Lobster with your Bloody Mary sir?

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Most of us are partial to a cocktail and nibbles every now and then - but what if they were literally combined together?

Well that is what chef Luke Downing has done, taking the fine dining his award winning restaurant is renowned for, to the next level.

Along with bar manager, Dean Railton and restaurant manager, Ryan Grindley, the trio from Vice and Virtue have created five new cocktails that are certainly mouth watering.

A first for Leeds, and even the north of England, they have twisted some of the oldest and more traditional cocktails and given them a food infusion fresh from the Vice kitchen.

At an exclusive taste test with City Buzz, Dean said: “We are keen to link the bar with the kitchen and push some boundaries. These are not for the faint hearted but they are absolutely top quality and are some of the more adventurous drinks you will find in the north of England.

‘That Bloody Lobster’, more traditionally known as a Bloody Mary, is possibly the most controversial and is going to be a love it or hate it concoction.

It is Blanco tequila, lobster bisque, garnished with shrimp, paprika, frayed celery, lemon and black pepper.

‘Duck L’Elijah’ is 12 year old Elijah Craig with a duck infusion, orange and Angostura bitters, brown sugar and an orange peel and smoked duck breast garnish.

‘Rum Chicken Rum’ consists of Doorly’s three year old spirit infused with jerk chicken, pineapple, orange and lime juice, grenadine, served in a pepper with jerk chicken wing

Kosher Manhattan has Rittenhouse 100 washed with beef rump, Kummel liquor, mustard seed formula with a Gherkin and Ruben Sandwich garnish.

Luke Dowing pictured at Vice and Virtue restaurant, New Briggate, Leeds...11th May 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Luke Dowing pictured at Vice and Virtue restaurant, New Briggate, Leeds...11th May 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

And so no-one misses out, there is one specially designed for vegans. It is a heady mix of Death’s Door gin, Noilly Pratt vermouth, Ginegar shrub (made up of white wine vinegar sage, basil, bay leaf, juniper and lemon peel, sugar and water) sage and onion garnish.

A quick google search of food infused cocktails brings up suggestions for flowers in drinks and maybe a couple of London restaurants with them but it remains a radical concept. However, with an intricate recipe list like that, a well thought out one.

Luke said: “These are about ten years in the making. When I first started a business I was into food and drink and something I always wanted to do was bring them together.

“Before I was educated in cocktails I never tried to make the spirits or infuse them but I got more into it as I developed as a chef.

“When I got Vice it became my life again and rather than just be a chef, I decided to take a year out of the kitchen and get in touch with everything to do with being a bar tender again.”

Developing the food cocktails came about, as do the best plans, over a post work whiskey with Dean. The pair talked about old fashioned methods of making cocktails and food and then explored the sciences behind things like the evaporation of alcohol and the cooking points of proteins.

Luke added: “Although the drinks scene in Leeds is progressive we thought the combination of food and drink is not being pursued. We have created something that won’t be for everybody, that was not our intention. We have just done what we love and hopefully there is a niche group of people that do too.”