Bar consultant and creator of Drinks Enthusiast, Dave Marsland, returns with all the latest behind the scenes news from Manchester's bar and cocktail scene. 

Cocktails in the City winners announced

Escapade Bars

Escapade Bars won the award for 'Best Personality' at Cocktails in the City 

The results are in! The winners have been announced for this year’s Cocktails in the City showcase held at Manchester’s Town Hall back at the start of the month. Yours truly judged alongside representatives from City Life and 4 Manchester Women, and after much cocktail consumption, agreed that...

Best Personality – Escapade Bars (Cocktails at Home)

The Escapade team blew us away with their cocktails served in, as well as using, Heinz tomato soup cans (see above). We also noted the creativity with the spicy Bloody Marys and Blue Lagoons, which were executed with great enthusiasm.

Best Bar - Whim Wham Cafe (Whitley Neill Gin)

Impressing us all with their ‘Jumanji’ style attire, incredible knowledge and overall charm and wit. We did not however the amazing and out of the box thinking by all bars in creating some wonderful mini pop ups. 

Best Cocktail – Proof (Lambs Navy Rum) 

We loved both cocktails, but in particular the ‘Any Port in a Storm’, their twist on a dark and stormy, won us over. The taste profile gave a fruity alternative to the traditional rum and ginger.

So there you have it. Now you have a perfect reason to go and visit Whim Wham, Proof and the boys at Escapade!

Robinsons Brewery launch Trooper ale

Robinsons Brewery also opened their doors in the past week to their latest collaborator in the form of Bruce Dickinson aka front man of Iron Maiden. Bruce came down to launch his new ale, named Trooper, and pull the first pint after giving a personal tour of the brewery itself explaining how he came to create his beer. Trooper is served on both cask and bottle, available at Robinson houses as well as many independent bars. Worth a try if you come across it, and is Bruce himself said – “it’s Trooperb!”

Warner Edwards Gin

New gin boys on the block Warner Edwards had a visitor in myself last weekend as I travelled down to Northamptonshire to experience first hand their distillery. Checking out the still itself, as well as the spring within their land and the hand bottling process, makes you appreciate the hard-work and dedication that Tom Warner and Sion Edwards have put in. For gin fans, Warner Edwards are sponsoring many of my festivals this year, so keep an eye out for something a little bit special in the coming months!

Naked Grouse Cocktail Competition

Naked Grouse Competition Winners

Niall, Tom, Alex and Barry; winners of the Naked Grouse cocktail competition at Black Dog New Wakefield Street

The Naked Grouse cocktail competition rolled into Black Dog Ballroom on New Wakefield Street last Monday to crown a new champion after creating a classic Old Fashioned with the emphasise being on the water. Nine of the North West’s top bartenders came together to showcase their recipe, with Leeds based Niall McGloin coming first and Tom Finnon second, both representing the bar Smokestack. In joint third however, Manchester scored with both Alex of Almost Famous and Barry of Epernay too close to separate. With some fantastic creations on offer, and bars including Room, Bertrums in Burnley and Cuvee of Leeds taking part, the world of cocktail ideas is growing fast, and suits all styles of customer. Manchester is very fortunate to enjoy many cocktail competitions pushing our bartenders' creative juices, and remember, we’re the ones who get to enjoy the finished results!

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