1. Colorado Campfire from The Edgbaston
In life, all you really need is a marshmallow on a stick, right? Tin Cup American Rye Whiskey is stirred together with house smoked maple syrup using hickory to instil a stunning dimension to the drink. They also use a house blended nut liqueur and dark chocolate to add features of traditional S’mores.
You should probably take a look at The Edgbaston’s food and drink gallery, in fact. Probably the city’s best cocktail bar and they’ve just started doing food.
2. Basket of Sours from Bar Opus
It’s the age old saying, isn’t it? One sours is never enough, you have to have SIX. The kind cocktailsmiths of Bar Opus have obliged with a double hat-trick basket of these moreish little fellas for £30.
They’ll tailor all six to your tastes, but be sure to ask for at least one Violet Sour, a house special concoction that tastes identical to stalkers’ candy of choice Love Hearts. If you’re eating too, their burgers are awesome.
3. The Socialite at Gas Street Social
We’re confident the Socialite will fast become Brum’s newest bar’s signature cocktail. Finlandia vodka, Aperol, pineapple, lime and passion fruit, it’s got a memorable kick and so much fruity flavour you’ll need stunning willpower to not have a second.
Willpower we did not have, four times over. Foamy, smooth and undulating, this is a masterclass in cocktail tailoring.
4. Lychee Martini from Sabai Sabai
Hands down the city’s best Thai restaurant, this is also a superb cocktail bar in its own right. So good, in fact, we spent New Year’s Eve perched at their Harborne bar, working our way through the drinks menu. The lychee martini consists of two whole lychees muddled with a shot of lychee puree, one shot of kwai fai lychee liqueur and a single shot of Bombay Sapphire, all topped up with apple juice.
The whole lot is shaken over ice and strained into a chilled martini glass and garnished with a show-stopping orchid. If you’re eating, drink it with the tilapia Choo Chee Pla. Just trust us on that.
5. Nola So-Fresh from The Church
Brokers gin is made in Birmingham so it feels right for us Brummies to imbibe it with pride. It’s the key ingredient of this juicy beauty, along with La Fée Absinthe for that nod to the French side of New Orleans.
If you’re feeling brave ask specifically if a chap named Aman can make it. He’s one of the city’s finest mixologists and he invented this drink so knows how to give it all the love it deserves. The Church is a must visit pub, by the way. A true gem.
6. The Botanist at The Botanist
About to open in Birmingham, we’ve been to their Leeds sister venue to try the Botanist’s signature cocktail – the thoughtfully named “The Botanist”. It includes a properly unique ingredient called micro-herb red amaranth, which gives a sweet, almost beetroot-like flavour to the drink.
Expect a thwack of mint, jasmine, lime, vodka, rum, elderflower and lemonade. Mainly because that’s all of the ingredients. This place could quickly become one of Brum’s best bars. Opens April 6th. Be there or be… somewhere else, presumably.
7. The Brumble from Ginger’s
Ginger’s have an array of cocktails perfected by mixologist legend Gary Anderson, all dedicated to celebrating the city, and the Brumble, made with locally made luxury gin Langley’s No.8, is sensational.
The junipery goodness of Langley’s is married with lemon, sugar, blackberries and Hereford Cassis for summer in a tumbler. Ginger’s is also home to the city’s dirtiest Dirty Martini. It’s an out of this world drink.
8. Confectionary Corner from the Jekyll & Hyde
Pear drops, Turkish delight and butterscotch syrup are all given the boozy treatment at the world famous (in Birmingham) Jekyll & Hyde, but pick of the confectionary-fuelled cocktails is their Lemon Bon-Bon pictured, coyly, in the middle at the back.
Faintly interesting fact: The Jekyll get through 6kg of Bon-Bons a week just to keep up with the sweet tooth’d people of Brummagem.
9. Santa Muerte at The Edgbaston
Santa Muerte lives in the Iconic Ladies section of The Edgbaston’s 2015 menu, but works in all sorts of wonderful ways whatever your gender. Celebrating the versatility of Jose Cuervo Tradicional tequila, they use Reposado to carry the bright agave flavour through pineapple and passion fruit.
The drink also contains accents of Mezcal and Xocolatl as well as being garnished with fruit and flowers denoting the pledges Mexicans make to Santa Muerte herself. Great theatre, even better taste. No, you may NOT keep the skull.
10. Batangarita at The Prince of Wales
Behold: The Batangarita. Made in-house by The Prince’s team of Mo-Tiki masters, it contains Espolon Tequila, Agave syrup, vanilla bitters, lime juice and homemade cola foam, the recipe for which they ain’t for revealing.
Expect a blissful kiss of strong, dark tequila. Pro-tip: If street food superstars Chilli Dog Dogs are serving in the beer garden (Thursday to Sunday) eat.
11. El Fuego at Fumo
Vodka infused with fresh and dried chilli, Cointreau, King’s Ginger, whole egg white, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and fresh ginger all go into this beauty in some sort of order and in varying quantities.
Look, we don’t know the ins and the outs okay, but it’s a barn-storming cocktail and the inevitable competition for which of your number takes the dare to eat the chilli is worth the charge alone. Maybe order a Peroni chaser.
12. The Living Dead at The Lost & Found
Created by the Lost & Found’s head bartender, this is a cracking twist on the classic Zombie. Given the original Zombie spec, he substituted the three rums for three gins – Tanqueray Export (dry), Hayman’s Old Tom (sweeter) and Sipsmith’s sloe. The apricot brandy has been substituted for St. Germain elderflower liqueur and the pineapple juice with fresh pink grapefruit juice to add oodles of refreshment.
They’ve kept the lime juice, grenadine syrup and angostura bitters to add depth. To fit within the L&F’s victorian brand definition they used the term The Living Dead as it was a common tradition in the Victorian era to photograph recently deceased people together with the family as if they were alive. Cheery note to end on.
13. Cooler’s a Cucumber at Gas Street Social
Sauza Blanca Tequila, apple, lemon and cucumber, this is summer in a bottle and with the sun set to arrive at some point in 2015, hopefully, and Gas Street Social sat next to Brum’s beautiful Gas Street Basin canal, this is where you’ll find us at any temperature above 12°C, Speedos on. This is basically an English margharita.
14. Blackberry Julep at Marmalade
One of Brum’s newest bars and from the same stable as stalwarts The Jekyll & Hyde, Bodega and Rose VIlla Tavern, Marmalade is an absolute delight and a much needed food and drink shot in the arm for The Rep Theatre, where it’s situated.
The Blackberry Julep (front and centre) with Buffalo Trace bourbon, mint, sugar and muddled with fresh blackberries is the juicy don of the menu.
15. Hyde Park at The Jekyll & Hyde
If you want your cocktail served in a watering can, Birmingham can do that. If you’d rather it came in a small ceramic bath tub, this city’s got you covered. In fact, just one bar provides such a service – The Jekyll & Hyde.
In terms of pure theatre few in the city can trump Madame Genevar’s Bath Water (bath) or the Hyde Park (can) and they’re both extremely tasty. Expect Bloom gin, shrub cordial, posy syrup, pink grapefruit juice and Dr. Adam’s Elmigarb’s Bitters in the watering can and Bols Genever, apricot jam, peach Schnapps, rose syrup and lemon juice from the tub. The watering can has has the edge in our book, but maybe order both just to check.
16. Julep from Hotel La Tour
Wild Turkey Bourbon, mint, bitters and soda make this is a safe bet, but a no less beautiful one for it, particularly on their sun trap terrace.
La Tour is also home to one of Birmingham’s best steaks so you might as will have one of them on the side, being as you’re there. They’re absolutely, bloody enormous, mate.
17. Brummies Delight at Asha’s
If you’re visiting Birmingham you need to go for a curry, and if you need to go for a curry you need to go to Asha’s, and if you need to go to Asha’s you need to have a cocktail, and if you need to have a cocktail you need to have a Brummie’s Delight.
And if you need to have a Brummie’s Delight you absolutely DO NOT need to have a dessert. Absolut Vanilla and Cacao Liqueur shaken with hot chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Have mercy.
18. Champagne Cocktail Bellini from Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill
The signature Strawberry Champagne Bellini is exactly the cocktail of choice when drinking at Birmingham’s most spectacular roof terrace.
This is probably the best view in the city and it should really be Brummie law that a bottle of bubbles is popped to accompany the vista. Check it out.