Bars and bartenders get ready for Leeds Loves Cocktails


Margarita Neon Cactus

Bars across Leeds are set to celebrate the cocktail with special menus and events as part of a week-long drinks festival.

Running from June 5 to 11, Leeds Loves Cocktails returns for its fifth year, featuring more than 50 events. It is taking place in partnership with Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin and Rumbullion! rum and Re’al purees.

During the week, 35 of the city’s best bars will team up with the some of world’s best spirit brands to host the event programme and serve menus of discounted £5 cocktails. Festival specials include a spicy twist on a Tommy’s Margarita at Neon Cactus (pictured).

Other participating bars include Blackhouse, The Hedonist Project, Jake’s Bar, Mojo, Oporto, Call Lane Social, Call Lane Social Tiki Bar, Livin Italy, Bibi’s, Cielo Blanco, Manahatta in Greek Street and Merrion Street, Banyan Bar and Kitchen, Roxy Ballroom, The Wardrobe, Verve, Mean Eyed Cat, Brotherhood, Thewlis, Vice & Virtue, Hirst’s Yard, Almost Famous, Around the World, 51% Bourbon, Decanter, 53 Degrees, The Pit, Meatliquor and Chida Cantina.

The diverse event programme features masterclasses, tasting dinners, takeovers, competitions, parties and workshops, aimed at discerning connoisseurs, cocktail novices and professional bartenders.

Events for bartenders include a session run by the Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands brand ambassador team with special hosts, Olly Brading, Elliot Ball and Andy Mil of The Cocktail Trading Company bars. See below for the events aimed at “experts”.

It also includes Leeds Bartender of the Year Cocktail Competition run with Marussia Beverages.

Other highlights include the team from the American Bar at London’s Savoy hotel partnering Portobello Road Gin for an afternoon of cocktails and discussions on creativity and innovation.

Shears Yard is teaming up with Pinkster Gin for a one-off five-course tasting menu inspired by the flavours of British summertime. Leeds’ musical heroes Nightmares on Wax are to play at Distrikt in association with Wray & Nephew while Sir Robin of Locksley Gin will stage a rooftop gin takeover at Headrow House’s Redondo Beach.

Hendrick’s Gin presents The Society of Poetical Musings at The Maven where you can sip cocktails from bone china teapots while being enthralled by poets, artists and “creatures of the underworld”.

A five-course tasting menu with premium vodka Grey Goose will be presented at 53 Degrees North while Pintura is hosting a three-course tasting/gin pairing menu in partnership with the Galician gin, Nordes.

The Loves Cocktail hub at Jake’s Bar and Still Room will serve bespoke cocktails from the partner brands, Bathtub Gin and Rumbullion! rum and the Re’al purees range, as well as host specialist events for consumers and the trade.

Loves Cocktails was founded in 2013 by leading bartender and entrepreneur Nick Fox. The ethos of the festival is to encourage people to “drink better not more” by indulging in good-quality spirit brands while drinking in some of the best cocktail venues Leeds has to offer.

Nick said: “This year is very exciting with hitting our fifth birthday. We have some great partners we are working with in producing another jam-packed week of events for cocktail lovers.

“A must-do for any cocktail fan, Leeds Loves Cocktails plays centre stage to a host of one-off events, bar takeovers, masterclass sessions, gigs, cocktail dinners, competitions and parties to celebrate the art of mixing drinks and the city’s wonderful cocktail scene.

“Running alongside the consumer events will be a series of bar industry-focused workshops and parties in partnership with some of the world’s finest spirit brands.

“To have the Savoy team from year two, and the likes of Callooh Callay last year work with us, we are showcasing our city to some the best bars in the world so I think it’s only positive they come and sample what the north has to offer.”

Leeds Loves Cocktails wristbands are available at lovescocktails.co.uk. They include access to all the festival’s events as well as £5 cocktail deals.

Brands taking part include Hendrick’s, Bathtub Gin, Rumbullion!, Evan Williams, Patron, Pusser’s Rum, Pinkster, Wild Turkey, Aperol, Campari, Slingsby’s, Nordes, Ocho Appleton Estate, Portobello Road Gin, Bulldog, Absolut, Brewdog’s Lone Wolf, Sir Robin of Locksley, Casamigo’s, Montelobos, Wray & Nephew, Teeling, Fifty Pound Gin, Akashi-Tai Sake, Chambord, Monin, Luxardo, Licor 43, Woodford Reserve, The Balvenie, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi and Herradura.

FULL EVENT TIMETABLE

Monday June 5

11am – 4pm
Jigger, Beaker, Glass at Banyan Bar & Kitchen
Jigger, Beaker, Glass is a year-long series of workshops and seminars that is touring the UK hosted by the Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands ambassador team with a selection of special guests. The Leeds Loves Cocktail special will be hosted by Olly Brading, Elliot Ball and Andy Mil of The Cocktail Trading Company.
Expert

3:30 – 4:30
Bitter is Better with LIVIN’italy
LIVIN’italy
A Campari UK brand ambassador will host an amaro masterclass guiding through an amaro tasting, explaining how to include amaro in cocktails, emphasising the versatility of the bitter. This event will also feature a food and amaro cocktails pairing.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

4:30pm – 6pm
Pusser’s Rum and Mahiki Tiki Talk
Call Lane Social
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

8pm – 2pm
The Official Leeds Loves Cocktails Launch Party in partnership with Bathtub Gin and Re’al Pureés
Jakes Bar & Still Room
A lively affair filled with live music, great cocktails and prizes provided by Bathtub Gin.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

9pm – 4am
Mahiki Tiki Takeover
Call Lane Social Tiki Hideaway
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

Tuesday June 6

12 – 13:30
Patron Masterclass with brand ambassador Benji Ryde
Neon Cactus
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

1pm – 5pm
Leeds Bartender of the Year Cocktail Competition
Thewlis
The city’s best bartenders come together to battle it over four rounds for a cash prize of £500, a cocktail shaker and bragging rights. All welcome to attend, drink, and show support. Run with leading spirits company Marussia Beverages.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

3pm – 4:30pm
Luxardo Masterclass & Tasting
Around the World
Learn all about the Luxardo brand with this masterclass, taking a trip through the history of Maraschino, Sangue Morlacco, Amaretto, Limoncello, Sambuca and the outstanding cherries.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm – 8pm
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey & The Pit Meat Masterclass
The Pit
Join Jack Daniel’s UK brand ambassador Cam Dawson for a walk down the Tennessee Trail – tasting whiskey from the oldest registered distillery in the USA. On the night, Cam will lead you through Jack’s award-winning whiskeys including Old No 7, Gentleman Jack and Single Barrel, and pair each of them with a specific course of a bespoke American-inspired food menu.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm – 8pm
An Evening in Bond
Oporto
An introduction and insight into the “Bottled in Bond” Act of 1897 which provided a government-approved stamp on authentic American whiskey, run with leading whiskey brand Evan Williams.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

7pm – 10pm
Shears Yard & Pinkster Gin Cocktail Dinner
This ticketed event provides a British summer-inspired five-course gin dinner, with Pinkster Gin pairing each course with a cocktail. Hosted by Pinkster’s brand ambassador. Contact Shears Yard in advance for tickets.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

7pm – 11pm
Chida vs El Cartel
Chida Cantina
Chida Bar & Cantina will be teaming up with Herradura Tequila to take on El Cartel Mexicana from Edinburgh in a head-to-head Cocktail & Taco competition. Throughout the evening, you will have the option to taste all the drinks and tacos on offer, and vote for your favourite accordingly. Contact Chida for more information and bookings.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

Wednesday June 7

12pm – 1:30pm
From Grind To Grain
The Hedonist Project
Mathew Landan of Haymarket Whiskey Bar in Louisville, Kentucky, talks about his journey transforming a coffee shop into one of world’s greatest whiskey bars. Run with Fever-Tree.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

1:45 – 3:15pm
Creativity & Innovation
Manahatta Greek Street
Portobello Road Gin and The American Bar at The Savoy present Creativity versus Innovation. Join bartenders Jake Burger and Joe Lewis White for an in-depth discussion on how inimitable brands withstand the test of time and stay true to their values, whilst simultaneously and consistently pushing the envelope. Digest their thoughts and pick their brains while you sip a gin cocktail or two.
Experts, Enthusiastic

3:30pm – 5pm
Sir Robin of Locksley Gin Masterclass
Headrow House – Redondo Beach
An afternoon with Sir Robin of Locksley Gin. You will learn and get to know the history of the brand and the distilling process. The distillers themselves will be there to answer all of your questions and at the end you will be able to discover what is your take on a perfect G&T.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

5pm – 6pm
Teeling’s Irish Whiskey Tasting Session
The Brotherhood of Pursuits & Pastimes
This tasting with Teeling’s Irish Whiskey celebrates the revival of craft distilling in Dublin.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

7pm – 10pm
Nordes Gin Supper
Pintura
Drinks eevelopment manager Matt Coates and executive chef Greg Lewis bring you a three-course tasting/pairing menu with dishes and Nordes Gin signature serves carefully created to complement the botanicals and flavours of this incredible aromatic Galician gin. Pre-booking essential. Contact Pintura for further information and booking details.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

7pm – 10pm
Rye-thm & Blues (gig)
Oporto
Gig, run with Evan Williams whiskey. Details to come.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

Thursday June 8

12pm – 2pm
Akashi Tai industry session
Vice & Virtue
Presenting Akashi-Tai sake.
Expert

2:30 – 4:30pm
Liquipedia with Jake Burger and Tristan Stephenson
Manahatta Merrion Street
Why isn’t bread alcoholic? Why are Campari and Aperol red? What is actually in Pat O’ Brien’s Hurricane mix? In Liquidpedia, Jake Burger, bartender and Portobello Road Gin’s master distiller, and Tristan Stepheson, alcohol aficionado from Fluid Movement, discuss the answers to all of these questions and 87 more, as they attempt to pose and deliver a set of 90 broad-ranging booze questions and answers in 90 minutes!
Expert, Enthusiastic

2pm – 5pm
Montelobos Cocktail Competition.
Mean Eyed Cat
Cocktail competition creating drinks to showcase the unique flavours of Montelobos Mezcal.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

5pm – 9pm
The Jekyll & Hyde Cocktail Competition
The Hedonist Project
Details to come.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

5pm – 10pm
The Absolut Roxy Masters
Roxy Ballroom
An Absolut vodka takeover of Roxy Ball Room’s nine-hole golf course followed by a masterclass hosted by Absolut.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm – 8pm
Agave to Glass: an introduction to agave spirits with Ocho Tequila
Cielo Blanco
An introduction to agave spirits with Jesse Estes of Ocho Tequila who will take you on a journey through this incredible spirit category covering its rich and exciting history, production processes and styles. Jesse will also go through an in-depth tasting of the current vintage of Ocho Tequila. Join them for a tequila and taco party to celebrate all things Ocho, with a menu written specifically for the night. This is a free even but booking in advance is a must. Contact Cielo Blanco for enquiries.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm – 8pm
Casamigos Masterclass
Verve
Masterclass presenting Casamigos premium tequila from UK distributor Cellar Trends.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm + 7:30pm + 9pm
Hendrick’s Bar Takeover: The Society of Poetical Musings
The Maven
Poets, artists, creatures of the underworld gather for The Society of Poetical Musings. Sup curious cocktails between each salacious stanza, then return to your humdrum house conversing in couplets. Bookings only. Contact The Maven.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm – 11pm
Licor 43 Live Lounge
Around the World
Around the World and Licor 43 come together for a Spanish fiesta at the Live Lounge Special, with Spanish perfomers along with the best in local acoustic talent.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

7:30pm – 9pm
Evolution of the Rum Cocktail
Mojo
Appleton Estate rums take you through a history of the rum cocktail from punches to Nuclear Daiquiris and everything in between. Taste this range of Jamaican rums in some of the most classic cocktails of our time, with a few twists as well.
Amateur, Enthusiastic

7pm – 10pm
Akashi-Tai Sake Food Pairing Evening
Vice & Virtue
In association with Akashi Tai Sake and ambassador Miho Komatsu-Welpe, who will guide you through the evening with her expert knowledge on the fermented rice drink. Vice & Virtue’s team will be producing a Japanese-inspired menu with a Yorkshire twist to accompany the sake. Minimum ticket quantity is two, maximum is eight. Due to the set-up, there are no refunds due to customer cancellation within five days of the event. Price includes food and drink. Contact Vice & Virtue for bookings and all information.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

7pm – 9pm
Bombay Gin & Food Tasting Evening
Banyan Bar & Kitchen
Let Bombay Sapphire Gin and Banyan take you on a whirlwind gin and food matching, set across three courses of beautiful combinations and flavours.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

8 – 10pm
Grey Goose Dinner
53 Degrees North
In conjunction with Ricci’s Tapas & Chichetti and Grey Goose vodka, a five-course Mediterranean small plates and cocktail pairing evening . Bookings only. Contact 53 Degrees for all information and bookings.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

8pm – close
Casamigos Party
Verve
Party with premium tequila Casamigos.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

Friday June 9

2 – 4pm
Understanding Sake with Akashi-Tai
Vice & Virtue
Join Akashi-Tai’s global brand ambassador Miho Welpe and delve into the history, production and trends in sake as well as tasting your way through traditional and modern twists on sake production.
Expert, Enthusiastic

5pm – 10pm
Aperol Spritz Party with LIVIN’italy
LIVIN’italy
LIVIN’italy and Aperol will host an aperitivo party, with an amazing Aperol Spritz Bar in our terrace serving flowing slush cocktails and Aperol Spritzes, with everything accompanied by Free Food Italian nibbles. Featuring a live DJ set all night long, the main event will be an Aperol Spritz Competition from 7pm to 9pm.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

6pm + 7:30pm + 9pm
Hendrick’s Bar Takeover: The Society of Poetical Musings
The Maven
Poets, artists, creatures of the underworld gather for The Society of Poetical Musings. Sup curious cocktails between each salacious stanza, then return to your humdrum house conversing in couplets. Bookings only. Contact The Maven.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

Saturday June 10

12 – 1:30pm
Your Perfect Gin & Tonic: Blind Tasting Masterclass
The Hedonist Project
Craig Harper of Fever-Tree will be taking you on a journey of the senses and encouraging you to leave the branding behind and helping you craft your perfect G&T by taste and smell alone.

2pm-4pm
Kennedy Meadows takeover by Sir Robin of Locksley Gin
Headrow House – Redondo Beach
Join us to explore the unique taste of Sir Robin of Locksley Gin. Spend the afternoon enjoying samples and cocktails special designed for Leeds Loves Cocktails 2017.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

9pm – 4am
Distrikt present ‘Nightmares on Wax’
Distrikt
Gig in association with Wray & Nephew.

Sunday June 11

7pm -2am
The LLC Official Closing Party
Oporto
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

8pm – 12am
King of The North
Almost Famous
A masterclass with A Game of Thrones twist and amazing Almost Famous food aimed at Game of Thrones fans and non-fans alike plus a Nordic/Game of Thrones themed party, punch pong with an Almost Famous twist and other mini games. Run with Santa Teresa rum.
Expert, Amateur, Enthusiastic

Visit www.lovescocktails.co.uk for updates.

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