Raise a glass to Norwich’s first cocktail celebration

PUBLISHED: 14:44 26 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:45 26 September 2014

Gemma Seager who is organising the Norwich Cocktail Week.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Gemma Seager who is organising the Norwich Cocktail Week. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

From the kill-or-cure hangover cure Bloody Mary to the sophisticated Cosmopolitan, the exotic Mai Tai to the shaken-but-not-stirred Martini, a cocktail is always a party in a glass.

Try these cocktail ideas...

The Bicycle Shop’s Sazerac:

This is our favourite grown-up cocktail using the real Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey and it involves pipettes… what’s not to love?! Enjoy, seated.


A double measure of Sazerac Rye Whiskey

A quarter measure of sugar syrup

One third of a pipette of absinthe

One third of a pipette of Peychaud’s Bitters

Lemon Peel


For the absinthe rinse, fill a glass tumbler with ice to chill, add the absinthe, swirl in the glass and discard the contents. Stir the Rye, syrup and bitters on ice. Strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass. Release the lemon essence from the peel over the cocktail.

Frank’s Bar’s Espresso Martini:

We have quite a few popular cocktails, but the one we’re the most known for and which we sell the most of is the Espresso Martini. It’s a good one to start the evening with if you need a little bit of a caffeine kick with your cocktail!


A shot of Espresso

A double measure of Stolichaya vodka

A single measure of Kahlua Sugar syrup to taste


Add the ingredients to ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a few espresso beans.

According to the Cellar Trends group, at least six per cent of spirits sold to trade in the UK will be consumed in the form of cocktails, with sales growing 10 per cent every year for the past three years.

And to celebrate the growing popularity of brilliantly-blended beverages, Norwich cocktail connoisseurs will soon be able to sample a whole range of work from the city’s marvellous mixologists in the forthcoming Norwich Cocktail Week, which runs from October 3 to October 10.

London has its own Cocktail Week as does Newcastle and Manchester, but it will be the first time that the cocktail scene will have been celebrated in Norwich and organiser Gemma Seager hopes the event will grow year-on-year.

“I write for a living and every year I’d get invitations to lots of events going on during London Cocktail Week,” she said. “Then I saw cities like Leeds and Bristol starting their own and I kept thinking: ‘I wish we had one of those in Norwich!’ 
Eventually I just decided someone had to start it and that it might as well be me!

Gemma Seager who is organising the Norwich Cocktail Week.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY. Gemma Seager who is organising the Norwich Cocktail Week. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

“I’ve seen more and more bars serving great cocktails popping up all the time in Norwich and yet I’d still get messages from people through my website Vintage Norwich asking if there was anywhere here to get a good cocktail.

“I hope Norwich Cocktail Week can introduce people to some of the talented bartenders and amazing bars we have in Norwich and encourage them to try drinks and venues they’ve never been to before.

“I hope that it will encourage more bars to add good cocktails to their repertoire and that it can get bigger each year and really become a highlight in the Norwich calendar.”

Gemma explained that taking part in Norwich Cocktail Week involved participants buying an £8 wristband which will then entitle them to discounts off drinks and events at cocktail venues across Norwich.

10 cocktail trends predicted in the next 12 months:

1) Vintage and premium spirits to become more popular than house spirits

2) Bitter flavours to gain popularity

3) Increased use of herbs, spices and sours in cocktails

4) More vegetable juice cocktails

5) More creative use of ice in cocktails

6) Greater use of ready-made cocktail mixes

7) An increase in the number of low-calorie cocktails

8) Simpler cocktails using fewer ingredients

9) Smaller but better quality cocktails

10) An increase in the number of mainstream outlets offering cocktail pitchers

There will also be special events, such as sloe gin or tequila nights, club nights and talks about particular spirits and a large number of bars across the city will be offering special cocktail menus to mark the occasion.

“My favourite cocktail is a Manhattan – I love my cocktails short and strong,” said Gemma.

“I don’t have just one favourite place to drink cocktails in Norwich but amongst those I visit most frequently, I love the innovative menus at 42 King Street and The X Bells and the classics with a twist at Bedfords Bar.

“The thing that makes cocktails special is that there’s really something for everyone. They can be a long drink full of ice and fruit for a summer afternoon or something short, strong and warming for a winter evening.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t like a cocktail of some kind!”

We asked some Norwich venues for their favourites...

Norwich Cocktail Week events

October 3:

■The launch party at Farmer Browns (by invitation only).

■Cocktail Competition, Gonzo’s Tea Room, organized by Havana Club Rum.

October 4:

■Oxjam Take Over the Crypt at Bedfords and The Birdcage – Live acoustic music from 6pm to 11pm at Bedfords Bar on Bedford Street, wristband holders can get two cocktails for £10 from 5pm to 9pm.

■Poetry and the spoken word from 7pm to 11pm at The Birdcage on Pottergate, wristband holders can get two cocktails for the price of one from an exclusive cocktail week menu.

October 6:

■New comedy night at The Birdcage from 8pm.

October 7:

■Norwich Cocktail Club presents The Norfolk Sloe Company at The Rumsey Wells from 6pm to 9pm. Tickets £5 to wristband holders and £10 to non-holders, the sessions include tastings of the products plus a cocktail. Normal cocktail service will run alongside the sessions (which are limited to 25 people per session).

■Gringos Tequila Tasting Party, 7.30pm to 8.30pm, wristband holders £12, non-holders £24.

■Taste tequila in five different ways, learn facts about the process of tequila making and how flavours differ (also on October 9).

October 8:

■Norwich Cocktail Club Presents the English Spirit Distillery, The Wildman, 6pm and 9pm, tickets £5 to wristband holders, £10 to non-holders.

■The sessions include tastings of the products plus a cocktail.

■Martini masterclasses with Stoli at The Birdcage from 8pm.

October 9:

■Norwich Cocktail Club Presents the Ely Gin Company, The Rumsey Wells, 6pm and 9pm, tickets £5 to wristband holders, £10 to non-holders. Tasting of the products plus a cocktail, contact to book.

October 10:

■Adnams Cocktail Tasting Event at the Adnams Shop, Unthank Road, 10 per cent discount for wristband holders.

■Norwich Cocktail Club Presents Sisserou Coconut Rum at the Rumsey Wells, 6pm and 8pm, tickets £5 to wristband holders, £10 to non-holders.

■Drink’n’Jive at The X Bells – dress to impress and dance yourself silly to the best selection of rock and roll, early R&B, soul, Motown, Northern Soul and more – while enjoying the Norwich Cocktail Week menu.

■for more details and to buy wristbands, visit You can also buy your wristband in person from the Birdcage, 42 King Street, Bar 52, adnams Shop, the X Bells, the Mash tun and Gin Palace and Gonzo’s tea room.

Norwich Cocktail Week’s participating bars:

The Plasterers, Cowgate

42 King Street

The Birdcage, Pottergate

The Ten Bells, St Benedict’s Street

Adnams Shop, Unthank Road

Bedford’s, 1 Old Post Office Yard

Pinocchio’s, St Benedict’s Street

The Library Bar and Grill, Guildhall Hill

The Playhouse, St George’s Street

Bar 52, Prince of Wales Road

Gonzo’s Tea Room, London Street

Lola Lo, Bank Plain

Gringos Mexican Tequila Bar, Prince of Wales Road

Appleyard and Co, Exchange Street

The Mash Tun and Gin Palace, Charing Cross

The Maid’s Head Hotel, Tombland

Pickle and Relish, Unthank Road

The Woolpack Yard, Muspole Street

Karma Kafe, Bedford Street

Frank’s Bar, Bedford Street

The Bicycle Shop, St Benedict’s Street

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