Video: Raise a glass to Norwich’s first cocktail celebration
11:38 04 October 2014
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.
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!
“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.
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
■The launch party at Farmer Browns (by invitation only).
■Cocktail Competition, Gonzo’s Tea Room, organized by Havana Club Rum.
■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.
■New comedy night at The Birdcage from 8pm.
■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).
■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.
■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 firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
■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 www.norwichcocktailweek.com. 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