Tequila was the drink of the day a few weeks back, with TV celebrity Cleo Rocos bringing her brand AquaRiva to Manchester’s The Liquorists as she hosted her first ever cocktail competition for the North’s bartenders. The Brazilian judged competitors from the likes of Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester, with Room on King Street going for twice the luck in sending two of their craftsmen down to impress. Cielo Blanco in Leeds were the eventual victors, with main man Fred Kavanagh coming out on top. Mullen Bartending held the latest round in their unique M-League for the Northern Quarter, with Bluu hosting the French styles of G’Vine gin. Winning the round this time was TV21, outlasting the likes of Bluu themselves, Tusk and Walrus

Speaking of the Northern Quarter, The Blue Pig re-launched themselves with a lick of paint, a new food and drink menu and a trip to Paris! Its Parisian styles have been boosted, with the food taking a more Northern Quarter edge, and the cocktails looking at both the classics and new-age twists, with added blue to one for The Blue Pig’s house creations. I won’t tell you what it is, just get yourself down!

The inaugural Liquor Market, created by myself, was launched at the tail end of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, and held at the swanky Rosylee Tea Rooms in Stevenson Square. Focusing on the more artesian spirits in the world, the likes of Sloane’s, Old J Spiced, Lighthouse, Broken Shed, Davna, Old Grog and Esprit de June were showcased to the public in the stunning upstairs space of the new venue. With plenty to choose from, and the chance to take a few bottles home with you, public reaction has been calling for the same again next year. Watch this space!

Eccles have finished off their Cake Festival, with a special cocktail created by myself to help give a different edge to the famous Eccles cakes. Named the Eccles CakeTail, it uses El Dorado rum, water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and Fentimans Ginger Beer. 

Eccles Cake Trail

Cocktails were also the order of the day at 2022NQ as Captain Manchester launched his new comic book at the Forever Manchester party, with G’Vine and 1724 tonics given to all attendees. Tequila cocktails also made a comeback at Apotheca as I held an Excellia Food and Drink pairing evening last week to promote the versatility of tequila and dispel the myths! All three expressions were matched with food from Dough, and cocktails by three of Apotheca’s team. With attendees including the recently launched Manchester Bar School, Apotheca were the perfect venue to truly dive into this cracking tequila!

Excelia Tequila

Another perfect venue came in the form of the Bridgewater Hall as it hosted the last of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival’s events – The Whisky Lounge’s Manchester Whisky Festival. Seeing the likes of The Macallan, Talisker, Bowmore, Grants and Highland Park available amongst boutique brands and special editions gave the crowd at least one they will enjoy! Founder Eddie Ludlow himself rode the wave of the TV hit Breaking Bad with creation ‘The Bomb’ on sale. You might want to Google The Whisky Lounge site to see what I’m on about!

So plenty has happened these past few weeks, with a stack more events coming up including the Corn Exchange Drinks Emporium, cocktail competitions, Sake evenings, Vintage Manchester awards, Columbian rums being showcased and the latest rounds from Mullen Bartending.