The biggest thing I miss about living in Castlefield is my old local. Atlas Bar was where I sweatily had a celebratory glass of wine following completing the Manchester 10km, it was where I met friends on a whim and also where I first tried some of the newest gins to hit the market. With over 185 gins available, and counting, I’d be interested to meet anyone who can’t find one they haven’t tried yet. Last week saw their popular gin supper club feature Langley’s No8, Saffron and Hoxton gins paired with dishes prepared by head chef Ross Parker so I thought I’d pop along and see what I will be missing out on.
Dave Marsland aka The Drinks Enthusiast was our host for the evening and kicked things off by introducing Langley’s No 8. The gin is only 2 years old and was picked by the owners of the brand as their favourite of 12 different options hence where the ‘number 8’ in the name came from. It’s not an exotic gin but all the ingredients are British making it a real home grown one. Served with a grapefruit twist to emphasise the grapefruit within the gin there is a heavy burst of citrus when sipped with the tonic yet it is sweet on the nose.
The starter served with Langley’s No 8 was a mackerel ceviche. The chilli and lemon brought out the sweetness in the gin beautifully with the mackerel light and fresh to balance the flavours of the dish.
Onto our next gin and a different one at that. Saffron gin is, not surprisingly, made with saffron as the most dominant flavour but there are also notes of juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel and fennel to name just a few. The saffron gives the gin its golden colour but also adds a delicacy to the drink. When Dave asked the group what they could smell on the nose the room was pretty silent. I think most felt this was because they didn’t want to sound stupid with their suggestions until Dave pointed out that this gin has no overly dominant aromas on the nose.
Served with the softest ossobucco I think I’ve ever tasted and a beautiful risotto still with plenty of bite the dish helped to bring out the saffron notes in the dish and the bitter orange flavours in the gin.
Last was a curve ball of a gin – Hoxton. Made with grapefruit and coconut it smells like the Malibu and pineapple of my youth. It is surprisingly creamy on the palate and a bestseller at Atlas Bar although I’m not sure it is something I would drink on a regular basis. Ginger and tarragon are also used to make the gin to deepen the flavours and to take away some of the sweetness that would be present without.
Served with an inventive rum-baba with grapefruit and coconut Chantilly the gin on its own with the dessert didn’t work. The flavours were too similar leaving just the alcohol of the gin behind. With the tonic, however, the gin takes on an almost floral note. The dessert itself was surprisingly light, I’m just upset there weren’t any leftover to take home in my bag for breakfast the next day.
You can catch the next supper club at Atlas Bar on 21st July with Pinkster gin. Contact them now to reserve your place, I’ll see you at the bar.
Whilst I was invited to this event as a guest and not asked to pay,I was not asked to write a review.