On Friday night, I was very kindly invited to attend a cocktail masterclass to help promote the Love Cocktails festival which is taking place in Nottingham from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th of April. Now, I have never been one to turn down a cheeky cocktail, so I was very excited to have a taste and also get to know a bit more about this exciting event which was coming to my home city.
As we were going to be drinking plentiful cocktails during the evening, I knew I didn’t want to drive so Sarah from Entirely Sarah and Ellie from UniqueLoveStyle kindly took me under their wing and we travelled into Nottingham on the bus. (Holy moly, that is one loooonng bus journey). We arrived in Nottingham with plenty of time to spare, so wandered around a few shops and then even had time to stop for a quick burger at Five Guys – we all know you shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.
We arrived at our venue for the evening, Brass Monkey and were greeted by Nick (from Loves Cocktails) and Ehren (General Manager of Brass Monkey). As I walked in to the bar, I was hit by a sense of deja vu – I think we may have popped in there for a drink on my hen do. I’m blaming my dodgy memory on time, rather than the alcohol consumed!
Nick first created Loves Cocktails back in 2013 and launched his first festival in Leeds. Since then he has expanded to include festivals in Manchester and this year will feature two new cities: Liverpool and, of course, Nottingham! Both guys were incredibly friendly, welcoming and informative. They clearly had real passion for their work and knew what they were talking about which it came to cocktail creation!
Once all of the bloggers had arrived, we were handed out first cocktail of the evening – a twist on the classic Tom Collins, featuring Portobello Road gin, apple juice and thyme. As it was such a glorious evening we decided to head out to the terrace to enjoy our drinks and have a chat. The terrace was beautifully decorated with cute flowers and lanterns. It was a bloggers’ paradise and I’m sure will feature on a fair few Instagrams after the event!
While we were sipping (some quicker than others!) our drinks, Nick gave us a bit of background information on the festival and also his experience in working with cocktails. In the past, I have always gone for cheap and cheerful cocktails and have never really given much thought into what goes into them. It was really interesting to hear from professionals who understand the chemistry and precision that goes into making a good cocktail! It certainly tied in nicely with the festival’s mantra – “Drink better, not more.”
Our second drink of the evening was a play on the margarita, featuring pineapple and basil. I must admit, I was sceptical when I first heard the ingredients, but I didn’t have any trouble drinking it – it was delicious.
So, what is the Nottingham Loves Cocktails festival all about? Basically, over 7 days in April, 16 venues in Nottingham are teaming up with 16 of the best brands in premium spirits to provide a fantastic schedule of events including tastings, workshops and all-out parties!
If you visit the website, you can pick up a festival wristband for £10 (there are offers available for students etc) which allows you to get discounted cocktails at participating venues as well as entry to all of the exciting events.
I’ve had a quick scour through the event guide and I have to say, there really is something for everyone! If I had to pick my top 3 I’d like to check out it would be (in no particular order!):
- NOTTINGHAM HILL CARNIVAL (Friday 5pm – 11pm @ Brass Monkey) A carnival? In Nottingham? This sounds like one not to be missed!
- COCKTAILS, WINGS AND CARIBBEAN VIBES (Saturday 3pm – 12am @ Bunk) Rum is my all-time favourite spirit and this just sounds like the my kind of evening!
- NOTTINGHAM LOVES COCKTAILS CLOSING PARTY (Sunday 7pm – 3am @ The Bunker) – Because there’s no party like a closing party!
I must admit, I’m a little hazy on the ingredients for the final cocktail, a new concoction which it was decided would be called “Passionate Afternoon” (I’m pretty sure that’s not its official title.) I do remember it contained Prosecco with a cherry and mint garnish and I think there was vodka and various fruit juices although I couldn’t say for certain. I do remember that it was very nice and went down easily!
As the evening drew to a close, we had fun quizzing Nick on everything from his favourite cocktail to his top 3 recommended bars in Europe. I had a fantastic evening and really enjoyed getting to know other local bloggers, as well as meeting some familiar faces.
I’d like to thank Nick and Ehren for being such wonderful hosts and creating a great evening for us all. I also need to thank Emmie from Carpediemmie for inviting me along in the first place. I always appreciate being given opportunities such as these.
If you would like any more information about Nottingham Loves Cocktails or want to know how and where to get your wristband, check out their website. I’m certainly hoping to get back to a few of the events to see what our great city has to offer and certainly hope this is an event we’ll see more of in future years.