Our weekly round up of stories you might have missed from around town
CHOCOLATES you need to keep an eye on, high-up high-end dinner at the Food & Drink Festival, Hooky helps out with a Haç-inspired tipple, and we get in the spirit of summer with Italian cocktails and super-expensive gin.
It's a bit heavier on the booze than the edibles this week, but here are the latest food and drink goings-on around town…
Kicking the can for a free cocktail
Grab a tin from the cupboard, a packet of rice or non-perishable pasta and head to your nearest Alchemist (Media City, New York Street, Spinningfields) on 29 August for their one-day-only Swap Shop. Every customer who hands over in-date, unopened tinned, dried and packaged foods will be gifted a cocktail – The Colour Changing One (Grey Goose vodka, Briottet apple, soda, citrus and magic) – for free. Larger donations will be accepted, and everything will be distributed to foodbanks by local charity Mustard Tree. Passionate about helping raise awareness of food poverty, The Alchemist has also been partnering with Foodinate since May 2018, so far funding 33,000 meals for people who need it for every order of a menu item marked with a special fork icon. Good on ’em.
Gardeners’ quaffing time
In other '–ist' news, The Botanist is taking the drinks al fresco in Alderley Edge, with a Luxardo Cherry Garden Gin Bar getting installed outside from 23 August and through September. Prop up the Med-inspired pop-up and you’ll be able to try out some special cocktail creations using Italy’s classic Luxardo Limoncello and its new Sour Cherry Gin. Long, lighter aperitivo-style drinks as well as tried-and-tested numbers with a twist will be served: Limoncello Spritz, Italian 75, Lost in Thyme and Cherry, Blossom & Tonic. If you share your sipping moment via Instagram, you might win a trip to Venice, not far from the Padua home of Luxardo.
Copyright Peter Hook
Three years on from distilling booze in their dining room, Jen and Seb of multi-award-winning Manchester Gin have added a new flavour to their range – FAC51 The Haçienda. The first two batches will feature limited-edition bottles – with hallmark yellow and black stripes and the famous Use Hearing Protection image as part of the design – created in partnership with Joy Division and New Order legend Peter Hook. Locally foraged dandelion and burdock root give Manchester Gin a signature flavour, with zesty lemon and lime peel a nod to the city’s iconic acid house scene. Hooky says: ‘I wanted to choose ingredients for the gin that told a story of the Haçienda – I love the reference to acid house and smooth notes. But, while I was there for the selection of the ingredients, I had to leave the final tasting and approval to my wife.’
Where do we be-gin?
Gin gin gin. If you’ve got the cash to splash, you’ll be pleased to hear about a new tipple just in at 1837. Manchester’s exclusive gin bar has added to its 60-strong gins of the world offer with what they reckon – and we’re not going to argue – is the city’s most expensive gin. The Corn Exchange speakeasy, which has gained a reputation for its bespoke gin menu, has become the first bar in the UK to stock the individually numbered award-winning NOLET’S Reserve Gin, not available to buy by the bottle anywhere else in the country. With expertly blended flavours and the perfect combination of delicate botanicals, including saffron and verbena, it’s served strictly straight and aimed at true gin enthusiasts – rich ones, since it costs £60 per serve. It's your round.
Life of Brian
You can look down on everyone if you snaffle one of the limited £60 tickets for the special Manchester Food and Drink Festival Dinner hosted by 20 Stories on 3 October. Manchester’s highest restaurant will be putting on a special three-course set menu (salmon ballotine, Dingley Dell pork, and salted caramel tart with ginger stem ice cream) with paired wines. It’s ‘curated’ by head chef Brian Hughson – who’s also putting on a cooking demo at the Festival Hub’s custom-built food and drink centre, which will be welcoming the hungry hoards at the 22nd annual MFDF 26 September to 7 October.
Bon anniversaire to Bistrot Pierre, celebrating 25 years with a special new ‘Best of’ birthday menu. Voted for by the customers in the group’s 24 restaurants nationwide, dishes include classics like French onion soup, coq au vin, boeuf Bourguignon and crème brûlée, with the Altrincham branch (open since 2016) clamouring for haddock risotto and smoked trout mousse. ‘Best of Bistrot Pierre: as voted for by you’ is available at lunch for the rest of August and users of loyalty app Mon Pierre Rewards on Sunday to Thursday evenings. So bon appetit to you.
Choc till you drop
Bramhall MasterChef finalist David Crichton has just launched a range of indulgent, luxury chocolates following his Careless Wispa creation on the show last year. Using top-quality, Fairtrade ingredients such as Ecuadorian nacional cocoa, tonka beans and speculoos truffle, and unusual additions like the naturally occurring ruby cocoa to create a pinkish bar, David says he ‘wanted to push the boundaries’ with the handmade chocs. Described as ‘gourmet’ and ‘sophisticated’, and including a vegan-friendly dairy-free selection, each midnight blue and gold embossed 200g box contains four bars and costs £12.50 from independent retailers and David’s own website. Oh sorry, nearly forgot, they’re called The Careless Collection.
Roll up, roll up…
Head to Hatch for a fun-filled August, with markets, open mic, a right rum knees-up, cake-decorating workshops with the Cheesecake Fairy and loads of family-friendly activities under the Mancunian Way flyover. A big screen will be showing kids’ classics for free and the newly extended Hatch will be transformed into a Big Top on 25 August, with a circus ringmaster-led singalong to The Greatest Showman. Hire a deckchair for a prime view, or perch at one of the tables. Resident DJs play in the courtyard every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday daytimes, and, continuing the carnival theme, the Morning Gloryville team are back for a yoga, healing and music-filled morning on 17 August featuring a set from Crazy P DJ Danielle Moore.
Côte d’Azur dreaming
Grey Goose Vodka and French fashion label Maison Labiche want you to Live Like Summer Never Ends, teaming up to create a limited-edition Riviera bottle of booze exclusive to Harvey Nics and a capsule collection of travel and fashion items to go with it. Buy one and you’ll get the other free – a Maison Labiche towel for online purchases or a Maison Labiche shirt in store, where you’ll also be able to enjoy the Grey Goose Paris to Pampelonne cocktail in the bar all summer. Not quite St Tropez, but hey ho…