A brand new week-long festival aimed at cocktail lovers will bring a top line-up of special events to Belfast this October.
Whether you are looking for a ground-breaking cocktail creation, want to watch some of the world’s best bartenders in action, or fancy taking a step back in time to the age of prohibition, Belfast’s first and only Cocktail Week has something for everyone. Running from October 16 – 22, the inaugural event invites cocktail lovers to whet their whistle and enjoy a jam-packed calendar of bespoke events taking place in bars across the Cathedral Quarter. Kicking off the week in style, award-winning London establishment Swift Bar will take up a special residency in The Merchant Hotel’s iconic Cocktail Bar from October 16. Fresh from a big win at the Spirited Awards, where the bar was named Best New International Cocktail Bar 2017, husband and wife duo Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson will bring the Swift team to Belfast for a week-long takeover with innovative cocktails and their renowned Irish coffees on offer.
Bar Swift Irish Coffee
Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson, Bar Swift
Festival-goers can also take a step back in time and experience the atmosphere and excitement of the birth of the cocktail at The Luggage Room takeover of Sixty6 (upstairs at The National). Enjoy signature creations from the prohibition age from the acclaimed London based Luggage Room staff who will be mixing up The Darb (Citadelle Gin shaken with apricot brandy, Italian vermouth and lemon juice) and Barney Barnato (pisco stirred with Cocchi Americano, Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao and aromatic bitters) along with juleps, cobblers, swizzles, imperials, punches, sours, flips and other popular concoctions of the time.
The Ankle Biter
Green Eyed Guard
The Sherry Cobbler
Continuing the festivities, Club Sixty6 will host an intimate whiskey masterclass on October 19, where guests will get a behind-the-scenes insight into the magic of whiskey distilling. The bar will also cater for those who want to enjoy a non-alcoholic tipple with a Future of Mocktails Masterclass and an innovative mocktail menu, which will be available all week. Ending the week on a high, guest speaker, author of the Curious Bartender range of cocktail books and award-winning bartender, Tristan Stephenson, will host a seminar exploring the art of mixing the perfect cocktail on October 22. The famed bartender, co-owner of two of London’s hottest cocktail bars, Purl and Worship Street Whistling Shop, will give guests an exclusive opportunity to taste contemporary and classic cocktails with his own unique twist during the masterclass. Tickets for this event will cost £10 and includes a drink on arrival. Following the event, guests will be invited to raise a toast to end the week of celebrations with a free after party taking place in Club Sixty6.
Bronagh Bennett from the National Grande Café and Club Sixty6 and creator of Belfast Cocktail Week said; “Belfast Cocktail Week is a way of showing that Belfast can compete on an international level alongside cities with great cocktail cultures such as London, Edinburgh and even New York.
“Belfast and Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector has come a long way in recent years and customers are really broadening their horizons. The wide range of events taking place during the festival will appeal to everyone and I hope it encourages people to try something new. “We are looking forward to bringing this week-long event to Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and hope it will be the first of many.” Bars taking take in the festival include The Cocktail Bar and Berts Jazz Bar at The Merchant, The National Grande Café and Club Sixty6, Bullitt Hotel, Bootleggers, Muriel’s Café Bar, The Spaniard and Babel, the new rooftop cocktail bar at Bullitt, on its opening weekend. Most events at Belfast Cocktail Week are free of charge and first come first served, please check the website for details for ticketed events.
For a full line-up of events and further information on optional festival passes, visit BelfastCocktailWeek.co.uk More events are still to be announced and will be added to the line-up over the coming weeks. A limited number of festival passes will also be available to purchase from The National Grande Café. The optional festival passes are priced at £10 and includes 25% off selected cocktails in participating venues (excluding The Merchant where instead festival pass holders will get a complimentary taster of punch with each cocktail purchased at The Merchant Hotel’s Swift Takeover.)
Kicking off the week in style, bars taking part in the festival have created eight mouth-watering cocktail recipes for you to try……
- Expresso Martini by The Merchant
Taste This Expresso Martini is a sumptuous mix of vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso. The liqueur has a fabulous sweetness while the coffee gives it a rich, indulgent and creamy texture, combined with the necessary kick of the Absolut vodka.
- 10ml sugar syrup
- 10ml coffee liqueur
- 25ml Absolut vodka
- Shot of espresso
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake.
- Double strain into 5oz coupe.
- Garnish with 1 to 3 coffee beans on the top.
- The Ankle-Biter by Bullitt
Taste An intensively exotic drink, flavoured with citrus and sweet aromas. Citrus Belvedere Vodka stands on its own as a striking and smooth flavour, while the extra bitters add a depth of flavour to the drink. Ingredients
50ml Citrus Belvedere Vodka
- 50ml Fresh Ruby Grapefruit Juice
- 15ml Sugar Syrup
- 2 Dashes Lemon Bitters
- Pinch Fresh Sage
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain into a tall glass over ice and top up with soda water.
- Garnish with fresh sage.
Alternatively, add all ingredients to a tall glass and stir. Add ice and top up with soda – garnish with fresh sage.
- B.L.P.D by Bullitt
Taste Described as a soft, sweet and rich velvety texture, Pink Grapefruit Belvedere combines notes of ripe grapefruit and spicy ginger with a hint of vanilla. The beverage is then finished with flavours of citrus, strawberry and honey.
- 50ml Pink Grapefruit Belvedere
- 25ml Strawberry & Peppercorn Shrub
- 15ml Fresh Lime Juice
- 15ml Basil Infused Honey Syrup
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
- Double strain contents into a 5oz coupe.
- Garnish with a fresh basil leaf and cracked black pepper.
- Matcha Martini by The National
Taste Absolut Vanilia has a distinct character of vanilla, notes of butterscotch and hints of dark chocolate. Mixed with sweetness and a slight coffee aroma, this martini is a perfect dessert cocktail.
- 35ml Absolut Vanilia
- 15ml Kahlua
- 35ml Milk
- 0.5TSP Matcha Powder
- 10ml Vanilla Gomme
- 2 Dash Chocolate Bitters
- Add all ingredients to a shaker, shake and double strain into 5oz coupe.
- Garnish with chocolate powder.
- Green Eyed Guard by The National
Taste A spicy, fruity and nicely balanced combination of flavours with a lingering and refreshing finish.
- 35ml Beefeater
- 15ml Green Chartreuse
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- 25ml Pineapple Juice
- 35ml Rhubarb syrup
- 2 Dash Orange Bitters
- 1 Egg White
- Add all ingredients to a shaker.
- Shake and strain over ice cubes into a highball glass.
- Garnish with pineapple leaf and lemon wedge.
- Daisy Rose by The National
Taste The pure fragrance of rose petals and delectable taste of Briottet Rose Liqueur combined with the distinct taste of Hendrick’s Gin, with its cucumber and rose petal flavours, is completed with a citrus twist.
- 35ml Hendrick’s Gin
- 10ml Briottet Rose Liqueur
- 10ml Velvet Falernum
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- 50ml Almond Milk
- 10ml Orgeat Syrup
- Almond Rosewater Foam
- Add all ingredients to a shaker, shake and fine strain in a chalice glass.
- Top with almond rosewater foam and add rose petal to garnish
- Mayan Migration by The National
Taste A deeply powering drink that tastes fresh and vibrant offering a well-balanced citrus with peppery heat finish.
- 35ml Olmeca Reposado
- 15ml Pierre Ferrand Curacao
- 25ml Lime Juice
- 10ml Agave Nectar
- 2 Dashes Grapefruit Bitters
- 50ml Blood Orange Juice
- Add all ingredients to a shaker, shake and strain over crushed ice into a Aztec style tiki cup.
- Garnish with orange wheel, lime wedge and pineapple hair.
- The Sherry Cobbler by The Merchant
Taste Made with Oloroso Sherry as a base, the distinct flavours of fruit with hints of walnuts and toffee, gives a smooth texture finished with fresh citrus flavours.
- 50ml Oloroso Sherry
- 10ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 10ml Fresh Orange Juice
- 10ml Cane Syrup
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and swizzle over cracked ice.
- Pour everything into a pre-chilled punch goblet.
- Garnish with fruits in season. Serve with a straw.