There is nothing like an Espresso Martini to perk you up after a busy week at work. The vodka favourite is my go to when it comes to after work drinks and Belvedere Vodka have gone one step further, they’ve created a pop up bar for all things coffee and vodka related. Say hello to Cafe Belvedere.
Launched by the International Bartender of the Year (according to the Spirited Awards) Joe Schofield and his brother Daniel, Cafe Belvedere is a coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar by night. The menu has been expertly put together by the talented brothers to celebrate all things coffee but also put a spin on the standard Espresso Martini. You won’t find a creamy coffee cocktail here, the recipes have been designed to both bring out the flavours of the vodka, and also coffee liqueur Mr Black in all their alcoholic glory.
(photo credit – Belvedere Vodka)
The bar occupies the downstairs bar of Artisan in Spinningfields and has utilised the space beautifully, with neon signs, greenery and a colour changing light up seating area. Everything is branded, from the glasswear to the bar spoons, you will have no doubt who this bar belongs to and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
We kicked off our introduction to the bar with a Belvedere Express, Belvedere vodka, Mr Black and nitrous oxide are expertly poured from a syphon into the cutest metal coffee cups. It tastes like a stronger version of an espresso martini with the slightly bitter coffee and the vodka flavours really coming through. It is the ultimate pick me up in minature form.
Next up was the Prince. Belvedere vodka, Mr Black, cold brew and raspberry are shaken into a tall glass with a touch of freeze dried raspberry powder on the side. I wouldn’t usually think fruit and coffee would go together but the coffee flavours are mellowed slightly by the fruit which adds depth to the drink without being sweet or ‘in your face’.
My favourite of the night was the Copacabana. Belvedere vodka, coconut, cold brew and honey are poured over a rectangular piece of ice that is lovingly crafted by the brothers in the bar from ice shipped in from Edinburgh. The coconut adds a fattiness with a delicate sweetness from the honey. The ice keeps the drink perfectly cool without diluting it, although mine was gone long before that could possibly happen. It is sheer beauty.
The Bombon is everything Christmas to me and totally reminded me of watching films on my Mum’s sofa with a liqueur coffee on Christmas day. Belvedere vodka, orange zest, warm coffee, tonka bean, cocoa and vanilla is everything a warm drink should be – comforting and a hug in a glass. It is perfect for this cooler weather and the citrus notes give it that extra Christmas nod that the festive period is not far away.
A favourite for the short drink fans will be the Robusto. Belvedere vodka, Mr Black and Branca Menta served over a cube of ice that nearly fills the glass is a hit of menthol coffee goodness. I expected this to be harsh but the mint really smooths it out and it is the perfect sipping drink.
Lastly is the star of the show, the Espresso Martini. This version uses Belvedere vodka, Mr Black and espresso making it lovely and smooth but not too sweet like other versions can be. We were lucky to be able to garnish our own so I chose a dusting of cinnamon and a small shave of chocolate. The beautiful Belvedere glasses are elegant with the white branch print around the side and it took every inch of willpower not to slip one into my handbag.
I left armed with Bangkok bar recommendations thanks to Joe’s time in Asia and a caffeine spiked spring in my step. I’m sad that the bar will only be open until 16th October but do make sure you go before they close the doors. Rumour has it the lads are looking for a site in Manchester to open their first bar together. I, for one, am extremely excited. There’s a chance it may fill the Elixir sized hole that is missing from my life, and the Manchester cocktail scene.
I was invited to Cafe Belvedere as a guest and was not asked to pay for my drinks.