’s, £14.50 to share). A blend of violet liqueur, lavender syrup and Prosecco with a blackberry garnish offered something a little more perfumed to the usual sparkling option. I must say though, what do you think the setting would be to enjoy one of these? Garden? Terrace? Pool? How about something that the team at Elixir Tonics & Treats decided to conjure up – a fitted out camper van! Parked outside the venue on Deansgate, Manchester, the Caribbean-esque feel to the inside made it the perfect place to enjoy the starter cocktail to the evening.

The camper van became my home for the second cocktail to sample too, the Jasmine Cascade (£8.50). This came with a dose of BLOOM gin, green Chartreuse, jasmine syrup, lemon and apple and complete with a sprig of rosemary to garnish. For effect, and to be fair garnish as well, it came equipped to be cascaded over dry ice and billowing jasmine aromatic oils. Subtle flavours, well-rounded, with the drink not being out-done by the theatrics.

Flutter Bye
Flutter Bye

One signature that Elixir Tonics & Treats have accomplished since their opening has been the accompaniments to their creations. Whether it’s stress balls or mini elixirs to change your mood, they’ve offered something that relates to the drink in hand. This has become more evident with the likes of the Flutter Bye (£8). A coupette glass nestled on a patch of grass, complete with edible chocolate ladybird and butterfly attached to the side. The drink itself is a compliment of flavours. Stolichnaya Citrus, elderflower & rose liqueur, egg white and apple juice work perfectly to create a velvet texture on the palate. Light, refreshing and aesthetically pleasing.

I mentioned in my review of Elixir Tonics & Treats last year that the bar was to be exactly what Manchester needed. Unique, different and just that little bit of quirky that consumers are after sometimes. Refreshing the menu is always a hit, but can ultimately just become a phase. Elixir Tonics & Treats new one though, has plenty to talk about, and many intriguing recipes to try. They entice you, which is surely what you want when choosing somewhere to go?

Speaking of choosing somewhere. Are you, or will you, be looking for an event space to hold a shindig? Look no further than beneath the floors of Elixir Tonics & Treats! A large, spacious floor can be converted to accommodate your needs and budget. Launched as of this week, they have been showing off the various options, including bar sizes and opportunities, seating set-outs and audio / visual availability. It’s worked for me, it’s the space I’ll be using to host my annual Liquor Market in September. It ticks all the boxes I need to run a successful event, so I can only imagine that you will go away impressed if you ever get the chance to check it out.

Make sure you do it with a cocktail in hand too.

For more photos from the re-launch, please visit my Facebook page.

© 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.


Australasia Review

Australasia - Smokey Old Fashioned

If you’ve ever ventured into the Spinningfield’s area of Manchester you’ll notice many a bar and restaurant serving businessmen, ladies who lunch or myself propping the bar up as I dive through the drinks menu. One such time happened last week, at a rather well-known yet unknown venue named Australasia. I say unknown due to its rather unique entrance – a triangle shard of glass sticking out of the ground with a door leading to a staircase. I remember I use to pass without realising it was there, and bewildered when it first opened of where this place was. Now I’m familiar, and after a chance meeting with the venues new BDM Gill Andrews and Bar Manager Jenny (of the Hilton’s Cloud 23 fame), I can report back to you all with wonderful memories.

As mentioned, I’ve been here before and have always kicked myself for not coming back many a time since, but with whispers of their new cocktail menu arriving shortly, coupled with food and wine menu revamp too, Australasia is breathing new life into their underground den. The drinks menu itself is simple, no descriptions, just names only. Daring but it works because the bartenders have to work to sell you a drink. You feel looked after knowing that the gentleman or lady behind the bar actually knows their stuff, the ingredients within and why you will love each and every one of them.

Oh, and also how to make them consistent.

Round The Twist
Round The Twist

For example, the Smokey Old Fashioned. A base of Woodford Reserve coupled with maple syrup and bitters over an ice ball. Smoke, courtesy of oak chips via a chemical flask, adds the sense of magic to the drink, as well as aromas which linger even when the smoke has cleared. Fantastic, and I’ve only ever had them from their fellow Alchemist. Consistency really is the key for these kind of places.

A couple of other new delights to wet your appetite over the next few months include Bushfire and Alice Spring Punch. Bushfire has the combination of Grey Goose Citroen, Benedictine, fresh grapefruit, lemon juice and sugar syrup with a good sprig of thyme soaked in Sunset Very Strong Rum and lit. Slightly sour for my liking as I’m a man with a sweet tooth, but the freshness made this a winner for me. The herbal Benedictine and grapefruit mix well with the citrus flavours, and the hint of the Sunset rum gives it a slight kick if sipped. Alice Spring Punch blended Russian Standard vodka with lychee purée Briottet lychee liqueur, Monin Hibiscus, fresh lemon and topped with Australian ‘Champagne’. A lovely tangy hit from the Australasian ‘Champagne’, with the hibiscus and lemon punching well against the double dose of lychee and vodka. Fantastic lingering sweetness too.

The highlight of my visit for me personally came in the form of a short drink named Round The Twist. Using Russian Standard vodka, stem ginger purée  fresh lychee, lime juice and velvet falernum, it created a well-balanced, mouth-watering drink that offered freshness with a lingering velvet and lychee flavour.

So the above gives a good idea of what to expect from the Australasia team, but of course some of the staples have been kept including the Pineapple and Jasmin Daiquiri, Ladyboy Martini and The Australian Porn Star (£7.95 each). Coupled with a menu that includes wine, both Champagne and sparkling wines from Australia, New Zealand and England and a good offering of seven Sake to go with your oysters, sushi and tempura delights, Australasia really does cover all the basis that you expect.

As mentioned, new menus are coming out, I’d book yourself in before you miss them.

Check out more photos via my Facebook page.

© 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.