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Get on the rum trail

Simon Binns enters the spirit world

Written by . Published on February 2nd 2011.

Get on the rum trail

Got a thirst for knowledge as well as high-grade premium spirits? Thought so.

Then you should get in touch with The Liquorists. They’re a cultured bunch. Head honchos Tom Sneesby and Jody Monteith took crack teams of drunks investigators – me, Moyo and TBJ (The Boy Jorgensen) – on the rum trail, a whistle stop tour of some of the city’s best cocktail bars, to drink, discuss and indulge in some fairly damaging cocktails.

First up was the Second Floor bar in Selfridges, but we missed that one due to our tardy timekeeping, so let’s gloss over that. We tracked them down to Keko Moku however, the tiny Tiki bar in the Northern Quarter where it can, and has, often gone a bit wrong after too many cocktails.

Everyone got a shot of Gosling’s Black Seal, which certainly kept the chill off and made Moyo do a very small cry, then a round of Dark and Stormys to demonstrate its mixability. I think I just made that word up.

In early 1806, James Gosling left England in search of America but pitched up in Bermuda instead. He opened a shop, which ran for 127 years. The locals even used to pour Gosling’s on their babies as a blessing.

Then we hopped next door to Socio Rehab for a shot of Ron Zacapa with some dark chocolate. This rum was a heavier, more sugary variety, and we were taught how to judge sugar content. Then we were given a cocktail made with coffee liqueur and a block of ice big enough to sink a ship. All delicious stuff.

Everyone was, ahem, fully relaxed at this point, but we had a date at Tiki, on Stevenson Square. We even had a roped off area. That’s about as VIP as it gets in the Northern Quarter.

Time for a shot of Havana Club – the old favourite – which was like being punched in the chest, but in a good way. We also got fed – some lovely sticky ribs to help absorb the alcohol.

Tom delivered another fact filled mission about Havana and Cuba generally. The import ban on US good mean it’s only one of three countries where Coca Cola is not the top-selling drinks brand. The others? North Korea (point for TBJ) and Scotland (thanks to Iron Bru).

Such was the luxury of the trail, we even got a minibus laid on to whip us over the border to Salford for a trip to the uber-hip Corridor. As an added bonus, we were met by plates of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a shot of Appleton Estate 8 year-old, my personal favourite.

Then we had another cocktail, but I really can’t remember what that was. I thought I’d lost the camera but it was on my knee. It was getting to that stage.

The finale was dished up at Mojo with a bar top full of six varieties of punch, some Caribbean curries and as many cocktails as we could go through.

All the trail groups descended as the evening hit a crescendo of noise, laughter and potentially romantic liaisons.

A worthwhile evening, which managed to pack plenty of different bars and drinks in without dragging the night on – the first drink was poured at 6pm and we were in Mojo before 10pm, which is ideal for a school night.

You get fed, taxied around, and all for £24.50 – not bad at all. It’s a good way of perfecting the ‘educated drunk’ persona.

The next sessions are on February 3 and 10 – and you can win free tickets here.

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