Wednesday, 28 September 2016
New opening: The Alchemist
Love The Botanist and Aluna?
Love cocktails with a side of theatre, smoke and ice?
Then you probably already know about The Alchemist, now open on Colmore Row. Perhaps you've been to one of their other sites around the country.
I visited one of the Manchester sites in 2013 and it was like nothing I'd seen before. Potions being cooked on little stoves, smoke everywhere and a rather classy atmosphere. It was packed and I can imagine it will be the same in Birmingham.
The Alchemist is in The Grand, the beautiful renovated building on Colmore Row. As well as a traditional bar upstairs, they have a table service bar in the basement. These can't be booked but if you turn up early enough you will have table service with water and nibbles. A very popular concept at the moment a la Bourne and Co and 40 St Pauls.
I wrangled my way in to the media preview via Emily and was able to try a selection from the menu.
Non-purists and those with a sweet palate will be happiest but don't assume that the drinks are all froth and no substance.
There's plenty of fun 'pudding' cocktails, with the Key Lime Pie coming recommended by manager Taylah.
The Solero was very popular too.
The Light Bulb Moment was a minty gin based drink, fun presentation but also a tasty cocktail.
You know you'll be seeing this all over social media any time soon.
My star drink of the night was the Candy Crush, a kind of vodka based Clover Club (one of my favourite cocktails) with rhubarb and rosehip cordial, lemon and egg white. It was prepared in a blender so was extremely foamy. I do love a good egg white cocktail.
I was less impressed with their spin on an Aviation, using blue curacao instead of Creme Yvette and serving it in a tumbler over ice. I don't mind a twist on a classic (see the Candy Crush) but sometimes there's no point. I will have my Aviation a delicate violet colour and served in a coupe please.
Saying that, it's not a hugely popular drink so perhaps this is a good way to bring it to more people.
I liked the grown up vibe contrasted with silly, fun cocktails and it's definitely somewhere I will bring friends. I wouldn't go expecting a classic cocktail like I'd get elsewhere- it's not that kind of bar. There's a few concoctions I've got my eye on and I'll look forward to working my way through them.
There's also quite a substantial food menu. I tried a few bites and they were tasty- I really liked the pork bon bon. I'm not quite sure how to describe the menu. There's a variety on there- prawn katsu curry, fried chicken in a basket, wraps, burgers... Quite crowd pleasing but good for a large group before a night out I suppose! I'd be going for the pork bon bons and some truffle and Parmesan popcorn to snack on while drinking.
Drinks are around £7.50, more for sharers, premium booze or ones which come in reusable hip flasks. Average price for the area.
Certainly a fun new addition to the Birmingham bar scene.
The Alchemist, Colmore Row
Photos by Helen.
I went along as Good Girl Gone Brum's plus one so I wasn't required to write a post. Drinks were complimentary.