Cocktails, for me, are the epitome of glamour. The performance of the bartender, the stylised glass, the meticulous preparation and garnish. It takes me back to how I imagine it was in time of The Great Gatsby, wearing fur and pearls in stunning art deco bars drinking Mint Juleps.
When I make cocktails at home, it looks more like a kid in a science lab than a glamorous bartender, as my partner and I experiment with whatever we have in the cupboard, so when I was invited to go to a cocktail masterclass at Bar Opus I was excited beyond measure to be taught how to do this properly.
Bar Opus is literally a stones throw from Snow Hill Station, often frequented by high flying office workers from One Snow Hill, where Bar Opus lives, but this particular Saturday I was joined by a group of fellow thirsty bloggers to enjoy the expertise of the bar staff.
Designed for probably more rowdy and adventurous parties than ours, the theme for the day was ‘Ring of Fire’ – yes, based on the drinking game – where cards from a deck had different tasks, including rhyme and word associations. Yet rather than downing a concoction of everyone else’s drink from a central cup, whoever drew the Kings from the deck of cards got to pick an ingredient to go into a mystery cocktail for our game. Much more civilised.
We paired up with a fellow blogger, I shared a station with the gorgeous Alev from Bella & Robot blog and we set to work on our first cocktail.
The Mellow Yellow:
25ml Williams Chase gin
12.5ml sugar syrup
12.5ml fresh lemon juice
San Pellegrino limonata
Stalk of fresh lemongrass.
A stirred drink rather than a shaken, we filled our beautifully branded glasses with ice, before adding the limoncello, followed by gin, sugar syrup and lemon juice before topping up with limonata and stirring with a stalk of lemongrass and garnishing with a slice of lemon.
Limoncello is one of Alev’s favourite drinks, I too enjoy it, but have never had it in a cocktail, so it was a fun surprise. This drink was so refreshing and summery it was a hit with both of us, as you can see from this lovely photo captured by Sian from Clive Reeves PR!
Next up we got to grips with our shakers to make our next cocktail.
50ml Chase Rhubarb Vodka
25ml Monin vanilla syrup
12.5ml fresh lemon juice
75ml apple juice
First up we filled the shaker with ice (in the glass side, so you can see what’s going into it of course) then added the vodka, vanilla syrup, lemon juice and apple juice. Then time to shake! We popped the metal part of the shaker on top at a slight angle giving it a good bash to make sure it was secure, then we shook for a few minutes to combine all the ingredients. All it took was a sharp hit with the heel of the hand on the side of the shaker to release the two halves, then we strained the drink into prepared Martini glasses and garnished with a slice of apple. Here’s a photo the lovely Ting from The Ting Thing took of me with my drink. Apologies that I’d already started drinking it before this picture was taken!
I really loved this one, even more so than the Mellow Yellow. I have always loved rhubarb, and this for me tasted like a grown up rhubarb and custard sweet. I would definitely order this once its added to the menu at Bar Opus.
After that, we finished off the card game and we were presented with our ‘Ring of Fire’ cocktail, containing Bacardi, gingerbread Vodka, Cointreau and a collection of other ingredients, which was presented to the fabulous Vicky from Brumderland, who drew the final King!
It was actually quite pleasant, with a distinctly Christmassy flavour, despite the weird concoction of ingredients!
Then finally the Cocktail King or Queen was announced. Based on knowledge, cocktail making ability and spillages, it turned out I was the Bar Opus Cocktail Queen that day, a lovely surprise!
But an even better surprise was being treated to afternoon tea…
… accompanied by an amazing, Prosecco based sharing cocktail called the Floozy in the Jacuzzi, after Birmingham’s iconic landmark, that Vicky and I almost singlehandedly drank!
I had a really lovely time at Bar Opus, the cocktail masterclass was great fun and left me with recipes that I will definitely be trying at home, and afternoon tea was a really lovely surprise, putting Bar Opus on the map of great afternoon teas in Birmingham.
If you want to try your hand at mixology with Sam, the bar manager at Bar Opus, it’s only £15 per head with fill details on the Bar Opus website.
My cocktail masterclass, afternoon tea and drinks were all complimentary as an invited guest of Bar Opus, thanks to the team there and to Sian at Clive Reeves PR. All opinions are, of course, my own.