Cocktails and mead @ The Vanguard at 1000 Trades, Jewellery Quarter

Bars & Pubs, Events, Review / Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Calling all booze fans: The Vanguard at 1000 Trades is open… and it’s bloody brilliant.

The Vanguard at 1000 Trades is new to the Brum drink scene is spearheaded by cocktail consultant Sam Boulton, who’s (thankfully) bringing something new to the party. Like many bars in Brum, The Vanguard’s menu boasts a plethora of artisan spirits and cocktails, however, this joint has a secret weapon. Mead. Just saying that word makes me feel like a Viking warrior.

The venue

I popped along on Saturday to see what the hype was about, having heard rumours of this opening for a while. Found on the top floor, it’s a fairly minimalist set up aesthetically, but reach the bar and you find exposed brick walls lined with bottles. The bar shelves are positively groaning with booze (all sourced from Sam’s home collection) and the promise of a good time.

The drinks

As well as getting a sneak peak around this small but mighty bar, I managed to get my hands on a signature cocktail, as well as the coveted mead. It will come as no shock to you that I knew very little about this tipple, so it helped to have Sam on hand to explain its history. Which, it turns out, goes back a whopping 9,000 years.

Created by fermenting honey with water, fruits, spices and grains or hops, it’s not a beer nor is it a wine. What it definitely is, if you pick the good stuff, is potent. There are numerous varieties available at The Vanguard, including fizzy versions that are more like beer, and still alternatives that have a more wine-like feel.

The still mead was more to my taste, with a strong honey flavour. Alas the Garden Mead, with floral and mint notes, whilst delicious, didn’t come in the jewel incrusted goblet I’d envisioned – you can’t have everything.

Having polished off the mead it was time to sample a cocktail; and what a list there is to choose from. Innovative, exiting and a million miles away from the utter toss they serve you up at the likes of Turtle Bay, there is tangible passion behind the drinks being mixed, shaken and stirred here.

I immediately liked Sam’s ethos with regards to serving cocktails here: “No bullshit and no plastic straws.” Direct and environmentally friendly – good lad. I tried the green dream, My Neighbour Totoro (£8) made with Midori which was nice enough to bring me back for a return visit.

If you fancy trying it out, the bar is open from Wednesday to Sunday for drinks and mead tasting. You can also get selected cocktails for £7 with an Independent Birmingham card.

Genuine passion, an expert running the show, and unique drinks that will make your heart happy; welcome to the world, Vanguard. You were worth the wait.

Will you be visiting The Vanguard at 1000 Trades? Let me know in the comments.

The Vanguard, 1000 Trades, 16 Fredrick Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B1 3HE 

Disclosure: I was invited to a lock-in style gathering and the samples we tried were complimentary. I wasn’t obligated to write about any of it, but I wanted to because the drinks, venue and company were all lovely. All opinions and photos are mine, along with the booze buzz I left with on a dull Saturday afternoon

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