City Buzz: Cocktail festival returns to Leeds for two-day extravaganza

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WHETHER you go mad for mojitos or wild for a woo-woo, everyone has their own go-to cocktail.

Luckily for us we’re spoiled for choice with a city full of mixology master craftsmen who can create some of the best-tasting tipples week after week.

And now, for the third year running, Leeds’s top venues will wage their very own bar wars as they battle it out to be crowned king or queen of the cocktail scene.

The popular Cocktails in the City event is back and bigger than ever, with 1,600 people expected to attend the festival at Leeds Town Hall to sample incredible cocktail creations from some of the best bars in Leeds.

Tickets for the 2014 and 2015 events sold out quickly, so this year the organisers are expanding it to a two-day festival.

As usual, 20 of the best bars in Leeds will go head-to-head in a bid to claim the title of ‘Best Cocktail’, and will serve a small menu of their favourite creations for cocktail connoisseurs to try.

But this time there’s even more fun and games planned.

As well as the competition, it will offer masterclasses, food tastings and pairings and street food vendors.

Speaking about what’s in store for the upcoming festival, 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.”

Live escape game Tick Tock Unlock has also got involved and will host its own room this year.

A rum and chocolate tasting event will also be run by Hotel Chocolat and some of the city’s top street food vendors will serve up tasty treats in the underground crypt.

Ticket holders can also go behind the scenes at the town hall, and can sip on cocktails in the Clock Tower overlooking the Leeds skyline or enjoy a drink down in the Victorian prison cells.

As yet, the full list of bars taking part has not been released but in previous years the likes of The Maven, The Alchemist, Epernay and Mojo have all taken part.

In just a year we’ve seen so many drinking dens open – Headrow House, Vice and Virtue, Revolucion de Cuba, Redondo Beach, The Brunswick, Lamb and Flag, Mean Eyed Cat, Shuffledog, Slate, Bar Soba, Archie’s, The Hedonist Project and The Liquorist (to name just a few).

The city’s nightlife scene has expanded so much in the space of 12 months, and each newbie has added something different to the mix.

We hope the latest arrivals will get involved in the cocktail festival and shake things up, showing some of the more seasoned competitors a thing or two.

* Cocktails in the City will be held at Leeds Town Hall on Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8.

It will run from 6pm to 11pm each night.

Follow @cocktailsinthec on Twitter or visit the website at for tickets and more information.

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