COCKTAILS are big business in Leeds right now – and the competition to be the city’s top mixing maestro is hotter than ever.
We cocktail-lovers have more bars fighting for our business than ever before, and deciding where to go for your fancy weekend tipple fix can be a tough call.
Luckily for us then, that we have Cocktails in the City, where venues from across Leeds meet under one roof to wage their very own bar wars and give us lucky punters a chance to sample their best bespoke creations.
This week City Buzz got a preview of what they have in store for you at the event later this year – and the results range from the sublimely sour to the ridiculously sweet.
The launch event at Bar Soba this week saw each of the 20 participating bars showcase their creations and wow the crowd with the unusual drinks they have come up with for this year’s competition.
One of the stand-out concoctions was the ‘Lemon Cheesecake’ by Roxy Leisure, with mascarpone cheese, vodka, limoncello, lemon curd and a digestive biscuit rim.
Another eye-catching creation was the ‘Asian Shandy’ by Bar Soba, with lemongrass, ginger, coconut syrup, beer, lychee liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Visitors at the Cocktails in the City event in April will get to cast their vote for their favourite tipple, with the winner being given the coveted ‘Best Cocktail’ award.
Taking part this year are Bar Soba, Chaophraya, Jake’s Bar, the Jones Bar Group, Mojo, Revolucion de Cuba, Roxy Leisure, Skylounge, The Brotherhood, The East Village, Manahatta, Cielo Blanco, The Hedonist Project, Chez Mal, Almost Famous, Pintura, Meat Liquor, The Alchemist and Roast and Conch.
With stalwarts like Mojo going head-to-head with newbies like Bar Soba, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
The two-day cocktail festival will be held at Leeds Town Hall from 6pm to 11pm on Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8.
Tabara N’Diaye, one of the organisers, said: “Every year we challenge ourselves to build on previous editions and make each festival even better than the one before.
“In addition to the extraordinary line-up of bars we’re working with, many of which are new to the city, we’re delighted to be partnering with an array of fantastic Leeds businesses to offer a plethora of tastings, masterclasses, games and culinary pairings.”
Ticketholders can get involved with a Tick Tock Unlock escape room, rum and chocolate tastings with Hotel Chocolat and top street food vendors, who will be serving up dishes in the undercover crypt.
Visitors will also get the chance to sip on cocktails in the Clock Tower or in one of the hidden bars in the Victorian prison cells.
It’s easy to understand why the 2014 and 2015 festivals were sell-out events.
The competition has captured the imaginations of bartenders and punters, and grows in size each time.
Despite it being an annual event, none of the participants have rested on their laurels and we can safely say the bar is being raised every year.
We can’t wait to raise a glass at the competition in April.
For details and tickets, visit the website at www.cocktailsinthecity.co.uk.