Festival shows city’s love for cocktails

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Cocktail lovers will have just about recovered from the last two events of magical mixes in the city – but it is time to party again as Leeds Loves Cocktails returns on Monday.

More than 50 events will take place over the week-long festival and this year there is something for the food fans of Leeds too.

Some 35 of the city’s best bars will team up with the some of world’s best spirit brands, in particular Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin and Rumbullion and Re’al purees which are the main names behind this year’s event, to host an extensive programme featuring masterclasses, tasting dinners, takeovers, competitions, parties and cocktails for a fiver.

This year’s event is being scaled back compared to last year, which was the biggest Leeds Loves Cocktails programme to date.

There were 43 bars and venues involved and more than 60 events but in order to grow the event and offer something different to the likes of The Cocktail Experience and Cocktails in the City, organisers are looking at a different approach that the brand has undertaken in other cities.

Founder Neil Fox said: “It was purely about the cocktails and as we grow we figured let’s merge the food and drink. Also, as we develop, the spirit and the soul and the reason why we are still doing it is we want to showcase our city.”

The pick of the menu sees Shears Yard teaming up with Pinkster Gin for a one-off five course tasting; Hendrick’s presenting The Society of Poetical Musings at Maven with gin cocktails from bone china teapots, musings from poets, artists and creatures of the underworld menu inspired by the flavours of British summertime; Leeds’ musical heroes ‘Nightmares on Wax’ to play at Distrikt in association with Wray & Nephew and a five course tasting menu with premium vodka Grey Goose at 53 Degrees North.

Rather than having the bars under one roof, Nick added that the intention was also to get people into the city and to try new venues they might not normally go to.

He added: “People have cocktails at home these days so we need to take it to the next level and make it extra special to make people come out.

“It is not just masterclasses, but we all have our own tastes so there is no point us saying what we like the idea is to pick what you like whether it is gin, tequila, food focussed or a gig.

“The other events are great but we want to get people into the city to a venue they might not have been, try a different drink and they might really enjoy it and go back.”

Is your favourite bar involved?

Here is the full list of venues which features The Maven, Jake’s Bar and Still, Oporto, Neon Cactus, Call Lane Social, Call Lane Social Tiki Bar, Shears Yard Hedonist Project, Livin Italy, Bibi’s, Pintura Basque Kitchen and Bar, Cielo Blanco, Mojo, Manahatta both sites, Mojo, Banyan Bar and Kitchen, Blackhouse, Roxy Ballroom, The Wardrobe, Headrow House, Verve, Mean Eyed Cat, Distrikt, Brotherhood, Thewlis, Vice & Virtue, Hirst’s Yard, Almost Famous, Around the World, 51% Bourbon, Decanter, 53 Degrees, The Pit, Meatliqour and Chida Cantina.

Leeds Loves Cocktails wristbands cost £5 and includes access to all the festival’s events, as well as £5 discounted cocktails.