I’m no stranger to the Opus group (you can read about previous experiences here, here, here, and here). So I was very happy when they invited me down to try out their new cocktail menu at Bar Opus.
Situated just past Colmore Row, nestled next to Snowhill Train Station, the bar has become a firm fave with the CBD crowd with a modern interior.
We were going to be looking at 12 new cocktails over the evening, with a demonstration of the preparation for each drink and a taster so we could capture the flavour.
Our first cocktail of the evening was a Milk Punch. Created with Makers Mark, Kraken Rum, Vanilla Syrup, Half and Half with a dash of nutmeg. The rich creamy drink definitely had a Christmassy feel to it, with the dash of nutmeg.
Next up was the Hereford Scrambler. Consisting of Chase Rhubarb Vodka, Chase Blackcurrant Liqueur, lime, lemon and soda. As you can expect from the Rhubarb Vodka, this was a very tart little number full of autumnal flavour, the blackberry kick giving it a sweet aftertaste.
Next was a drink named The Clover Club; this had Martin Miller’s Gin, Nolly Prat Vermouth, lemon juice, raspberries and an egg. This was a sweet fruity drink, which had the vermouth come through to warm the insides.
Next up up was a Pear and Cardamom Sidecar, with Xante Pear brandy, Cointreau, lemon and cardamom. This smelled like a big bag of peardrop sweets and the cardamom tingled the back of the throat.
Next was the Ginger Bellini. A simple combination of Ginger Liqueur, Ginger syrup and Prosecco. This worked really well and I’m surprised I’ve not seen it more often! Warm, spicy and sweet, I can see this being a hit on a chilly autumnal evening!
After a few snacks, it was on to the second half of the tasting.
The second half began with Beggars Banquet made with Makers Mark, Agnostura Bitters, Peaky Blinder’s Ale, maple syrup and lemon. The bitters and syrup gave it a nice mulled flavour and reminded me of a nice Christmas Market.
We moved onto a Cowboy Hoof Martini made with London Dry Gin, Orange Bitters, mint and syrup; a very minty cocktail with a rich sweetness.
Continuing our Cocktail Crawl was a Missionary’s Downfall, consisting of White Rum, Peach Liqueur, lime juice, syrup and lemon. This had a citrus punch with the sweetness of the pineapple and peach coming through and was the most ‘summery’ of the cocktails we had that evening.
Next, a Port Cobbler. The cobbler can probably lay a good claim to being one of the oldest cocktails in the world and this was an interesting twist. Combining Monkey Shoulder Whisky, Grand Marnier, Port, lemon and syrup, this reminded me of a boiled sweet with a rich, velvety flavour which slipped down nicely.
Next was a slice of the Caribbean in the shape of the Old Kokonut. Made with Koko Kanu Rum, Prosecco, Agnostura Bitters, mint, lime and syrup. This reminded me a touch of a more elegant version of a Malibu Bellini and would work nicely on a beach with a few palms in the background.
The final cocktail (I got a picture of) was an Opus Manhattan. A signature twist on an Old Faithful, this was made with Nikka Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, Japanese Plum Liqueur, Angostura Bitters and mulled spices. It was my favourite of the evening, being the whisky fan that I am, with rich deep plummy notes complementing the high notes of the bitters and spices.
The final cocktail for the evening was an English Collins, combining Martin Millers Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, lemon juice, cucumber and soda water. Very refreshing and a great way to finish off the evening.
If you’re in the CBD and looking for a cocktail, there’s enough variety in flavour on the list to suit anyone’s palate and in great surroundings too!
Disclaimer: For this event, I was a guest of Bar Opus and Clive Reeves PR who provided all food and drinks; this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.
Situated just off Suffolk Street in the heart of the city and less than a minutes walk from Beetham Tower, it’s a bit of a Brum stalwart.
The Island Bar is coming up to it’s 10th anniversary after opening in 2006, though in my hazy memories of youth it feel like it’s been there since before I can remember! Downstairs has a funky retro bar but upstairs (where we were located for the evening) is a Tiki Bar, bringing a slice of Hawaii to Brum.
The Island Bar is centred around a particular beverage, as are all B&T venues, this one being the sailor’s favourite, rum!
Starting off with a ‘Banana Colada’, a fun twist on the classic Pina Colada, this creamy little beverage got us into the cocktail mood whilst general manager Simon Gilligan talked us through what fun we were to enjoy this evening
First up we made B52’s:
This is a classic cocktail of Kahlúa (coffee liqueur), Cointreau (triple sec) and Bailey’s (Irish Cream). Built (rather than stirred or shaken) correctly, it separates into distinct layers giving a really pleasing effect and always a good one to make when showing off. The Island Bar has taken a unique twist on this, putting the Irish Cream last rather than the Triple Sec giving it a little bit of a mini pint of Guinness look.
I made a right mess but you can see Dave Massey of #BrumHour and Laura of Brum on a Budget making their fantastic efforts below:
Next up was a very special little drink. The Island Bar’s famous Flaming Moe!
A tribute to this classic Simpsons cocktail (you know the one with the Cheers theme parody). No Cough Syrup in this one but instead heady mix of Wray & Nephew Rum, Orange Liqueur and Cotton Candy flavoured syrup, all set on fire in spectacular fashion!
Our final cocktail to make was Island Bar’s most well known cocktail and named after a legendary old Birmingham night club, The Rum Runner.
This one was made of Appleton Rum, blackcurrant liqueur, banana liqueur, grenadine, and orange juice. A rather fruity mix and slipped down lightly, I even got to test out my shaking skills:
Don’t forget The Bitters & Twisted cocktail trail is back and runs until the end of June. Across 8 Birmingham venues, including: Island Bar, The Victoria, The Jekyll & Hyde, Buffalo & Rye, Marmalade, The Rose Villa Tavern, Bodega Cantina and The New Inn. Each have their own special cocktail in aid of Acorns Children’s Hospice with 50p from the sale of each special cocktail going to the charity. At the end of the trail, every full cocktail trail card exchanged for a free cocktail will generate an extra 50p for Acorns. By my accounts, that gives you a day a cocktail so get cracking!
You know, I could get used to this bartending lark…
Disclaimer: For this evening, we were guests of Brumderland and The Island Bar who provided all drinks for Wifey and I; this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.
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