Anyone who says that cocktails aren’t their thing, are lying and can take a seat at the back of the room. Cocktails are the ultimate alcoholic indulgence because if you go to the right place, they can be as out there and as random as you like or familiar and comfortable with no questions asked. I prefer the former. But making your own cocktails with tips and tricks from your very own mixologist, has gotta be up there for a well spent Sunday arvo.
Based on Colmore Row, The Alchemist is on a mission to make Birmingham, the ‘city of 1000 cocktails’ and I’m not complaining.
Housed in The Grand Hotel, think exposed brickwork, vaulted ceilings, imposing lighting, dark artwork, taxidermy all over the walls and a secret basement bar that has date night written all over it.
A few weeks ago, I was invited along to a cocktail masterclass, set in the basement bar and led by their resident mixologist Matt who was ready to talk us through how to make two out of our four cocktails snd share all of his mixing secrets. Let me start by adding that I was a tad late and my friend was 1 million hours late, but I was immediately put at ease by Matt and the other people in the masterclass and I didn’t feel awkward at all- big fat tick from me.
We were welcomed with our first cocktail, Peaches and Cream- Briottet Peach and Pink Grapefruit, Lemon and Prosecco which was light, fruity and similar to a Bellini which is always a nice aperitif to start the night, I mean any time of the day.
Next, we were walked through how to make a Strawberry Cup- Ketel One Vodka (which is their house vodka), Strawberry, Lemon, Ginger Ale and Mint. At The Alchemist, they free pour all their spirits using the ‘four count’ for accuracy- 1 equals a quarter shot, 2 equals half a shot and 4 count is the house pour, one full shot of 30ml. I enjoyed this combo, it’s a summer drink through and through but it was a little too sweet for me, probably more a comment on my horrific cocktail making skills but I’m not sure I’d order this one at the bar. The next cocktail we made was the creamy and refreshing Bounty- Koko Kanu, Coconut Water, Briottet White Chocolate and Lime, everything I adore in a glass and in life. The interesting thing about this cocktail is that no one else agreed with my love for it so they were shown how to make a Screwball instead which meant more Bounty’s for me, big love people.
Our final cocktail was the Caramelised Rum Punch- Rum, Grand Marnier, Watermelon, Lime, Pineapple, Fire and SO much dramz, just look at it. Due to the nature of this cocktail, we were unable to make our own version but it was probably for the best, there were already guests coming into the bar who I assume didn’t want to be confronted with smoke all up in their face.
Upstairs, we ordered a round of drinks for the road because once a Sunday session starts… The Beyond the Kale cocktail- Vodka, Lime and Kale was incredibly refreshing and oh so easy to drink, one to order again next time.
. I really enjoyed the cocktail masterclass, it was fun, informal and informative but in a chilled and interactive way. Matt was friendly, funny and had some very awkward jokes at the ready which is always good to break the ice with a group of people you don’t know! This would be a perfect activity for a date, birthday, hen do, the list is endless. For £35 pp including a sharing platter, it’s great value when you consider that each cocktail is around £8ish mark anyway.
*Thanks to The Alchemist, I was invited to attend the masterclass. As always, my opinions are my own*