“Life is Like a cocktail – It all depends how you make it” – Someone clever!
This may come as a surprise to you, but I am kinda fond of a cocktail … or 2!!
This week sees lucky Londoners celebrate the “art” of mixology throughout the capital with classes, tastings and maybe one or two hangovers for London Cocktail Week … and for anyone that doubts it, a cocktail, like anything else in life that’s made with talent and passion, is an art … It’s easy to put some ingredients together then drench them with cheap vodka and call it a cocktail, and this is exactly what I did throughout my twenties and has been known at a “meeting” just before breaking out the macarana (and a downward spiral into a very sore head) … however this is not a drink that I or anyone else actually takes pleasure in.
As with any after school activity; running, baking, night classes – cocktails have become a weekly hobby for me and Mr H, who happily indulges his wife’s interests.
I was trying to remember my first visit to a “real” cocktail bar and not just having a Woo Woo in a nightclub (I say nightclub but that isn’t really what most people that have grown up outside of a small town would have classed it as) however even if my town of Shrewsbury may be slow to follow the outside world on many things (this is something that I am more than happy about by the way), when it came to the introduction of a cocktail bar it could show Tom Cruise how to really shake it (sorry, couldn’t resist!)
The start of the 2000’s saw the birth of Frank Bar and overnight Shrewsbury got “hip” with it being “the place” to go for everyone – it was the original trendy “wine” bar and everything about the place was exciting, fresh and new. Even having spent four years living away in a city Frank had something different to offer … A John Marc … my first “real” cocktail that saw the beginning of a love story and a lifetime of learning that good things come to those who wait (and with the average cocktail taking 5 mins to create I have got use to a lot of waiting, especially as Mr H likes an old fashioned … snooze whilst they stir!)
In 2011 a cobbled back street lit by street lamps saw the arrival of a very dapper dandy with a wry smile and a passion for the best of British. The Libertine Bar saw the new era of the cocktail in Shrewsbury, it went full out to impress and delivered a cocktail with plenty of swagger and a cheeky glint in its eye. The bar is notorious for not just the Casanova Martinis on the menu but also for the escapades of the casanovas that are mixing them. A place I’m very fond of and as I look down at the clock as it turns 5pm on a Friday afternoon, a place that is waiting for me to go and start planning weekends adventures.
In the years which followed the town has seen Mojitos, French Martinis, Aviations, Old Fashioned’s, Alchemists Wife’s and many many Porn Stars … Restaurants launching cocktail menus to compliment the dishes they serve and further independent bars specialising in cocktails opening. All with their own style, passion and flair for their creations.
… and some taking their art and experimentation to new levels, mixing concoctions that you would expect from the mad hatter with a chemistry set and all this in an up-cycled “spit and sawdust” old British boozer. Before its regeneration in 2012 to a quirky bar and restaurant, The Alb was one of those “places” that had a lot of atmosphere (and not of the good kind!). Then came along a potions master that, with a twiddle of his handlebar moustache, brought a unique twist to a classic.
Shrewsbury continues to be a town that enjoys cocktail hour, with the additions of Havana Republic, Porterhouse, The Blind Tiger, Reeves and most recently the Pour House. These Independent bars, old and new, continue to support and respect each other and rather than competing for business, they all focus on creating their own wonderful unique experience and work together to offer forward thinking trends in a town with old fashioned charm. And although no Tom Cruise behind the bar shaking it up, there are smiles, fun, knowledge and artists just waiting to create your perfect cocktail … why limit happy to just an hour ♥ Happy Friday ♥