Last week I got the opportunity to go to a bloggers event at the Copthorne Hotel, Salford Quays for an evening masterclass in cocktail making. The event was hosted by ‘Toast of the Town’ and Manchester was it’s first stop in several major towns and cities in the UK. The idea of the evening was to not only learn how to make cocktails, but for each person to make, name and decorate their own cocktail that they thought perfect described the area they were from. The winner would get a free two-night stay in any Millennium Hotel of their choice. Unfortunately, I didn’t win but I had a great night and thought that I would show you a few pictures from the evening and what we got up to.
Upon arrival, we were greater with some wonderful canapés which consisted of a miniature pastry with duck and what tasted like some sort of berry centre, small toasted bread with goats cheese, some aranchini (which I never managed to take a picture of!) and last but not least, some yummy prawns that could be dipped in a fancy sauce and caviar. I also got a raspberry bellini which was a lovely way to start of the evening, it all felt very grown up and suave!
First, we had a little introduction to cocktails and where they were possibly seen first; there’s a reference of them from a letter to an editor in the 1800s. The mixed drinks have three fundamentals; the taste, the appearance and a name, which we were told was important to remember once we made our own at the end of the evening.
If you can’t tell from the name, this drink comes from Kentucky and was supposed drank to cool down on hot days. The main ingredients consist of crushed lime, ice cubes, bourbon, a dash of sugar syrup and topped off with ginger beer in a high ball glass. The decoration for this one is just a wedge of lime and a straw. This had to be my favourite! If When I try it again at home, I’ll probably add a little more sugar syrup as I like a slightly sweeter cocktail.
The Bramble is a lovely twist on the Gin and Tonic. It consists of half a lemon squeezed into the glass, crushed ice, gin, a splash of Creme du Mure and garnished with a blackberry. I only tried a Gin and Tonic for the first time the other week but absolutely loved this twist! It’s so much nice and adds a fruity twist.
Originating in Cuba, the Mojito is one of my personal favourites that I always get when I go out. I’ve tried making them at home but they never really taste that great so it was good to see how they are done properly! They consist of, as most of you will know, half a lime squeezed then popped into the glass, sugar syrup, mint leaves, crushed ice, dark rum and topped off with soda. We garnished it with mint but I always like to add a wedge of lime on the edge of the glass too.
Another classic, the Cosmopolitan was originally created in Miami in the 80s as a girls version of the Martini, something I would like to beg to differ on! It’s made in a coup glass and consists of a quarter of a lime squeezed into the glass, vodka, cranberry juice, sugar syrup and triple sec. Something I’ve never seen done before is lighting the orange peel and squeezing a few drops onto the top of the cocktail. Another favourite of mine and something I definitely want to try at home!
The next fun part of the evening was creating our own cocktail that had to be based on Manchester, hence the name of the evening, Toast of the Town. For mine, I chose to use vodka as a base as I never really used to drink it before I moved here. I decided I wanted to call it Bittersweet Sunshine because Manchester rarely has sunshine and when it does, it never lasts very long! I started off by coating the rim of my glass with honey (to add sweetness) and drizzling a little into the bottom of the glass. I squeezed in half a lemon (for the bitterness aspect), a dash of sugar syrup, 25ml of vodka and then topped up with soda. For me, it was the perfect ratio of sweet and sour.
I didn’t win unfortunately but I loved drinking it afterwards! I think I would try it in a high ball glass too with honey drizzle round the inside of the glass as a coup glass could get fairly messy if you don’t drink it straight away!
It was such a fun evening and I met some other lovely bloggers. I love these kind of events where you can have a chat and meet new people but are also a bit more interactive too. If you were to make a cocktail that represented your town, what would you make and what would you call it?