The Alchemist opened last September on Colmore Row and has had queues outside ever since. It's fashionably decked out in copper with fun light fittings, and the cocktails are the silly kind that look impressive on instagram. They have recently launched a new cocktail menu and I'll be writing in more about the cocktails available soon.
In this post I'll be focusing on the cocktail masterclass they offer. £35 pp gets you four cocktails (two which you make yourself) and some food. It was held in the basement bar, which is quiet and private, away from the crowds upstairs. We were greeted with a Peaches and Cream cocktail- peach liqueur, pink grapefuit and lemon juice with a shot of prosecco to pour in. This was perfect for the warm day- sweet but not cloyingly so, as the grapefruit and lemon added sharpness.
Our host Omari demonstrated how to free pour and got us to practise with water. Free pouring is a surprisingly difficult skill: you have to count in your head, it's not just a case of pouring as much as you want. I think free pouring makes a bar seem very generous, we all get excited when we see bartenders pouring a seemingly random amount of gin into a glass. Actually, bartenders have to do a test at the start of each shift and if they get it wrong they can't work that day.
First we learnt how to make a Strawberry Cup, a long, refreshing drink made with vodka, strawberry puree, lemon juice, ginger ale and mint. Again, perfect for the summer.
Next: Bounty. This sounds like it would be rich and creamy but it was actually pleasantly light and coconut focused with just a hint of chocolate. Made with Koko Kanu coconut rum, white chocolate liqueur and lime juice to cut through the sweetness, it's another refreshing summer drink.
Three drinks in, it was definitely time for some food. As I was with Emily, we were served the vegetarian version of their sharer platter. I wasn't expecting to be impressed, but I really enjoyed this little selection. Edamame beans, little cheesy wraps, falafel, nachos and dips were lovely to pick at while we drank our cocktails and had a chat.
The masterclass section was over and the food was consumed; there was time for one final cocktail. We were given the sort of drink that people visit The Alchemist for- colours changing, smoking, fun glassware and not necessarily great tasting.
This is the Colour Changing One (actually what it's called, which is a cute name) and is made with apple and vodka. I enjoyed taking pictures of it but it wasn't a great quality drink.
Other than the final drink, this masterclass made me feel much more positive about The Alchemist. It was a well-organised afternoon and I liked the light, summery drinks and snacks we tried. Check back soon for a look at their new cocktail menu.
Photos by Helen.
I went along as a plus one with Good Girl Gone Brum and so the afternoon was free of charge. However, I was not required to write a blog post.