Thursday night saw the biggest event in the Manchester mixologists’ calendar as cocktail shakers, movers and makers from across the city descended en masse to the Town Hall.
Fifteen of Manchester’s best bars across the spirit spectrum, from Northern Quarter tiki-tastic lounges Keko Moku and Hula, to Harvey Nichols, Epernay and Cloud 23, showed off their wares and lux libations in the magnificent setting of one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. Under the historic vaulted archways, the crowd wove its way from stall to stall, watching on in merry wonder as bartenders mixed, sliced, shook, stirred and set their creations alight.
I took advantage of one of the tutored tasting sessions with The Liquorists, eager to learn more about rum from Around the World.
We tried five different rums in total: Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum (RRP: £23.00) – often described as “Christmas in a glass”; Atlantico Private Cask (RRP: £49.95) – medium bodied and sweet with creamy toffee and oak on the palate; Trois Rivieres Amber (RRP: £31.00) – with flavours of baked bananas and brown sugar; Pussers Navy Rum (RRP: £30) – produced on the Island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (RRP: £41.00) – a complex, exceptional rum made from almost all sugar cane honey and aged for up to 12 years.
As I sipped shot glass after shot glass, nodding along and pretending that I understood the difference between molasses and cane juice, I found myself becoming increasingly fascinated with the ceiling, with my photos becoming ever more slanted and “artistic”. Er… I blame the (excellent) rum!
Still warm and glowing from the rum, I wandered into the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, complete with bouncy castle, pirate ships and giant bowls of punch.
Then, in the Main Hall, I met up with our lovely editor, Gemma, where we tried a beautiful concoction courtesy of Cloud 23: a mixture of Ron Zacapa Solera Gran Reserva Especial Rum, home-made sherry syrup, Yuzu juice (Japanese citrus) and whiskey barrel-aged bitters, which was paired with smoked chorizo and feta cheese on bread.
After saying a quick hello to the delightful Shrimoyee, who was doing an excellent job of combining business with pleasure representing Yelp Manchester, we had to dash off to the Wreck My Dress launch over in Worsley, but we were glad to have sampled some stunning cocktails in the company of a fantastic mix of enthusiastic drinkers and experts alike.
If you missed the Manchester event, have no fear, there’s still Leeds, Bristol, London and Edinburgh to go!
Leeds: 30th May
Bristol: 5th September
London: 26th September
Edinburgh: 7th November
For further information or to purchase tickets, please visit the website:
Words and images by Alaka Prodhan (@EchoingBronze)