Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Botanist turns one and launches new cocktail menu

The Botanist! Since it launched to great hysteria last year, it's been pretty much packed every day. I've tried to visit on more than one occasion with a friend or with my mum only to find a long wait for food or no tables. Safe to say it's been pretty popular.

A great deal of The Botanist's popularity comes from its pretty, green house style aesthetics. This isn't going to be for everyone- many have dismissed it as gimmicky. I don't mind a gimmick and I like the atmosphere in The Botanist. I've only eaten there a couple of times and it's basically up graded pub grub. Which I enjoy, especially when with my non-foodie friends. The prawn skewer is top notch. 

Another thing I like about The Botanist is the nightly live music, which gives it a great atmosphere. Onto the focus of this post though- the drinks.

In the Easter holidays I went to their first birthday celebration where I had a few of their signature cocktails, which I talked about in my post about their cocktail master class (which is highly recommendable). 

We also had a little tray of canapes which were actually rather nice. There was also a lovely cake, which we all took a slice of, wrapped in a napkin of course.

It was a very nice evening and I fully enjoyed the atmosphere, the music and the company.

A week or so later and I was back for a preview of their new cocktail menu. For the apparently few people in Birmingham who haven't visited, they have a massive cocktail menu, mainly fruity and floral twists on classics.

The menu has been re-designed to make it easier to spot what you want. It is now split into flutes, martinis, long, short and classics.

There is also a rather sweet gin list- with a gin from every area of the country that The Botanist has opened in. Birmingham is, of course, represented by Langley's.

The Botanist have lovely glassware and very pretty presentation. Every drink that came out looked exciting and made you wonder what it was. Prices are standard for city centre cocktails, between £7 and £10 depending what you order.

We were talked through the new menu by Aaron, who is one of the team behind the cocktails. There is a very clear vision. They know their customer- what they like, what they're comfortable with and what can be pushed.

We went through ten samples of cocktails from across the menu.

The Lemon Balm Tini was one of my favourites. I'm all for a grown up drink, but sometimes you want something that tastes like lemon sherberts.

Blackberry and Mint Julep seemed to be popular around the group. The whiskey was in there but not so much to frighten off non-whiskey drinkers.

We also tried one of their mocktails, a Berry Good Time, which was super fruity and not immediately obvious that it was a mocktail compred to the other drinks.

The most popular drink around the table was the Apricot and Mint Daiquiri, from the Classic Botany section. I love the look of a lot of the drinks in this section- I didn't get to try a Rosemary Negroni but I'm definitely going for it next time I'm there.

My personal favourite was the Vodka Martini. I'm very into Martinis at the moment and I tensed a little at the idea of it being messed with! But the slight hint of lemon balm and a kaffir lime leaf worked very well indeed. It was still sharp and crisp and grown up.

My second favourite was a Honey and Sage Manhattan. I've got into Manhattans recently too but I'm a bit less precious about them so when I heard the name my response was "OOOOOOH". Again, it retained the grown up-ness of a Manhattan. They automatically serve it sweet (rather than dry or perfect) which the honey compliments.

I like the shake up of the cocktail menu at The Botanist. Tidying up the menu was a good idea as was using fresh fruit instead of syrups where possible. The vast majority of cocktails on the sweet side, but that suits the brand. I don't mind a sweet cocktail from time to time and I'll certainly enjoy working my way through the twisted classics section- that Rosemary Negroni has got my name on it.

The Botanist, Temple Street, Birmingham

Photos by me.

I was invited to the birthday but wasn't required to blog. I also had a great deal of complimentary drinks at the cocktail tasting in return for an honest blog post. 

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