Arabic coffee, white negronis, and sweet sweet honey wine
Turns out we don't just shove food in our faces all day every day, we occasionally indulge in some liquid-based treats to wash down all the pigs cheek and cripsy beef too. Sometimes these liquids are floral and alcoholic, and other times they come in a teapot, but usually there's always one that stands out from the crowd and gets a "best drinks" shout-out.
With the month of dryness firmly behind us, we've let all things tequila-based and garnished with leaves back into our lives again. Some of us didn't fancy feeling fragile on a work day though, so we got a smoothie instead.
Read on for a list of the best things to drink in Manchester this March
Rosa,10 Tib Lane (£9)
When it's available, I always order tequila in all of its forms. Slammers, Margaritas, Sunrise’s, I’ve tried them all. I think I’ve told people a few too many times that it's the only upper alcohol too, it's become my favourite useless fact. However, on a Friday eve in the middle of Feb, 10 Tib Lane introduced me to a whole different type of tequila goodness with their Rosa cocktail in a tall thin glass.
A simple mix of Olmeca Altos Blanco tequila, hibiscus cordial, and soda, the cocktail looks a bit like a glass of very weak Vimto, but tastes like so much more. A refreshing change from the usual cloudy looking, sharp-tasting tequila-based tipple, the Rosa is subtly sweet and super moreish. Moreish enough for me to drink three more and take a couple of blurry snaps to remember the floral flavour and tempting fruity colour. If tequila gives you PTSD from one too many shots, try a Rosa to ease your way back into the arms of the only alcohol that isn't a depressant - remember that fact. Ellie-Jo Johnstone @elliejoj
Super Smoothie, Globe Chorlton (£4.50)
I’m on a smoothie kick this month. I think it’s a visceral response to the number of cheese toasties I’ve been eating. And of course, a great smoothie will cancel out any wine, spirits or greasy breakfasts, too. They really are a heal-all kinda beverage, and, as I did with hot chocolates a couple of months ago, I’ve been sampling them all around town.
Blueberries and goji berries balance triumphantly on top of my smoothie from Globe in Chorlton and I can barely suck this solid liquid through the paper straw - a struggle only comparable to a thick McDonald’s milkshake.
The “super” in this one presumably comes from the inclusion of açai which gives an intense purple colour and earthy flavour to counter the sweet banana and mango. Coconut milk brings the smooth creaminess and with it my body is now cleansed of all previous sins. Amen. Sophie Rahnema @sophieshahla
Arabic coffee, Cedar bakery (£2.50)
Rusholme is within a short walk of my flat and I head down there often - even if just to stock up on every kind of lentil, fresh curry leaves and frozen parathas from the brilliant Worldwide Foods. I recently discovered the wonder that is Cedar Bakery just off the main drag, this relatively new Lebanese place opened in late 2020. Look out for my review of a great breakfast I had there soon but here I want to shine a light on the Arabic coffee. Intensely strong and scented with one of my favourite spices in the whole world: cardamom. I love its medicinal, almost floral scent. It’s such a mysterious, uplifting, bright smell, unique really but hangs around in the same gang as eucalyptus - to my nostrils anyway. Whatever, if it’s present in a dish, I want it. This coffee will put a rocket in your pocket for the rest of the day, just pour it gently in order to leave the ground coffee bean sludge where it belongs in the bottom of the ceremonial copper pot (rakwe in Lebanese, cezve in Turkish, briki in Greek) it’s served in. Cedar also makes its own baklawa, a perfect sweet partner. Kelly Bishop @keliseating
Track 11, Speak In Code (£12)
I drank three Track 11 cocktails last month all because of a picture I saw on Facebook. That’s the power of a well-taken picture for you. Said picture was for an article rounding up the Top 50 cocktail bars in the UK, in which Speak In Code placed tenth. The highest placing Manchester bar. The name Track 11 is an extension of the music theme at Speak In Code; some cocktails have track names, coasters are miniature vinyl records and the playlist slaps.
Billed as a white negroni, which in itself is too intriguing to not investigate, Track 11 combines Sipsmith dry gin infused with elderflower, Génépi (a traditional Italian herbal liqueur), homemade white Charentes (western French cognac-style aperitif) and the bar’s own spent botanical bitters - a collaboration with Sipsmith using the distillery’s spent botanicals. It’s a beautiful drink in both taste and aesthetic. That familiar bitterness of a negroni soon transitions to sweet elderflower, giving each sip about a one or two second delay before one flavour transitions to the other. I plan to drink three more next month too. Davey Brett @dbretteats
Flagon of honey wine, Asmara Bella, (£6.50)
Honey wine (or tej) is a traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean drink of celebration, often seen at weddings or other gatherings. It is an ancient and noble brew. Legend has it that the Queen of Sheba toasted King Solomon with tej. But this lengthy history doesn't stop it being suitable for an overly jolly lunch in the Northern Quarter too. Home brewed by Asmara Bella, this golden drop is perfect accompaniment to a vast injera pancake and is rumoured to have medicinal properties - it's said to protect against malaria and even Alzheimer's; which may or may not be the case but it certainly cured a case of the midweek blues. Lucy Tomlinson @hotcupoftea
Read again: Manchester’s top eating out offers: March 2022
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