Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Cocktails In The City 2017 - Leeds

Cocktails in the City are in its 5th year of making Leeds blind drunk with their fantastic event. If after all these years you’re still none-the-wiser as to what it is all about then let me tell you: CITC is an annual event that runs around April time on a Thursday (because Thursday is the new Friday) and Friday (because everyone loves Friday) evening. A whole host of national and local bars participate and set up micro-bars in a set location. The location chosen for Leeds is the Town Hall, an iconic building in Leeds and a fabulous events space.

The event is ticketed but your ticket usually brings with it a few goodies too, special events such as gin tasting in the Town Hall Tower, create your own punch, escape from Wonderland (I expect this may get trickier the more 'drink me' bottles you consume) and coffee and cocktails to keep you going throughout the night.  This year as well will see a couple of pop-up restaurants so that you can line your stomachs and have more cocktails with food and drink pairing events. Tickets sell out quickly so don't leave it too late or you'll risk missing out and sat at home in your PJs eating pizzs avoiding all social media as it shows you what your life could have been.

rare picture of me at an event... not so much a rare picture of me eating.. 

I along with several other bloggers, social influencers, local press/publications etc. was invited to a sneak preview of what some of the signed up bars will have in store on the night(s). A bar crawl of sort (not my usual Wednesday night antics) we started off in Pintura, for those of you not in the know Pintura is predominately a restaurant but also a bar which has an impressive stock of gin and (Basque country) tipples also.

You're gran is now trendy, that's right Sherry is the new 'in-drink' 

In the (Basque Country) in Northern Spain the tipples you are likely to find are of the Sherry and Vermouth nature. I’m not a fan of Sherry, I've tried it again and again but I'm just not getting the taste yet, perhaps in 20 years plus time I might actually start to enjoy it (sorry Pintura guys!). Vermouth isn’t something that has ever passed my lips or made it too far in to my consciousness, I don’t indulge in much alcoholic delights past wine and beer (craft beer I’m not talking about lager here I'm not an animal/student), however I’m not so uncultured that I had never heard of it but it was a delicious surprise.

Pintura will be running a pop up restaurant on the night to create the ultimate Basque Country food and drink pairing. Guests will be given a selection of finest sherries and small plates of pinxto to help bring some sunshine to Yorkshire in April, ignore those showers outside and get your bikini out... okay maybe don't go that far...

The next stop on our magical mystery cocktail tour was Smokestack, a scene where I have had many a good (and messy) night dancing my feet away (and it was also a scene of a rather awkward date but I won’t get in to that now). It’s fair to say I have a soft spot for Smokestack, (despite that one date) I am sure it is a place where I have drunk many of their varieties of rum (evidence and memories lacking I can only speculate) and my group of friends in attendance with me have probably drank a bottle of two in one night also. My association of rum therefore runs deep with Smokestack so I was pleasantly surprised to find we were to sample gin on this night. We were given a rather informative and interesting talk on the history of gin (I won’t spoil it for you hear go ask them as I am sure they can re-tell it better than I) leading on to the tasting of Tom’s Bathtub gin.

Smokestack will be popping up in the Tower, the 203 steps to the top will burn off the alcohol you've drank (maybe) and justify the drinking of more alcohol when you reach the top (especially if you're scared of heights).

Three drinks down and it was time to start perking up, this time with the help of the new (to Leeds) 200 Degree coffee house. If you’re a coffee lover then you may be familiar with the Espresso Martini, these (in my experience) are often quite bitter and the coffee flavour is more additive than addictive (probably a good thing) however the guys at 200 degrees are tired of poor coffee flavoured cocktails and have been busy working and have formulated a cold brew concentrate that helps retain the softer roasted taste of coffee and that caffeine kick.

My favourite drink of the night was the White Russian which contained said concoction; cream based drinks are definitely my cocktails of choice.

The final stop of the night was at Revolcion De Cuba (not to be confused with Vodka Revolutions – or Revs as it is more commonly known). I’ve frequented Revolucion De Cuba for many a cocktail in Leeds and in Sheffield, the Happy Hour offers as well as the teapot cocktails are often difficult to avoid when one is out partying with the girls…

Thankfully food was involved here to help us soak up the booze and make sure we all got to work the next day. We had a range of tapas (pictured below) and although it’s never been at the top of my list to visit for food I was pleasantly surprised. What propelled it to the top of the list was the advertisement on the table of the ‘Bottomless Brunch for £20’, a bandwagon I have not yet jumped on but this seemed like a good place to start my journey on it.

The cocktail was delicious also, although the name escapes me now (I challenge anyone who wasn’t taking notes/threw their notes to the wind after the second drink) to remember this too. To me it tasted like a mojito but slightly fruitier so perhaps a Raspberry Mojito (which I know they serve so not too much of a stab in the dark).

Possibly a raspberry mojito? 

Have you been to Cocktails in the City before? What did you think? Will you be going again this year?

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