Dave Cartwright accepted the chore of attending Cocktails in the City at Leeds Town Hall last week. Somebody had to do it …
From billows of dry ice to blow torches, superheroes to Sainsbury’s strawberry jam, Leeds’ annual ‘Cocktail in the City’ was a buffet of booze displaying the very best of the cities cocktail joints.
The event at the Town Hall features the top bartenders in Leeds with all their mixological prowess who must create the most impressive cocktail they can and then pit their little Frankensteins against one another.
Beautifully organised by Pink Gorilla the evening mixes cocktail tasting with manicures, massages, DIY cocktail demos and, most importantly to a gluttonous devil like myself, an exquisite feast of Thai cuisine provided by Chaophraya Thai restaurant.
In the main hall it was nice to see some of the bartenders trying out exciting new ways to present their cocktails. In particular The Alchemist used dry ice in conical flasks to create the cocktail laboratory, and Palm Sugar toyed with a spherification technique to make frog spawn like balls which popped in your mouth to release a delightful concoction of cherry and Chivas Regal.
Other highlights included The Botanists English Mojito with it’s Beefeater base – fantastic now the sun’s getting out – and Harvey Nics‘ Lady Marmalade made with smooth Chase vodka.
The end of the night as I remember it (15 cocktails down so credit for remembering anything) rightfully saw The Botanist win a number of awards. It would’ve been lovely to see more of the bartenders experimenting with more adventuresome sciencey presentations, however, the flavours and aromas of all the drinks certainly establish Leeds as a diverse drinking city.
The newbies, Roast and Conch, Blind Tyger and The Pit amongst others deserve recognition. They go to prove the local cocktail market is on the up (to be fair, I have probably contributed more than my share to that development) and it is encouraging some radical recipes, a fresh flare and an exciting energy which pulls both national and international punters. Long may it continue! … and to all who shook, poured, cooked and schmoozed, my horrendous hangover at work the next day was worth it just to taste all of your delectable creations.