Including concoctions with feta cheese, curry, kale and pickle juice!
Ever since Paul Baron popped a fillet of chicken on the side of a glass of booze and called it ‘Simply the Breast’, unusual cocktails have been a thing.
And with good reason. Sure, everyone loves the classics, but sometimes you want something a bit different, something that’s going to make you go ‘Whoa’ in your favourite Keanu Reeves voice, something that’s absolutely fucking weird. Here’s what we’ve managed to uncover thus far throughout the city…
You Feta Believe It at Science & Industry
What could be better than having a lovely bit of stinky cheese on a plate next to you while you have a drink? Easy – just combine the buggers and drink cheese instead. Brainchild of Science & Industry’s Bar Manager Karl Stanley, You Feta Believe It got its inspiration from a holiday to Greece, where they tend to put feta cheese pretty much on everything. They even use it for shower gel on some islands and to be fair – good on them. This weird but very, very delicious creation comes with a Feta & tomato washed Pisco, Red Grape Shrub, lemon juice, egg whites and syrup. To be honest there’s a LOT of weird cocktails at Science & Industry and they’re all brilliant.
Science & Industry, 49, 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
From Rusholme With Love at Albatross & Arnold
As the Manchester’s Finest Booze Correspondent, I typically end up with all manner of odd and disgusting things passing my lips. There’s a couple of occasions though where something so unexpected goes into you gob that you just have to shout about it and that’s what happened when I stumbled upon a CURRY cocktail in Spinningfields’ Albatross & Arnold. Everyone loves a curry and this beauty manages to grab everything that’s good about it and then make into one of the tastiest drinks of all time. It’s bloody strong too!
Albatross & Arnold (inside The Range), Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AN
Milk Punch at Henry C
If a bunch of aliens with slug-like faces and slimy little suckers came to Earth, pulled up on St George’s Road in Stretford and asked me what a ‘cocktail’ was that they’d heard so much about, I’d forego any attempts at serious communication and just send them down to Henry C’s in Chorlton who would show them a thing or two in no time at all. There are always a few weird oddities on the cocktail menu and at the moment they’ve got a stunning Milk Punch which contains a milk washed bourbon that is out-of-this-world good (see what I did there – that’s called a callback). The addition of the burnt caramel bitters is a classy touch too.
Henry C, 107 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9GA
Beetroot Sour at The Counter House
If someone would have told me a couple of years back that I could have a cocktail at the gym I’d tell them to shut their faces. But it’s happened. You can now have a run on a treadmill while getting pissed up (not recommended actually!) as Ancoats’ The Counter House have introduced a Beetroot Sour – a cocktail that tows the line perfectly between naughty and healthy. Bourbon is joined by some lovely beetroot, agave, lime and strangely – celery bitters. It sounds weird but like all of the other drinks in this list – it’s also mightily tasty to boot.
The Counter House, 35 Blossom St, Manchester M4 6AJ
Cure All Collins at Blind Tyger
Seemingly taking inspiration from those charlatan blokes that used to travel the country selling elixirs that would get rid of your scurvy or make your blood jealous, Blind Tyger have invented the Cure All Collins, a twist on the classic Tom Collins but with a hearty blast of freshness in the form of a kale infused Tanqueray Gin. On top of this they add the usual citrus juice but also a Cucumber soda which makes it feel like you’re drinking a spring meadow in every gulp – except much tastier (obviously).
Blind Tyger, 2 Old Bank St, City Centre, Manchester M2 7PF
Southern Smash at Bunny Jackson’s
Unless you’re a monk, or a regular visitor to Burnley FC, you’ve probably never tried or even heard of Benedictine. Which is fine. Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and in fact should be encouraged. Never having it means you have an excuse to head on down to Bunny Jackson’s and give it a try. The Southern Smash is a cocktail of Mellow Corn Whiskey, Mint, Lemon, Vanilla Sugar and of course Benedictine. It’s hard to explain the taste to be fair – one guy on the internet said it’s like mixing brandy with gin and honey but I don’t agree with him. I’d say it was more like mixing brandy with Vimto and mead but don’t take my word for it (or his) – just head on down and give it a bloody try for yourself.
Bunny Jacksons, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
Cherry Blossom Negroni at Tattu
To be fair there’s not too much that’s weird about this Cherry Blossom Negroni at Tattu. As you’d expect from a Negroni there’s the traditional inclusion of gin and Campari, alongside a rather lovely Cherry Blossom vermouth. What makes this cocktail weird though, and justifies its inclusion on this list, is the fact that it comes with a tiny little cherry blossom tree sticking out of the top of it. To get it in there some poor sod has to drill a little hole into every ice cube ever, plonk the tree in and carefully place it inside the glass. Well done to this person – not all heroes wear capes.
Tattu, 3 Hardman Square, Gartside St, Manchester M3 3EB
Red’s Pickleback at Red’s True BBQ
It’s a very simple cocktail this one, but still makes the list because personally I’d classify the mixing of any two liquids to be a cocktail, be it Vimto & Water, Vodka & Coke and Bourbon & Pickle Juice. That’s right, this cocktail requires you to drink the brine out of a jar of pickles – that green vinegar that you usually pour down the drain once you’ve spent an evening in bed eating 35 pickles while drunk texting your ex. At Red’s they come separately with the pickle juice as a chaser, but I must implore you to ask for a glass with ice, mix them and enjoy thoroughly.
Red’s True Barbecue, 22 Lloyd St, Manchester M2 5WA
King of Rock and Roll at Dogs ‘n’ Dough
It’s a well-known fact that Elvis’ favourite food was a monstrous concoction of bacon, bananas, peanut butter and bread. It would usually start around half 11 in the morning when he would get out of bed (leaving Priscilla sleeping soundly), squeeze into his jumpsuit and head down to the kitchen. He’d then grab a loaf of bread, cut it in half down the middle, hollow out the centre and stuff it with banana, peanut butter, fried streaky bacon and maple syrup. He’d then put the bread lid back on, deep fry it, slice and enjoy while watching Spiderman cartoons. You can taste a liquid recreation of this legendary dish at Dogs N Dough with their King of Rock and Roll cocktail containing Bourbon, Banana, Peanut Butter and Bacon.
Dogs ‘n’ Dough, 17 Bow Ln, Manchester M2 4FW
The Weak Are Meat The Strong Eat at Cottonopolis
With a name like that you know you’re going to be getting something weird. The cocktails at Cottonopolis are all inspired by Japanese idioms and thus this weird beauty is all about getting that smoky, meaty taste into you as easily as possible. This is done with a combination of Nikka From The Barrel Whisky, Blood Orange Liqueur Byrrh, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Sweet & Savoury Bitters which are all topped off with a bit of duck on a stick on the top. It’s almost as good as having crispy duck pancakes at 3am in Pearl City, no actually – it’s better.
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
Kiwi Blaster at Indian Tiffin Rooms
Bet you never thought you’d see an Indian Restaurant on this list did you!? Well Indian Tiffin Rooms on First Street (and in Cheadle) has pretty much cornered the market in weird cocktails with an Indian twist. They do loads – a margarita with tamarind, ginger and Aperol and even a tabasco, vinegar and tequila mixture called the Kiwi Blaster which is unlike anything you’ll have anywhere else this side of well, anywhere. It’s certainly got a kick to it, which is what you’d expect from an Indian restaurant and will get you suitably leathered while you chow down on some of their fantastic street dishes. Give it a try with a few of their dosas and you’ll not want to go home ever.
Indian Tiffin Room, 2 First St, Manchester M15 4RL