As a literature graduate with a penchant for cocktails and wordplay, I was delighted to be invited to Quill MCR – King Street’s newest cocktail bar.
The bar has a black, velvet, quilted bench and several golden, mirror-shine tables with small 19th Century style lanterns atop. It smelt of “quality” and there was an air of decadence that excited my imagination. Rife with detail, there were tired old books around the place; a khaki green renaissance book discoursing Leonardo Di Vinci lay placed on our bar table and a further dusty collection sat on a bookshelf alongside various other artefacts… and a couple of symbolic taxidermy ravens keeping a look out. This was the sort of place a modern-day Oscar Wilde would lavish himself in fine substances into a haze of refined debauchery.
The bar menu is impressive. Alongside Quill’s own cocktail creations, there were popular Japanese whiskeys, a premium selection of ‘house’ choices and even the Hennessy Paradise Imperial whiskey coming in at a memorable £140 a shot! We were lucky enough to sample a few of the intoxicants for ourselves…
My very own elixir: a turquoise pool of liquid in a fine cut martini glass with a peacock feather extravagantly clipped on. Gin, jasmine, ginger and a Blue Splash made for a show-stopping beverage.
Who doesn’t like an Old Fashioned? To be honest with you, you’re in danger of going off them once you’ve tried Quill’s Declaration cocktail - which is essentially an Old Fashioned made even better. A tumbler of whisky-fied chocolate-orange deliciousness isn’t easily forgotten. It even comes with a millionaire shortbread.
Of the Pen
This one wins for theatrics. Presented as a long potion bubbling with smoke (dry ice), Quill’s take on a classic Dark and Stormy pulled out all the stops. A decorative fountain pen was also clipped on the glass – and it seemed it even had its own business card.
Ash and Apple
For those who like a bitter twist, this is the one. It artfully combines the refreshing zing of apple with the burnt and smoky edge of caramelised sugar and an extra magic ingredient. Masculine and feminine all at once.
Cucumber and Wasabi
Two questionable flavours, perhaps, in cocktails. But they work. Garden freshness meets cooling cucumber and a peppery hint. Tequila, Lime, Elderflower, Wasabi and Cucumber Pressé do a great job.
The Hour Glass
This one was really sweet – in both senses of the word. Violet edible flowers floated atop the pink drink, and a miniature corked glass bottle containing extra sugar crystals was tied to the stalk of the glass.
Next time you’re waddling through the Christmas Markets in Manchester, make sure you pop in for a Quill-iant cocktail or two.