No girl can ever say no to a cocktail, and if it’s for charity even better!
Dress for Success Manchester are a non-profit organisation, they help their clients look the best they can and prepare them for job interviews. The charity provides professional clothing, interview training and a support network “ultimately helping the women believe in their own ability to succeed”.
Neighbourhood, located in The Avenue, Spinningfields, has been on my list of places to go in Manchester and the setting was very swanky. Billed as a New York bar and eatery, you certainly got that cool NYC vibe from the fake lawn and seats in the window to the installation separating the bar from the dining area.
We were invited upstairs to the loft space which overlooked the rest of the restaurant, the wafts of food we got whilst enjoying our cocktail masterclass was delicious!
Split in to two groups we were taught how to make a ‘Basil Grande’, consisting of fresh strawberry with Grand Marnier, Chambord and decorated with a basil leaf and a ‘Bramble’, gin infused with lemon bitters and sugar syrup topped off with blackcurrant flavouring.
I’m a bit fussy when it comes to spirits, but black raspberry liqueur Chambord and orange based liqueur Grand Marnier were a perfect combination. First off we had to grab three strawberries, four basil leaves, and 1 oz of Chambord and mush them together to release the flavours, then roughly 2oz of Grand Marnier to top it off. A metal shaker was fitted on the top of our glasses and then a good shake for 15 seconds, pour using a sieve into a chilled martini glass and top off with a twist of black pepper and a basil leaf for decoration.
This was the nicest cocktail I’ve tried (and made), it was perfectly balanced with the fruitiness and the spirits, definitely a new favourite and I would love to replicate this at home.
After yummy mini burgers and fries were served, it was onto the next cocktail. The second was gin-based and normally I would steer clear of this on a cocktail menu because I can’t bloody stand the stuff! But the Bramble used lemon bitters mixed with sugar, and then gin poured with crushed ice on top a quick stir and a dash of blackcurrant flavouring actually covered up the gin taste and was a really fresh drink. It was much quicker and less fiddly to make, but I think the Basil Grande definitely pipped the post as my favourite of the night!
A lovely, well organised event, drinking cocktails all in aid of a wonderful charity and with half of the ticket price going straight to Dress for Success, it was a great way to support a good cause.