January’s only just out the way but they’ve got Spring on the mind already over at Zouk Tea Bar & Grill. This March will see the addition of a whole host of new drinks to the menu, including some rather alluring sounding cocktails, so we went down to the inventive Indian restaurant to try our hand at mixing a few ourselves.
Everyone knows you should never drink on an empty stomach so we thought it best to tuck in to a bit food first. I particularly enjoyed the fresh samosa chaat punctuated with pomegranate seeds, tava lamb was tender, fragrant and more than a little bit spicy, then finally some lovely plump prawn pakoras with a cool yoghurt dip.
Time to earn our keep though, we had a go at mixing up the Zouk Indian Party, a blend of Gin, cucumber and Prosecco. I like to think I made a decent job of it, perhaps not full marks for presentation but it tasted good…
Luckily you won’t have to rely on my rather dubious drink making skills, here’s what Zouk’s rather more adept barkeeps will be shaking, stirring and serving this Spring:
Champagne Cocktails – All £9.50
To complement your spicy meal, a cool, crisp champagne cocktail is perfect to balance out the aromatic flavours. Chilled champagne is served with a carefully selected mix of heady spirits and fresh fruit to make the perfect combination. The new Romance Cocktail mixes chilled champagne with lanique rose petal liquor, Campari and fresh blueberries whereas the new Red Velvet Champagne Cocktail adds vodka, vanilla, fresh strawberries and fresh raspberries to liven up the luxury fizz. The menu also boasts a Classic Champagne Cocktail with henessy brandy and a dash of angostura, plus a new Mojito Bellini with rum, lime and a touch of fresh mint and finally the Passion Champagne Cocktail adds fresh peach schnapps, gin, apple juice and passion fruit for a sharp and fruity mix.
Long Cocktails – All £7.95
A long hot summer requires a long, tall drink so settle into Zouk’s outdoor Manchester terrace and order a Zouk Breeze Cocktail which includes sloe gin, vodka and passion fruit puree topped with lime juice and a shot of grenadine. The new Blackberry Fruit Cup is a fizzy and fruity vodka and Chambord cocktail mixed with ginger ale and a hint of lemon juice then topped with chilled champagne. Try theRed Divine for a tropical taste with Absolute citrus vodka, mango puree, passion fruit puree and lime juice which is muddled with lemongrass, ginger and topped with angostura bitters. Zouk’s Indian Partywill get you all set for summertime with a mix of gin and Chambord muddled with cucumber, lemon juice and passion fruit syrup then topped with prosecco
The classic martini is reimagined and added to Zouk’s cocktail menu for the new season. The French Martini £7.95 mixes Chambord, vodka, pineapple juice and fresh blackberries or for an extra special twist try the new Porn Star Martini £9.50 which is a Champagne, vanilla vodka and Passoa liqueur shaken with cubed ice which makes the best martini ever. Alternatively the classic Apple Martini or Lychee Martini £7.95 are deliciously sweet options with a zing.
Short Cocktails – All £7.95
Short cocktails pack a punch from Zouk’s Tamarind Margarita mixing tequila and Cointreau with fresh lime and fresh orange juice to the new Cucumber Cooler which adds a kick with gin muddled with limes and topped with cucumber and soda. These two small but perfectly formed cocktails are joined by theMoscow Mule Belvedere vodka with lime juice and ginger beer, the Black Russian Vodka with kahlua and coca cola and the White Russian Vodka which has kahlua topped with cream and milk.
Mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) £5.50
If you love a cocktail but like to hold the alcohol try Zouk’s Moscow Mule of House soda with lime juice and ginger beer or the Summer of 69 mix of mango juice and pineapple juice with passion fruit, lime and a shot of grenadine
Joining the classic Zouk drinks menu are three new sumptuous bottles of red wine. The new Merlot from Central Valley, Chile £17.95 (per bottle) has a rich, intense aromas and flavours of bramble fruits, whereas the deeply coloured Ill Caggio Montepulciano from D’Abruzzo, Italy £21.95 (per bottle), is full bodied, juicy and complemented by a twist of spice. Finally a Promise Land Shiraz/Cabernet from Clare Valley, Australia £25.95 (per bottle) has a lively palate of juicy red berries, plum, cassis, chocolate and spice. The wine has a soft, supple feel with silky smooth tannins from oak maturation.
Sauvignon Blanc, Otra Tierra, from Central Valley, Chile £17.95 (per bottle) has crisp and refreshing, offering an abundance of grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours. Wakefield Estate Chardonnay from Clare Valley, Australia £26.95 (per bottle) has a creamy texture, good acidity with flavours of peach and a touch of cinnamon. Diamond Bay Chenin Blanc from Western Cape, South Africa £20.95 (per bottle) Intense tropical flavours of guava, ripe apple and pear on the palate.