All posts tagged “cocktails

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Bristol’s Best Bits: Bristol Cocktail Week

Yesterday was a very special day. Nope, not just Ty Pennington‘s birthday – yesterday also marked the start of Bristol Cocktail Week!

bristol cocktail week

I was lucky enough to attend a special preview evening last week at the beautiful Milk Thistle, to find out a little more about what to expect from this week-long celebration of the finer beverages in life.

If you haven’t been to the Milk Thistle before, get down there pronto! This was my first visit – it’s been on my Bristol bucket list to go there for a while, and it most certainly did not disappoint. Inside it is absolutely stunning; a former merchant’s headquarters steeped in Bristolian history, the inside is decked out in dark wood panelling, and there’s comfy leather seats tucked into every corner to retreat in to. We even got a sneaky tour down to the vault where the merchants used to hide their illicit goods, and where you can now rent out for private parties.

cocktail bitters at the milk thistle bristol
danny walker mixing cocktails at the milk thistle bristol

To get us excited about Bristol Cocktail Week, we had cocktail genius and master gin craftsman Danny Walker on hand to tell us a little bit more about the history of the cocktail, some fundamental rules of mixology, and how we can master our own drinks at home, all helped along by some very important taste-testing. Oh yes. Amongst the delights that we sampled were a delicious daquiri, a vodka Tom Collins especially for me (I am one of those rare creatures who doesn’t like gin) and an absolutely amazing tequila punch, proving that you can make a delicious punch out of any ingredients you like, as long as you follow the little rhyme – 1 part sour, 2 parts sweet, 3 parts strong, 4 parts weak, and a pinch of spice to make it nice!

daquiri at the milk thistle bristol

The line-up of events for Bristol Cocktail Week is staggeringly impressive – as well as pop up pizza parlours and drink-along screenings of Tom Cruise movie classic Cocktail, there’s a showdown between the two tribes of cocktail makers in the awesome-sounding Bar Wars on Wednesday, and a historical drinking marathon back at the Milk Thistle on Friday.

But how do I get involved with all this debauched madness?! I hear you cry. Simply purchase yourself a magical wristband for £10 of the Queens and pop along to as many events as your heart desires!

I just wish I could go to all of them! *hic*

A massive thanks to Visit Bristol for inviting me along, The Milk Thistle for their hospitality and Danny for the awesome drinks!

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Tapas at The Cuban, Bristol Harbourside

What with all this glorious summer sunshine we’re having, it’s the perfect excuse to be out and about basking in the sunshine, sipping on cocktails and maybe sharing a plate of tapas.

What luck, then, when an email popped in my inbox inviting me along to the Cuban on Bristol Harbourside!

Despite never visiting, I’d heard a bit about the Cuban before, and to be honest, they were mixed reviews. Deciding to leave judgement until I’d experienced things for myself, however, we took a trip down there on one sunny evening after work.

Cuba wall mural at the Cuban, Bristol
The Cuban Bristol Harbourside
menu at the Cuban, Bristol
the bar at the Cuban, Bristol

This place is huge. Situated in the same complex which houses a Pizza Express and just down the way from mega-restaurant Zaza Bazaar, this large establishment used to be Bristol’s home to American chain Hooters. It’s certainly big enough to house some epic parties – stepping inside over a large floor mural of Che Guevara, we were immediately greeted by the large bar and ‘cocktail area’, perfect for just having a quick drink on your way into town for a large one.

Despite all the cheery carnival-esque decor, we opted to sit outside in the sunshine, and ordered a cocktail whilst we perused the menu. This place is made for cocktails; I was pleasantly surprised to find that they make my absolute fave, a Zombie – a concoction of three different types of rum, pineapple juice and cinnamon spiced grenadine, enough to revive the undead. They also stock over 100 different varieties of rum! So far, so good…

zombie cocktails at the Cuban, Bristol Harbourside
tapas dishes at the Cuban, Bristol
hot peppers tapas at the Cuban, Bristol
patatas bravas at the Cuban, Bristol
quesadillas at the Cuban, Bristol

The Cuban describes itself on its website as a ‘true Cuban experience’. Despite never having been to Cuba personally, glancing over their menu indicates something different. True, they seem to have borrowed certain elements of Caribbean and Southern American cuisine, but if you’re looking for the authentic Cuban experience, then sadly you won’t find it here.

Having said that, they do offer a decent selection of Latin-inspired favourites sure to please the whole family. We were in a sharing kind of mood, and so opted for a selection of their tapas. It took a lot of deliberating, but in the end we went for the Albondigas meatballs, Padron peppers, quesadilla, deep-fried cassava with spicy mayo, patatas bravas and grilled aubergine.

Firstly, I was very impressed at the sheer volume of food that we got. At 3 for £14.50 these dishes are a little on the pricey side, but with 6 dishes we got enough to feed a small army. The quality was a bit hit and miss – the meatballs and aubergine were awesome, but the quesadilla was a little lacking in spice (well, enough spice for our tastebuds) and we didn’t find any of our Padron peppers spicy at all, despite the menu promising 1 in 10 to be very, very hot. I guess we were unlucky!

dessert at the Cuban, Bristol

Wanting to have the full Cuban experience, I managed to find room to squeeze a pudding in. Unfortunately, though, this is where it all went a bit downhill…

We ended up having to wait about 40 mins for it to be delivered, because our poor waitress, who was looking after the whole restaurant pretty much by herself, was taken back by a large birthday party who had just arrived. When it finally did get here, my ‘Cuban Mess’ was pretty underwhelming – a few scoops of ice cream with some crushed up meringue, banana slices and toffee sauce. Call me picky, but that is a poor excuse for a dessert *shakes head in sadness*.

So, what is the overall verdict? We had a bit of a hit and miss experience at the Cuban. The food was good, but we’ve eaten better tapas in the city. I’ve heard bad things about their mains, but I’ve yet to try it for myself. The bar staff happily let that poor waitress look after the restaurant by herself without checking on any tables, meaning we had to wait ages for our pud.

One good thing, though, was the cocktail that we had. Man, that was delicious. The bottom line is – I probably wouldn’t go back there to eat, but I would definitely stop by for a cocktail in the sun after work or for a boozy lunch, especially now they are running a 2-4-1 deal from 12-6.

Have you ever eaten at the Cuban? I’d love to hear what you think!

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary meal at the Cuban for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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TGI Friday’s Brand New Menu

Frequent readers of this blog may well already know how dedicated to burgers I am. And even hot dogs, for that matter. So when lovely Lyzi got in touch to ask if I wanted to pop along to the unveiling of TGIs brand new menu, I couldn’t really say no could I?! It would ruin my excellent burger ambassador credentials.

TGI Fridays Bristol

We arrived at TGIs and were very warmly greeted by our hosts, and immediately ushered towards the bar to order a drink. Lyzi had a fancy gin cocktail, but I opted for one of their famous milkshakes, which the bartender chap said they had been serving since the 60s! I went for the obvious choice, chocolate. Needless to say, it was absolutely amazing; ridiculously thick and made up of probably about 90% ice cream. I drank it waaaay too quickly and felt a bit sick. Rookie error.

TGI Fridays Bristol bloggers

We were then escorted over to our VIP area (!) and had a photo taken on the red carpet, which was a bit of a surreal experience! After a brief chat with the chef and a preview of the new dishes, it was time to take our seats, along with SJ and Hayley. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a TGIs – probably about 7 years – but I was impressed by the level of décor in this place. There were guitars and mixtapes hanging from the walls! Awesome.

TGI Fridays Warrior burger
TGI Fridays Mexidog hot dog
TGI Fridays bruschetta
TGI Fridays hot wings

The new menu is nothing short of amazing. There’s a truly epic burger on the menu to please the carnivores, plus some innovative and really tasty looking veggie options. It’s also currently only available at a few selected restaurants, so at Cabot Circus you have the chance to try something exclusive! SJ had a really nice looking starter of bruschetta, while Hayley tried their pork belly skewers. Me and Lyzi made the exact same food choices – chilli chicken wings to start, followed by a ‘Mexidog’ hot dog, served in a brioche bun with a mound of guacamole and creamy southwest sour cream, topped with pickled jalapenos.

It was all of my favourite foods wrapped up in one. The hot dog itself was amazingly good quality, and the softness of the steamed bun was just the right texture when paired with the creamy guac and crunchy toppings. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t too spicy, but that might be welcome news for some people. The chicken wings more than made up for it though, they were hot! Thankfully we were given some wipes to tidy ourselves up with; along with their amazing blue cheese dip they’re definitely not first-date material, being slightly on the messy side.

TGI Fridays cocktails
TGI Fridays Blueberry Breeze

After a couple more cocktails (including this lovely non-alcoholic treat, Blueberry Breeze) it was time to waddle back home. Thank you so much to TGI’s for the invite, and I look forward to seeing the new menu rolled out across all restaurants in the UK in the new year.