Manchester’s first ever cocktail festival

19 July, 2016

Manchester’s first ever cocktail festival takes place this summer, between August 8 & 14. 

The organiser says it will bring together 30 of the city’s finest venues with a menu of drinks and a week-long programme of events for cocktail lovers.

Participating bars, restaurants and venues, include: Hawksmoor, The Pen and Pencil; El Gato Negro; Cane & Grain; Mojo; Gorilla; Trof; Crazy Pedros; Cottonopolis; and The Alchemist.

Manchester Loves Cocktails was founded by Leeds drinks creator and cocktail enthusiast, Nick Fox. The festival has taken place in Leeds under the name ‘Leeds Loves Cocktails’ for the past four years.

Fox says: “Manchester is one of the UK’s greatest destinations for cocktail lovers. The standard of cocktails in the city are on par with top bars of London and New York and it’s about time that the city has a festival to celebrate Manchester’s incredible talent and diverse cocktail scene. The north definitely has a lot to offer, and i want us to celebrate that fact with a week long cocktail festival.”

There is also a series of events, tastings and masterclasses designed for bartenders and those that work in the drinks industry, including a ‘War of Roses’ cocktail competition, which will see them pitted against their trans-Pennine counterparts to crown either Manchester or Leeds the cocktail capital of North.

In addition to the event programme, each of the venues will collaborate with one of world’s best spirit brands on a one-off exclusive cocktail menu. Available for the week of the festival, each cocktail is just £4.50 and available exclusively for festival wristband holders only. Participating spirit brands include: Portobello Road gin; El Jimador; Bacardi; Ketel One; Tanqueray; Hudson whiskey; Montelobos Mmezcal; and Licor 43.

More than 40 events will take place, exclusively for wristband holders. Top events include:

  • Famous London hotel The Savoy’s world-renowned ‘American Bar’ taking over at El Gato for The Evolution of the Gin Cocktail in association with Portobello Road Gin
  • A ‘Gin Journey’ tour around the city’s finest cocktail bars, hosted by The Gin Boss, Leon Dalloway
  • A whiskey cocktail pairing dinner at Tariff and Dale in association with Woodford
  • A tequila fuelled ‘Gringo Bingo’ at Blackdog in association with El Jimador
  • A night of American Gin & Swing dancing at Cane and Grane in association with Death’s Door Gin 
  • A Bourbon masterclass & Blues Party at Fitzgerald in association with Hudson

To gain access to the incredible events running throughout the festival and to purchase cocktails at the discounted price of £4.50, attendees must purchase Manchester Loves Cocktails wristbands for £10. Trade wristbands are available for those that work in the bar industry at a discounted price of £5 - proof of employment must be shown upon collection. Wristbands can be bought from:

The festival will be supporting Hospitality Action, the trade charity offering a crucial lifeline to people of all ages, working and retired, from the hospitality industry, with 25p of each wristband sold being donated to the charity.

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