Friday, 21 February 2014

Cocktail Masterclass at the Alchemist, Manchester.

I've looked into doing cocktail masterclasses before but this is the best value one  I've seen by far, you need to have at least 6 people to book a cocktail masterclass here, it is £25 each and for that you get to make and drink 3 cocktails. The cocktails themselves are about £7.50 so for not much more you get to make them yourself. I managed to get 8 work friends to come but we didn't really know what to expect. We thought maybe we'd be in a room separate from the bar, other cocktail making classes I've heard of are just done at the table and the measures of alcohol are poured out for you ready and you just assemble it but when we got there we were told we'd be doing it at the bar.
 We all sat at bar stools down one end of the bar and Ben the barman made the first cocktail that we'd be doing - the French martini apparently the only reason it's called martini is because of the martini glasses this had vodka, chambord (which is a blackberry liqueur) cranberry juice and sugar syrup topped with a pineapple foam and raspberry dust. We all had a taste so that we know what it's supposed to taste like, It sort of tastes a bit like rhubarb and custard sweets it's delicious, very quaffable! So he talked us through how we'd be making it, using the cocktail shaker and using counting to measure out the liquids - which lead to some differences in measures from one person to the next I think some people were intentionally counting slowly!! Next we each got to go around behind the bar two at a time to make the drinks, I was a bit nervous actually I was convinced that I'd drop it or spill it everywhere but it was such good fun, first measuring it out, then then shaking it, then straining it and the last bit you carefully squirt the pineapple foam out of the pressurised container you had to do it carefully, Ben said I had a good technique at that! I was very proud especially when it looked and tasted just as it should and it was great watching the others take turns at doing it whilst we drank our cocktails.
The next one was a passionfruit mojito, Ben told us all about the origins of the drink and the history behind this cocktail. This was one we made it in the glass with crushed ice, it had Bacardi, lime juice, passionfruit sugar syrup, a dash of soda, mint leaves and passion fruit. Then you use a swizzle stick/ spoon to mix the ingredients around the glass then top with more ice and a passionfruit half. I didn't use as much mint leaves in mine because I'm not that keen. It was really nice and refreshing. It would be great for summer.
The last one, 'Smokey Old Fashioned' we didn't really get to make this one, it's prepared for you and then you just pour it into the glass but it's very impressive. It's made using wild turkey bourbon, maple syrup, Jerry Thomas' bitters, oak smoke poured onto an ice ball. The oak smoke is administered by a really cool appliance it's called a smoking gun you put oak chips in the top and smoke comes out of the end. Obviously we weren't allowed to use it but apparently you can buy them (they are around £60). The cocktail was ok, I'm not a lover of whiskey but it was drinkable and I really liked the smokey flavour and it was actually really nice when I had coca cola put in it for me! 

We were so impressed with the cocktail masterclass, the fact that you got to go behind the bar to do it like a professional!, that you get to do a few different techniques, also that Ben spent so much time with us it was about 2hrs in all and it was very informative.

When the cocktail masterclass finished we decided to have a meal there. I had never had food there before but it was really nice and reasonable too. I had a steak sandwich with salt and pepper fries which was delicious and everyone else's food looked really good too and then I finished off the night with another two cocktails ...a Peach Bellini and a Strawberry Bellini, needless to say I was a bit tipsy by the end of it! 

It was a good night had by all and I would definitely recommend it,

Thanks for reading! 

Abigail x 

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