Ryan Hayes samples Rosso Bar & Restaurant’s 5@5 cocktail menu: 5 cocktails, £5 each, available from 5pm
Rosso restaurant is grandly situated at the top of King Street. With a glamorous interior and welcoming staff, we decided to see if the cocktails on offer as part of Rosso’s 5@5 menu measure up to the place’s general demeanour.
The latest trend in many of Manchester’s bars is to impress clients with overly flamboyant displays of skill whilst whisking up cocktails. Despite the grand décor, Rosso’s mixologists don’t try to put on any sort of front, they simply exude a quiet confidence and let the drinks speak for themselves…and there is no need for the fire brigade to be on standby.
With a nod to the 1950’s glamour of the series Mad Men, the presentation of these drinks have an essence of minimalism and encapsulate an authentic Italian take on the classics.
I began my tasting session with a ‘Capri Collins’ – limoncello is drizzled over house made lemon sorbet a nd then doused in Gin. It was wonderfully refreshing. So eager was I to quench my thirst with this, I had already taken a sip before the photo!
Next up, the ‘Rossini’ (Rosso’s take on the popular Bellini) reminded me of a favourite childhood sweet, I’ll let you try it and discover which one. Perhaps too easy to drink. .!!
No cocktail menu would be complete this summer without an Aperol offering! Rosso’s creation blends the Italian liqueur with grapefruit infused vodka and bitters In their ‘Pompelmo Sour’ topped with grapefruit juice and egg white, to get that lovely head.
It’s hard to choose, but my favourite from the 5@5 menu was the ‘Strawberry, Basil, Balsamic Mojito’ which screamed Italian vigour. It is prepared with house made Basil Strawberry Gomme and a touch of Balsamic Galliano. The manager, Sasha, believes that you should picture yourself drinking this by the Mediterranean sea, soaking up the rays, wearing a gold medallion (you get the jist) enjoying an authentic Italian drink. The beauty of this is…you can enjoy it right here in Manchester!
The impressive variety and depth of quality present on the back bar highlights the calibre of the drinks that Rosso endeavour to serve their customers. Even the house spirits used in the £5 cocktails on the new menu are of an excellent standard, such as Kettell vodka. After sampling all of the drinks on the £5 menu Sasha allowed me to sample some more from other parts of the menu. Surprisingly, this demonstrated to me that the only difference between the £5 and the regular menu is the price. Quality is definitely the objective for any cocktail mixed under Rosso’s grand dome.
I was eager to sample the intriguing ‘Elder Statesman’. Beautifully presented with coffee beans, a Sambuca (don’t let that put you off) based drink, perfectly balanced with pear liqueur and muddled strawberries.
I rounded up the evening with a final tasting from the main menu – ‘The Left Blank Sling’. I asked for a particular spirit, St Germaine, and the manager shook me up this. It’s beautiful soft elderflower and lemony tones had an elegance that perfectly summarised my experience.
Rosso’s 5@5 menu is available Monday-Friday 5-8pm.
Rosso Restaurant & Bar, 43 Spring Gardens, Manchester. M2 2BG