It’s been a busy month with lots of events, tastings and experiences to write-up about!
I apologise if posts of the events are not being displayed as quickly as they have done in the past, time has escaped me all too often lately! But I’m catching up and hopefully within the next week I should have the following articles up and ready for you all to enjoy –
The Liquorists Nominees and Spirited Ventures Trails from the Manchester Food & Drink Festival reviews
Elbow Beer tasting notes
Alchemist Dreams review
Glengoyne 10, 17 and 21yr tasting notes
Photos from the London Cocktail Week
Maxxium whisky tasting at Kro2 review
So with all this to look forward to, make sure you sign up to my e-mail subscription located on the home page.
Friday the 7th was the start of the annual Manchester Food & Drink Festival which was centred around the town halls Albert Square as well as a variety of bars and restaurants in the city centre. To start the festival off, the Greater Manchester Real Ale and Veltins Oktoberfest had their tents ready to promote a good range of local and international ales, cider and even a hog roast on a rainy morning! So with all this in mind, myself and a friend of mine made our way there to experience the best the North West has to offer!
First up for me was the Stockport based Robinsons and their Double Hop (5%) which was rich, with a good balance of hops bitterness and flavour. A citric yet malty finish lingered around with a slight dryness. This was a great starter ale and an easy drinker!
My friend enjoyed a Ginger and Cinnamon Warm Cider which went down very well. Not too sure what the recipe was but I imagine it was the simplicity of mixing ginger, cinnamon and apple cider together! Crazy I know but it works well on a rainy Friday!
Whilst she was finishing off the ginger ale, I tried Chorlton’s Marble Brewery ‘Manchester Bitter’ (4.2%). A very light ale with fruity aromas with a slight sweetness on the palate. Great for my sweet-tooth!
We decided to have a walk around what else the festival had to offer and made our way to the main marquee called the ‘Gastro Room’ which held the Chilli Lovers fair. Local producers mixed with Manchester restaurants to showcase exciting dishes as well as samples of various chilli sauces. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of chilli so I’m unable to tell you how this part of the day went, but I can tell you that Kro bar (a Danish venture based in Manchester) had themselves a stall and were creating cocktails involving chilli! Ever one to try something new, we both bought two chilli based drinks – La Vida Loca and Absolut Redhead.
The La Vida Loca had pineapple juice shaken with Sailor Jerry and chopped chillies whilst the Absolut Redhead had Absolut Pepper, freshly squeezed lime topped with lemonade and grenadine. Both two very fiery cocktails, especially the Absolut Redhead with its good dose of pepper vodka!
With fire in our mouths we wandered down to St Anne’s Square where there were pop-up stalls selling everything from pastries, fudge, curry and chocolate. One stall that caught my eye was hosted by the Snowdonia Cheese Company, with a rather interesting product named Amber Mist. Why was it interesting? Its whisky cheese! I’m yet to fully try this, but expect a review as soon as I do!
This capped off a great day at the festival, with thumbs up from both myself and my friend!
I’ll be writing up reviews on two trails organised by The Liquorists that were conducted as part of the Food and Drink Festival so stay tuned!
Check out the following sites for more information on the brands mentioned –
Unfortunately due to work commitments, I was unable to participate in the launch of Bacardi’s new spiced rum – Bacardi Oakheart. The event was hosted by the Manchester based ‘The Liquorists’ in the setting of the BlackDog Ballroom in Northern Quarter. My two friends, who I was to be attending with, went along and below are their reviews on how the night went on –
Free Spiced Rum Masterclass and Introduction to all things Rummy!!!
This event was based at the BlackDog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. The Drinks Enthusiast representatives were warmly greeted at the entrance of the bar by a member of The Liquorists who directed us to a private room where the rum tasting was to take place.
First impressions were very impressive as The Liquorists had obviously put a lot of effort into the atmosphere by providing candle-lit lighting, mellow music and lots of Bacardi Oakheart rum advertisements around premises.
Straight away we were greeted by a cheerful bartender who instantly provided us with a Bacardi Oakheart rum, coke and lime which for want of a better word was awesome. The fact it was served in a Bacardi glass was a nice touch as well.
Because we hadn’t attended an event by The Liquorists team before we really didn’t know what to expect and was happy to find out that we would be trying a variety of spiced rums whilst being given a thorough overview of the rum-making process, its origins and how it has developed into the modern world.
The information was very interesting and was well presented by such an enthusiastic host and worked well in tandem with the dispensing of beverages.
After a short break, our host then involved the participants with a fun exercise where we blindly tasted four rums and evaluated their attributes based on distinct categories including: its “woodyness”; “citrisity”, “fruityness”, “spice” and “nuttiness”.
This process was conducted by a group vote on a scale of 1-5 (but in some cases up to eight) 1 being low and 5 high. After all votes were in for each category the host was able to complete a radar chart/spider diagram for each individual rum to see how well-balanced the flavours are.
This was an extremely fun exercise and in some cases acted as a deterrent for sub-standard spiced rums and in addition save on unwanted purchases.
It was highly evident that the Bacardi Oakheart rum was the most successful as it had an overall balanced flavour range and was favourable to all participants (which made the night’s objectives successful). Lambs Navy Spiced Rum and Sailor Jerry’s were also appreciated, but Morgan’s Spiced was reviewed very badly with its dominant vanilla flavour, and as our host described it: “like drinking death”.
The session ended after three hours with a final round of Bacardi Oakheart rum, coke and limes which we drank whilst listening to the host promoting the next drinking courses available (http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/event/mfdf-and-the-liquorists-present-manchester-spirit-trails/).
Overall the event was a very exciting and enjoyable experience and has encouraged us to attend scheduled future events, especially with people who appreciate rum to the level that we do!
Review by Gary Clough
Rum Tasting Review
I should probably start by saying I have never been to any kind of alcohol tasting event before and so had no idea what to expect – but I jumped at the chance for the rum tasting session. I know BlackDog Ballroom quite well as a drinking venue, the bar was made even friendlier by the welcome from Tom and Jody who both work for the company The Liquorists.
The event kicked off with a bit of a chat and a couple of Bacardi Oakheart Cuba Libres – large shot of rum, topped up with coke and two good twists of lime – the result was refreshing and very tasty, and already knew that the Bacardi was going to live up to expectations. Not too sickly with vanilla like some spiced rums, but carried a lot of flavour.
As the evening went on, Tom explained the history of rum and Bacardi – a very interesting story. With the explanations of course came the rum tasting – Bacardi Superior White, Bacardi Gold and Bacardi 8 Year Old – each had a story behind it, with the differences between them explained.
After the break, we were given a blind taste test, with flavour wheels to fill in. It was amazing to see the difference between the 4 rums – 2 of which I drink on a regular basis – comparing them made me realise they are not as good as I thought. The all-round favourite was of course Bacardi – and when compared with Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Lamb’s Spiced Rum, it was easy to see why. The flavour is very rounded, making it an easy sipping rum as well as a good cocktail rum, there isn’t the synthetic sickly taste you get with SJ’s and Morgan’s.
All in all, it was a great night, and something I would definitely try out again. I would recommend going to one of these evenings, as they are really interesting and is a chance to try a range of different drinks on an evening out.
Lastly – I would say that Bacardi Oakheart will be my spiced rum of choice when on a night out!!