Cocktails and coffee are two of my favourite things.
There are some awesome-exciting things coming up in Leeds over the next few months if you love cocktails and/or coffee too.
I’e previewed Cocktails in the City Leeds 2017, and the Barista School sessions at 200 Degrees Leeds to give you the lowdown on some of the great goings-on for cocktails and coffee in Leeds this year.
Just so we’re clear: I was lucky enough to preview these events free of charge. The below are my honest opinions on the experiences.
First up, Cocktails in the City is returning to Leeds Town Hall for its’ 5th year in Leeds this April.
Cocktails in the City is more than just an event. To be honest,
To be honest, it’s closer to a cocktail festival than anything else, encompassing all kinds of experiences, from a range of bars and cocktails in the main room to pop-ups from local bars in every corner of the Town Hall: literally from the dungeons to the clocktower.
The event is taking place at the Town Hall, but the preview I attended was a roving showcase of cocktails across the city, covering four of the venues (and far more cocktails) to be exhibited at this years’ event.
All images of the Cocktails in the City event were provided by Cocktails in the City, I Like Press and Tom Joy, because I forgot to bring my camera to the preview event, like a massive doofus.
Cocktails in the City Leeds 2017 Preview:
- First stop: Pintura Kitchen. Fittingly, for a restaurant tucked into a gap (that I would have sworn wasn’t there before) between Marks & Spencers, Turks Head Yard, and Itsu, Pintura are taking over a side room in the town hall. They’re serving a 3-course Basque taster menu paired with sherry and vermouth cocktails. The event promises to be a celebration of basque culture, and of the traditional Basque ‘vermouth hour’ when vermouth is sipped in the early evening alongside a snack of small-plates.
- Smokestack was our next stop. Again, somewhat fittingly (for an upstairs bar), Smokestack are planning to take over the Clock Tower for the second year running. Now before you get excited about the views, and romanticise drinking gin atop the tallest tower, Imma just remind you that there are over 200 steps to climb up before you get there. If you do manage the climb though, you’re in for a treat. Bathtub Old Tom Gin will be paired with Smokestack’s own house tonic in a slightly sweet, spiced cocktail that will warm you to your cockles.
- Next, it was coffee at 200 Degrees. 200 Degrees are a Nottingham-born specialty roastery who launched a coffee shop on Bond Street in Leeds earlier this year. Though they don’t have their own license, 200 Degrees are launching a coffee concentrate for cocktails at CITC this year. Currently, the concentrate is only available commercially, but we tried it in a ‘Coffee Libre’ and a White Russian and, as a coffee lover (more on this later…) I can tell you that I was a-mazing (and I’d love to get my hands on some to throw into my favourite espresso martini recipe).
- Finally, we headed down to Revolucion de Cuba. The cocktail served up at Revolucion de Cuba was a very sweet Mojito-style mango drink. I’m not super into sweet cocktails as a rule, but this one had me at the name: ‘A Mangoes Into A Bar’. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a menu-based pun. To be honest, I was about six cocktails in at this point and sort of… ran out of note-taking steam. The whole event was awesome though, and I can’t wait for Cocktails in the City 2017.
If you love cocktails (and, let’s be real, who doesn’t?) you should bag yourself tickets to Cocktails in the City Leeds on 6th or 7th April this year.
200 Degrees Barista School
I also had the opportunity this week to try my hand at a little latte art at 200 Degrees’ Barista School (spoiler: I am terrible at latte art).
The class covers everything from the history of coffee to the journey a bean goes through to get from a farm just below the equator, into your morning brew.
And then the fun part starts! I’ve worked in coffee shops, so I have used espresso machines before, but the level of detail that goes into ‘proper’ barista brewed espresso is astounding. Everything, from the humidity in the air to the coarseness of the grind affect the making of an espresso – no matter how much you control it, every cup is a little different (which is pretty cool, really).
Effortless as our instructor made it look, perfecting latte art is hard. Having worked in a coffee shop before, I thought I’d be a dab hand, but highlights of my ‘art’ included ‘blobby thing’ ‘ghost, I guess’ and ‘kinda looks like a duck – does this look like a duck to you?’. Not my finest hour, though other people on the course had a tad more artistic flair than me.
The basic barista class costs around £75 per person and would make a great gift for coffee lovers. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer gifting experiences than stuff. Maybe I’m selfish, but if there’s stuff I want, I just go out and buy it – I’d much rather spend time with the people I love, doing something awesome than fill my house with more miscellaneous gubbins beautiful things that people carefully picked out for me.