Football might not have come home this year (I still love you Gareth) but Birmingham Cocktail Weekend did, bringing with it some excellent drinks and both new and old venues across our glorious city involved.
Taking place over the (very sunny weekend of) 13-15th July, 40 bars and restaurants took part, including venues around The Cube and Mailbox, Brindleyplace, city centre and Colmore Row, and the Jewellery Quarter. For those armed with the weekend wristband, each venue offered up a special cocktail for you to try over the three days. With all drinks available at just £4 it’s an economical way to discover the city’s cocktail scene – and get sloshed. We managed to get through 10, which I was quite proud about.
I’m happy to report I enjoyed a full Sunday of boozing with some good friends, and discovered a few tipples I really enjoyed. Themes across the weekend included citrus flavours, especially grapefruit, raspberry, and gin. Lots of gin. Below you’ll find some of my favourites, although I didn’t make a note of all the drink names. I was too busy drinking them, sorry.
Chung Ying Central
My favourite of the drinks I tried at cocktail weekend, the Hachiko was refreshing and tart. Served in a martini glass, this was a strong number made with vodka, gin, Cointreau and pink grapefruit juice. These guys also had some great dim sum available, and I felt they’d made a real effort to offer something a bit extra for wristband holders.
I don’t think I’ve mixed whisky and wine together since I was getting drunk in the park at 14, but on Sunday this popular pub nailed it with the Highland Cobbler. Universally this was one of the most popular in our group, and the staff had made a real effort to come up with something to stand out.
Gas Street Social
The most refreshing cocktail for me was Sink the Pink, from Gas Street Social in The Mailbox. Black pepper syrup and pink gin were combined with fraise de bois and lots of fresh lemon and mint, making a very light cocktail that screamed summertime. They’d made an effort to make a drink that was both tasty and quick to make, so they weren’t left overwhelmed with orders.
Other venues we tried included Radisson Blue, Hotel du Vin, Churchill’s, Gusto, Gaucho and Canal House. You can see (in order) their offerings below.
A few I tried weren’t to my taste (all sugar no substance) and some venues were plain old lazy in my opinion. Marco’s up in The Cube, for example, simply mixed (not full measures of) Chambord with lemon juice and soda water. We call that squash in my house. The views were nice from the roof terrace but the cocktail itself – pictured below – was pretty disappointing and unimaginative.
I’m such a fan of this annual weekend event. It gets people out and about trying new things/places, and does wonders for the local hospitality scene. The same organisers are behind Birmingham Wine Weekend, another excellent boozy event held in March (you can read about that Malbec-fuelled adventure here if you like) worth your time.
Did you enjoy Birmingham Cocktail Weekend too? What was your favourite drink? Let me know in the comments.
Disclosure: I paid for all the drinks included in this post, and all words, (cack) photos and opinions are mine.