House of Fraser are sorting out your cocktail needs

We are getting very close to the festive season, and that means that it is almost cocktail season too. On Monday night I attended a very special Christmas event at the Wolverhampton Grand, and one of the things on the menu was creating Christmas cocktails, with a Snow Queen being a particular treat (coconut cream, Malibu and blue curacao in case you’re wondering.) Forget the Eggnog and the Mulled Wine, Christmas is about cocktails, glamorous, decadent and elegant.

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House of Fraser are getting into the party spirit in style and have created a cocktail wheel which can help you to create a series of classic cocktails. You spin the virtual wheel to your chosen cocktail, and are then presented with the ingredients and a simple 1,2,3 guide in how to make your cocktail. These cocktails are classics, from Carrie Bradshaw’s Cosmopolitan, a Bellini, Mojito, Long Island Iced Tea, a Martini and an Old Fashioned. There are also cocktails that will take you right back to your Summer holidays, with recipes for Sangria and Margarita.

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Sangria

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Bellini’s

My favourite cocktail is the Mojito, and, as much as I love strawberry versions, to me, the traditional is still the best. With lime and mint leaves, it packs a zesty punch and is definitely a drink I would turn to again and again.

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If you are getting ready to create some cocktails, then you will need to make sure you have the right equipment. A cocktail is totally spoiled if it is served in the wrong glass, or worse still, a plastic tumbler. House of Fraser is once again addressing your needs, not only do they provide the formula for the perfect cocktail, but they have a great range of cocktail glasses and cocktail shakers too. If you are heading off to a house party this year, a cocktail shaker could be a great gift to take with you.

 Linea Lustre crystal martini glasses set of 4 now £25 Click to visit House of Fraser


Linea Lustre crystal martini glasses set of 4 now £25 Click to visit House of Fraser

 Linea Glass cocktail shaker now £12 Click to visit House of Fraser


Linea Glass cocktail shaker now £12 Click to visit House of Fraser

 Linea Margarita set of 4 glasses now £17.50 Click to visit House of Fraser


Linea Margarita set of 4 glasses now £17.50 Click to visit House of Fraser

 Kilner Cocktail Shaker Set, Gift Box £19.99 Click to visit House of Fraser


Kilner Cocktail Shaker Set, Gift Box £19.99 Click to visit House of Fraser

 LSA Bar Cocktail Jug & Stirrer 1.2L Clear £36 Click to visit House of Fraser


LSA Bar Cocktail Jug & Stirrer 1.2L Clear £36 Click to visit House of Fraser

 

Lobby on Hill Street Taster Evening

Birmingham’s thriving food and cocktail scene continues to grow, and, this week will see the opening of The Lobby on Hill Street.  Located under the City’s Holiday Inn, and withing a stones throw of Grand Central station, The Lobby on the Hill offers a mixture of vibrant street food dishes that are served tapas style, with an extensive range of cocktails that take you from the classic to the exotic and unusual. Last Thursday I went along to a preview taster evening, and, I have to say I’m really looking forward to getting back there for the official launch party this week.

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Guests were treated to a cocktail making class where the end result was a rather glorious Passion Fruit Mojito. Other cocktails on the menu include such the Flaming Zombie, the Bubblegum Daiquiri and the Make-Up Martini. There are also choices for those not partial to a cocktail (do these people exist?) including craft beers, fine wines and champagnes, high-end spirits, as well as a wide selection of alcohol free alternatives.

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We were treated to a montage of dishes from The Hill Street Food menu which features a variety of small street food inspired dishes such as Black Country Faggot Sliders which come with a tiny glass of Pale Ale, “Make Your Own” Pot Noodle with juicy prawns and a kettle of stock, Posh Cheesy Chips with blue cheese and pancetta glaze and my absolute favourite, triple cooked chip butty with a slightly spiced chimichurri mayo. I love the fact that you can choose a selection of three dishes for just £14.

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The food is delicious and of a real high quality in terms of produce and presentation. The tapas style presentation makes these great bar snacks for sharing in a group, and when they are combined with the great cocktails and relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere, you get all the ingredients for a fabulous night out.

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The Lobby on Hill Street

Smallbrook Queensway

Birmingham

B5 4EW

Phone: 0121 634 6221

A cocktail Masterclass at Bar Opus

I really would struggle to think of a better way to spend a very cold and windy Saturday afternoon, than mixing gorgeous cocktails in the glamorous confines of Bar Opus, based at Birmingham’s One Snowhill. One of the city’s newest destinations when it comes to cocktails, Bar Opus is in a part of the city that is currently experiencing vast changes, as the Midland Metro route is being expanded through the business district.

Bar Opus has an extensive cocktail menu, and offers a one hour mixing masterclass for £15 per person, I was invited along to have a go at mixing two different cocktails, and must admit to being a little apprehensive, I’m far more used to drinking them than mixing them, and had visions of ice flying everything. Thankfully, I really enjoyed it and didn’t embarrass myself, although I don’t think The Bar Wizards will be losing any sleep.

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Bar Opus is a stunning place, bright and airy, with floor to ceiling windows perfect for people watching. There are plenty of tables perfect for drinks with friends or an afternoon snack.  I love the stylish decor, which has a black and white theme, complete with a Big Ben style clock face that should have Harold Lloyd hanging from it (check out 1920s film Safety Last if you think I’ve slightly lost it). The outside terrace is a lovely place to relax with a refreshing cocktail or two come Summer, and I will certainly be returning to do this when the weather is kind again. For now, I will have to be content with a cocktail that is a total taste of Summer…but more of that later.

The first cocktail we attempted was a delicious honey and vanilla concoction called the honey bee. This is a shaken cocktail that gave me the chance to channel my inner Tom Cruise, and consists of 50ml of Jim Beam Honey(even the smell is delicious), 25ml Monin Vanilla,1/2 Bottle Vanillalicious (sort of like a vanilla milkshake, and honey and honeycomb as garnish. This was a delicious, almost warming cocktail, perfect for winter days. Beware though, it has a slight milkshake flavour which may make you forget the hit of alcohol. I loved this and totally drained my glass.

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Ingredients

The mixing stage

The mixing stage

Not too bad at all.

Not too bad at all.

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The second cocktail is that taste of summer I was talking about. I love Elderflower, I find it one of the most refreshing drinks especially when topped with ice, and this cocktail, the Elderflower Spritz, is Elderflower overload. Made with  50ml of Chase Elderflower Vodka, this is a refreshing long drink that is a top up and stir cocktail that is reviving and refreshing. The rest of the ingredients are 25ml Elderflower cordial, 12.5ml Fresh lemon juice. The cocktail is then topped up with fevertree elderflower tonic. It is amazing. My new favourite drink.

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With Helen from Positive Friday’s

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With Tasha from Nutella Tasha.

The masterclass was super fun, and if this wasn’t enough, we were then treated to a delicious array of afternoon tea delights, both sweet and savoury, and a fruit punch served in pewter style tankards. It was a fantastic accompaniment to the diverse and delicious cocktails.

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*With thanks to Bar Opus and Clive Reeves PR for the invitation.

Cocktail Masterclass – Everyday
Amateur mixologists are being given the opportunity to learn how to create mouthwatering cocktails with an intimate masterclass at Bar Opus at One Snowhill. Whether you want to learn the classics or discover something new to wow friends, Bar Manager Sam Cross will teach how to mix, shake and stir drinks from the ordinary into the extraordinary. Classes are one hour and cost £15 per person. To book, call 0121 289 3939.
To find out more about events happening at Bar Opus at One Snowhill, visit: www.baropus.co.uk.