Unusual vessels, bright colours, smoke, these cocktails are E X T R A

I don’t know about you but when I’m out with my mates I want to be seen. I like to be dressed to the nines, glam from head to toe, hair on fleek and shining bright like the diamond that I am. If I’m going to go through all of this trouble to look fierce I’m going to need a drink that’s going to match my aesthetic. No sitting in dingy pub corners drinking liquid marmite. My drink needs to match my aura.

Which is why I’ve made this list. We live in a visual world. If a drink is drunk in the bar and nobody is there to take a picture of it, did it even exist in the first place? The answer is: no, it did not. Some might think they’re above visually fantastical cocktails but to those people, I say: boooooooring! Live a little! Drink something out of a glass shoe for once! You might not think you want to, but after reading the below, don’t be surprised if you feel the urge.

So without further ado, these are the most visually EXTRA cocktails in Manchester, drinks to be seen with.

The 100 Problems Cocktail At Three Little Words In Manchester
One more than Jay Z Image: Three Little Words

100 Problems - Three Little Words

I’ve got 100 problems but this reinvented twist on a rum espresso Martini ain’t one. Like most of the new Three Little Words cocktail menu (launching soon, keep your eyes peeled) there’s big colour on this concoction, no filters needed. Manchester-distilled, oak-infused One-Eyed Rebel rum, honeycomb cordial, pistachio orgeat, espresso and a pinch of salt. Topped with a YKA leaf, an edible garnish with a sweet acidic taste. So pretty, it’s almost a shame to drink it.

Bombay Delight Cocktail At Indian Tiffin Room In Manchester
A lightbulb moment in cocktail making Image: Confidentials

Bombay Delight - Indian Tiffin Room

A Bombay Delight is always a bright idea. Mango, spiced with curry leaves, lengthens the profile of the drink whilst giving it a glorious tungsten filament glow. Honey and ginger warm things up whilst Absolut vodka gives it a ruddy good kick. If you’re a circus performer you can always have a munch on the bulb after too. Actually, definitely don’t do that.

The Bubble Bath Cocktail At The Laundrette In Chorlton Manchester
We're forever drinking bubbles Image: The Laundrette

Bubble Bath - The Laundrette

Rub-a-dub-dub, time for a glug. Bath-time just got extra and we’re honestly living for this. Anything dealing in the sweet nostalgic mouth fireworks of popping candy is right by us. There’s also a lot to unpack in those depths. Vodka, gin, rum, Cointreau, Frangelico, lemon, grape, chai syrup and white chocolate foam. Worth noting that it’s for sharing. One on your own might do you a mischief.

The Celestial New Year Cocktail At Nam In Northern Quarter Manchester
Happy celestial new year from NAM Image: NAM

Celestial New Year - NAM

If it was a freshly poured pint you’d be fuming. But it’s not, it’s a cocktail so get over yourself. The foam compliments the flute. The flute compliments the colour of the cocktail. It looks a bit Bauhaus. What a name too, pure Florence and the Machine flower crown vibes. Roku Japanese gin, kumquat liqueur, violet liqueur, lemon, lychee and Peychaud bitters. Gluten-free and vegan friendly too, don’t you know. Cocktails for all.

The Cinderella Cocktail At On The Hush In Manchester Served In A Glass Slipper
One to be enjoyed with ugly sisters (jokes) Image: Confidentials

Cinderella - On The Hush

Have you ever drank Bailey’s from a shoe? Absolutely not. Have you ever drank a cocktail of pink gin, triple sec, coconut, pink grapefruit and grenadine from a glass slipper? Unequivocally yes. We really are dealing with a new level of glam here and for those questioning the ergonomics of drinking it - heels aren’t comfy, hun. It hurts to look this good.

The Creeper Cocktail At Pixel Bar In Manchester
A smoke alarm's best friend Image: Pixel Bar

Creeper - Pixel Bar

Tiki mugs, fire, rum, the possibility of the fire alarm going off. These are the things that make drinking cocktails fun. Did we mention there’s rum? Because there’s definitely rum. Black rum, gold rum and topped with Old J over-proofed spiced rum and set alight. There’s also blue Curacao, lime juice, pineapple juice, apricot syrup and bitters which give the striking colour of a third or fourth-gen grass Pokémon.

Daisy From Daisy Cocktail Bar On Tib Street Nq
The Daisy cocktail experience, complete with smoke globe Image: Confidentials

Daisy - The Daisy

You’ve got to experience this being made to fully appreciate it. It’s theatre. The mixing of the drink but then also the blowtorching of fresh rosemary which is then stuffed into the dome underneath, so when you pick up the actual drink it releases sweet, sweet wafts of rosemary. It’s a joy to sit next to someone drinking this. Ketel one vodka, bergamot, Aperol, grapefruit and lemon give it smoothness and a welcome citrus tang.

Hobo Punch Cocktail In A Bag At Manchester Dive Bar Saltdog Slims
Serious dive bar vibes Image: Confidentials

Hobo Punch - Salt Dog Slims

What’s in the bag? Nothing. Don’t worry about it. But why’s it in a bag? It’s because it’s contraband. It’s making use of mystery as a device for intrigue. It’s an ode to American alcohol consumption. But what’s in it? Fine. It’s a prohibitive mixture of Buckfast, Bombay Dry gin and citrus. A few of them and you’ll be on the way. The whole experience is improved by donning a hat and tan trench coat. 

The Lystra Leading Lady Cocktail At Boujee In Manchester
Don't settle for anything less than Boujee Image: Boujee

Lystra Leading Lady - Boujee

Signature glassware is everything and this one at Boujee is serving us power. One of Boujee’s signature cocktails and named after founding queen Lystra Adams, the Leading Lady packs Ciroc Red Berry, peach, mango, lemon and the mysterious “LPR” into an iconic piece of drinking sculpture. Pink to its core, drapes to match the curtains and deliciously ‘grammable.

The Spirit Of Manchester Cocktail At Cloud23 In Beetham Tower Manchester
That's the spirit, Manchester Image: Cloud23

The Spirit of Manchester - Cloud23

It could’ve quite easily been Cloud23’s Vimtonic cocktail, served in a mock Vimto can but The Spirit of Manchester just pips it to the post. I mean just look at it. It’s an ice cream cone with its own stand. Celebrating the Manchester creator of the “twist” ice cream cone, the cocktail mixes Ketel One vodka, raspberry, lemon, cream, cassis and strawberry. £1 from every cocktail goes to local charity Forever Manchester. 

Treasure Chest Cocktail At Manchester Tiki Bar Lono Cove
Here be treasure Image: Lono Cove

Treasure Chest - Lono Cove

There’s another one that Lono Cove does that’s called Flamboyance, which is a sort of Ronseal of cocktails (metaphorically, not taste-wise), but it wouldn’t be a list of extra cocktails without some sort of hinged box containing liquid treasure. Inside you’ll find Finlandia vodka, passion fruit, vanilla, pineapple juice and citrus. Get on one of those straws and go wild.

Zombie Apocalypse Cocktail At The Alchemist Bar In Manchester
One of the better apocalypses Image: The Alchemist

Zombie Apocalypse - The Alchemist

You can always count on The Alchemist when it comes to the theatrical side of cocktails. Smoke, bubbles, the lot. The Zombie Apocalypse is no different. Serving 4 and billowing smoke, the cocktail packs Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, Wray & Nephew, Grand Marnier, lime, pineapple, cranberry and zombie mix.

Read next: Manchester food and drink festivals guide

Read again: Sneak peek at The Beeswing Kampus - but it needs your help

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