Leeds Loves Cocktails gets bigger and expands to Manchester

Nick Fox

More than 40 bars and restaurants are lined up for this year’s Leeds Loves Cocktails as the concept prepares to expand to Manchester.

Now in its fourth year, the festival from June 6 to 12 will be bigger than ever, with bars offering special cocktails and events in partnership with some of the world’s best spirits brands.

Founder Nick Fox (pictured) has also now extended the idea to Manchester Loves Cocktails which will take place for the first time from July 26 to 31 this year, involving around 50 bars. Visit www.lovescocktails.co.uk for updates.

In Leeds the participating bars and restaurants will include Pintura Kitchen and Bar, The Hedonist Project, Jake’s Bar, Blind Tyger, Sandinista, Roxy Ball Room, Manahatta, Oporto, The Alchemist, The Maven and Shears Yard.

Events will include a takeover of Manahatta by The American Bar from The Savoy in London in association with Portobello Road Gin. Joe Lewis-White, from Leeds and now working at The American Bar, will present a unique menu of cocktails to wristband holders and talk through a history of gin with Portobello Road Gin’s brand director Tom Coates.

Other events include a masterclass along with a Margarita Garden at Cielo Blanco with tequila brand AquaRiva and its owner, TV presenter Cleo Rocos. There will also be a series of talks, “Think Outside The Box”, with industry legends such as Marcis Dzelzainis, formerly of Le Coq in Paris and Quo Vadis in London.

At Basque restaurant Pintura Kitchen and Bar there will be “High G&T” in association with Copperhead Gin – an afternoon where English and Spanish come together for a Basque take on afternoon tea.

Also among the programme of masterclasses, competitions, parties and other events will be a “rum exchange” at Roxy Ball Room, tasting dinners at restaurants such as Shears Yard, Chaophraya and Gusto, and a NOLA Rollers jazz and electro party at Jake’s Bar.

Leeds Loves Cocktails features 43 brands including headline sponsors Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, with Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Chambord, Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi and Grey Goose, as well as Hendrick’s, Portobello Road Gin, Tanqueray, Don Julio, Absolut and Campari.

With the bars, they have created a one-off exclusive cocktail selection available for the week at a special price of £4.50 each for people wearing Leeds Loves Cocktails wristbands.

Wristbands are on sale at leedslovescocktails.co.uk at £7.50 for consumers but at the cheaper price of £3.50 for the trade – but proof of employment will be required when collecting the wristband.

Nick said: “We’re celebrating everything that is good about the city of Leeds and its bar scene. This year we have the best line-up yet with 43 amazing venues, brands and the most talented drinks creators taking part to delight Leeds cocktail fans.

“Since its launch four years ago, the festival has grown in popularity and it’s fantastic that we’re now expanding to the north-west with the launch of Manchester Loves Cocktails this July.”

The festival will be supporting Hospitality Action, the trade charity offering a crucial lifeline to people of all ages, working and retired, from the hospitality industry, with 25p of each wristband sold being donated to the charity.

Emma Cottam, business development manager at Hospitality Action, said: “We are hugely grateful to Leeds Loves Cocktails for supporting the work that we do. The long hours and demanding work schedule associated with the hospitality industry add extra stress when trying to cope with life’s daily pressures – sometimes, all it takes is a very small change to turn a manageable situation in to an unmanageable one.

“With the help of the industry and events such as these, Hospitality Action always ensures that there is somewhere for people to turn in their hour of need.”

For a full list of bars and restaurants that are taking part in this year’s event and other information about Leeds Loves Cocktails, visit www.lovescocktails.co.uk or follow them on Twitter at @LeedsCocktails.

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