When I go out out, which isn’t massively often, I want to go to places perhaps off the beaten track. Perhaps places I haven’t been to before.
I’ve lived in Manchester most of my life, but there is always somewhere new opening up, its just knowing where to choose.
I like my evening to feel special, because I’m not out every weekend.
I want to be able to hold a conversation with the person I’m out with, without shouting. Hell, make that an in depth and interesting conversation. I like to be challenged a little, stimulated even. I’m not out to get blind drunk, I’m out for the experience.
I want to be mostly sat down. If there is food involved I want it to be mouthwateringly tasty.
I want to be entertained. I want to laugh and have fun.
I want to mix with people who agree with all of the above.
So when Tom invited me to sample the new Liquorists cocktail trail I didn’t hesitate to say yes. You see I’ve been on a few of the Liquorists events before and loved every one of them. See here for previous reviews.
This trail is called 5 Drinks That Changed The World, a potted history of some of the oldest and classic cocktails.
The first challenge was to find the meeting venue, Epernay is tucked away in plain sight opposite the Great Northern Warehouse. I’d heard lots about it but never been, I wasn’t disappointed. For a Friday night it was quiet, we were meeting at 6.30 though and because of its inconspicuous location it’s not on the radar for most people.Here we were greeted by Tom and met our fellow cocktail lovers. There was about 12 of us in total which is a great number, as you do end up being jolly friends by the end of the evening.
The plan for the night is to experience the “5 drinks that changed the world” and then some twists on each one. That is a lot of drinking by anyone’s standards. There is water always available on these events, on this one there’s food at Hawksmoor and the walking between each bar, which in the temperatures we’ve been having is enough to sober anyone up.
Our first drink was an Italian classic aperitif cocktail, the Negroni. This was incredibly bitter at first but then turned into a really lovely drink! Turns out an aperitif is designed to excite the taste buds, in preparation for food. This Negroni is made with equal parts of Tanqueray 10 Gin, Regal Rogue and Campari.
We had a twist on the Negroni at Epernay, the Cloudcatcher Negroni, this was actually incredibly sweet (included champagne and cloudcatcher tea syrup) after the original version.
Next stop was Almost Famous in Great Northern for a Rum Punch. I loved both the original Havana Club punch and the twist on it here. The twist version was like drinking the slush at the bottom of a Callipo! The key with punch is to always use the five ingredients Spirit, citrus, sugar, water and bitters.
From there we walked over to Hawksmoor, somewhere I’ve wanted to go since it opened last year.
The Hawksmoor is gorgeous, I was swooning over the reclaimed parquet flooring, the inky black walls and chairs, the old maps of Manchester on the walls. The service is top notch and my dairy and egg allergies we dealt with easily. Both options on the trail are served on brioche which is full of butter, so they sorted me out with alternative bread and I had pulled beef rib on sourdough served with a jug of the MOST AMAZING gravy ever. (FYI- The Short Rib French Dip).
It turns out that the bar of the Hawksmoor has a food menu too which I hadn’t realised previously, a bit less formal, plus you dont need to book and the food is more affordable than the restaurant menu. Needless to say it also has a great cocktail menu too.We enjoyed Martini’s at the Hawksmoor… A dirty dry martini to start- Tanqueray 10, Regal Rogue Daring Dry vermouth, olive brine, garnished with an olive, another perfect Aperitif. After our food we had the Hawksmoor house twist on the breakfast martini including Tanqueray 10, homemade marmalade syrup, lemon and grapefruit a real livener.
I would’ve easily stayed in Hawksmoor for the rest of the evening but not this time. Honestly the bar is gorgeous.
All Star Lanes was our next pit stop for an Old Fashioned, made with Bulleit Bourbon. Despite the blog name I usually find Old Fashioned’s too strong but enjoyed this one. The evening does get a bit fuzzy at this point (surprise surprise!)
We ended our night in Junkyard Golf Club which is a bonkers crazy golf place in Great Northern, this was actually really busy but the great thing about being on the Liquorists trails is that you never queue for a drink, no matter how busy a place is. Massive thumbs up. We had El Dorado rum Daiquiris here and I think we had a twist too which was a swizzle of some sort but I can’t quite remember!
So, a great night.
All my boxes got ticked. At some points I was laughing so hard I nearly cried and I tried new places and despite all I drank I only had a slight headache in the morning.
The Liquorists offer great value for money on these trails, as well as all the other benefits I’ve mentioned. The costs of the trails are between £30- £50 depending on what night you want to go.
Check out the details here.
These aren’t my photos- which I’m sure you guessed anyway,I was having too good a time to take any decent ones!!