Bar consultant and creator of Drinks Enthusiast, (and general man-in-the-know when it comes to drinking in Manchester) Dave Marsland, returns for the New Year with his best picks from the recent new openings in the city, and some news on the cocktail front for one of the best bartenders in town. 

Drinks Enthusiast

Dave Marsland is a consultant and drinks guide working with some of the best bars in Manchester.

Welcome to 2014!

Christmas has been and gone, the New Year a distant memory, but Manchester still thrives and the drink scene is booming with delights for you all to enjoy! Over the last month or two, we’ve had Elixir Tonics and Treats open on Deansgate, offering culinary delights through cocktails and food, including the Manchester Sharing Platter complete with ale, and the Saints and Sinners, a mix of Manzanilla Sherry, limoncello, gin and grape syrup, finished with a gold leaf sugar rim and grape skewer.

Elixir's Tonics and Treats

Just some of the potions behind the bar at Elixir. 

Also opening its doors was the newest addition to the San Carlo group, San Carlo Bottega. Housed within Selfridges, they serve cicchetti style small plates in bright, stylish surroundings looking over Exchange Square. The next one you have to keep under your hat.

The Fitzgerald, the 1920’s era speakeasy housed within Stevenson Square, had its soft opening at the back end of last year. Housing a fully stocked bar, leather armchairs and live  music on selected days, it’s worth seeking out their hidden entrance in this revamped part of the city.

Lucha Libra Mexican waved their way into the Great Northern, offering a taste of the party with tequila cocktails and sombreros, while, Almost Famous are here to stay after their troubled 2013, opening a larger venue and dishing out more of their famous burgers and sauce. Look out for some hidden gems within too!

Milton Club

The Milton Club take their cocktail concocting, very seriously. 

Other venues worth a check are Lola Lo and Rebellion on Deansgate Locks, The Milton Club, sister venue to popular nightclub Suede on Deansgate, as well as Hibernate which took the place of summer bar InBloom in Spinningfields.

Looking ahead, we’ve plenty to look forward to, including a new offering by the boys from Liquorice Bar named Guilty by Association to be found within Stevenson Square. Beef and Pudding by the New Moon Pub Company will be opening close to Albert’s Square, whilst Leed's-based BBQ joint, Red's, will open opposite the Town Hall, taking over the old Livebait fish restaurant venue.

A slice of cocktail news for you now, with Cloud 23 taking the plaudits in one of the worlds most famous cocktail competitions. The Manchester heat of the Reserve Brands World Class took place in Salford cocktail haven Under New Management at the start of the year, with Cloud 23's Head Bartender Matthew Soares winning with his drink, The Journey. Containing Ron Zacapa rum, sherry syrup infused with Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters and a dash of yuzu syrup, Matthew now makes his way to the UK final later in the year.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be bringing you sneak peaks of upcoming events for you all to get involved in, as well as more details on bars, restaurants and bartenders to watch out for.

Until then, drink less but drink well!

Follow Dave on Twitter @drinksenthusist