Halloween with Cocktail Xchange and Reyka Vodka

Halloween is one of my favourite events of the year. Mainly because it’s an excuse for fully grown adults to play dress-up and it’s totally acceptable!

This year, as well as raiding the dress-up box, I booked tickets for my friends and I to a Halloween special Cocktail Xchange event at Malmaison Birmingham.

Promising a costume competition, 3 course meal matched with cocktails from Reyka Vodka and a DJ afterwards, I was really looking forward to the big night.

We headed to Malmaison fairly early so we had a quick drink in the bar before going upstairs. We got a couple of funny looks as we walked through, no idea why though…

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We headed up from the bar to the mezzanine floor where we were greeted by Ahmed Kage – the man behind the event – and directed towards the bar. We grabbed a drink before we were shown to our seats.

We all had places on large tables so we could meet new people. Luckily for me I was seated next to the lovely Ed and Helen from Positive Fridays.

We didn’t have to wait long for our first cocktail, as waitresses soon made their way around the tables with these rather beautiful cocktails named ‘The Return’ with Reyka vodka, elderflower, grapefruit juice and Prosecco.

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This went down very well let me tell you! Our starter was Vodka cured salmon with pumpkin blini, which was complimented very well by the drink.

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The pumpkin blini had a lovely sweetness, the salmon was delicately flavoured and the pickled cucumber and creme fraiche on top gave it a freshness that brought everything together. A brilliant starter by all accounts.

Our next cocktail was a hot one! The Revenge featured pepper infused Reyka vodka, lime, apple juice and lemonade with a dash of tabasco.

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I say a dash of tabasco, but this bad boy was hot! I love hot food, and you could definitely feel the burn with this. Some people found it a bit much on its own, but the lovely bartenders made up a second batch with less heat so everybody could enjoy the flavour of the drink.

Helen and I found that when you paired the drink with the main course – Bloody Mary marinated chicken – it cooled the drink down and the flavours just worked, so we kept our hot ones and had them with our chicken.

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The chicken was lovely too. It was a corn fed chicken breast so the skin was an attractive golden colour, seasoned with the Bloody Mary spices and drizzled with tomato sauce. This was served with parmentier potatoes and chorizo, with steamed vegetables on the side. Everything was well cooked and the portion size was just right.

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We had a little break between our mains and desserts so Ahmed could give us a short talk about Reyka vodka who had sponsored the night. He explained that Reyka vodka is a unique product not just because it’s from Iceland, but because there are various processes that give Reyka its clean, crisp flavour.

There were 5 key points – the Arctic spring water was the first, giving Reyka its pure taste, lava rock filtration contributes to the drinks smoothness, as does the Carter Head still the vodka is distilled in.

Reyka are the only company who use a Carter Head still to distill Vodka, and its high copper content means a smooth product from just one distillation. Each batch of Reyka is small, to ensure the highest quality every time.

Then finally, Reyka’s distillery is powered entirely by Geo Thermal energy from Iceland’s volcanoes, meaning it’s as environmentally friendly as it is delicious.

We got to sample a shot of Reyka just on its own to demonstrate the quality and I have to say, it is one of the smoothest, cleanest vodkas I have tasted. It definitely convinced me to get a bottle for myself.

After our mini lecture we were treated to a vodka and strawberry cheesecake.

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This was very tasty, despite it’s rather horror-like appearance!

The real star here though was our final cocktail – The Resurrection! I love an espresso martini, but the addition of chocolate port alongside the vodka and espresso really took this to the next level. I ended up drinking mine very quickly as I enjoyed it so much. I asked Ahmed if he could sneak me another one and he gave me his own drink… what a legend. Cheers to him!

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I can confidently say this is one of the best cocktails I’ve had, and I definitely want to recreate it at home!

Unfortunately we didn’t win the costume competition and the bottle of Reyka, gutted, but we did have a fabulous time. I would highly recommend it if you get the chance to go next year. At just £35 each for 3 courses with drinks, in a lovely city centre location, it’s a steal.

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