Botanist Cocktail Masterclass

When I got the invite from the Botanist to do one of their cocktail masterclasses I had to pick my crew carefully, this was no ordinary familiarisation trip - I knew this one would be long remembered.

After a rigorous selection process I chose Paul, Steph, Rabia, Natalie to join me and sacrifice our Monday afternoon in the office. It was a fine sunny day as we made our way to Birmingham’s cocktail haven The Botanist and, on arrival, we were thankful for the cool aircon that hit us as we entered the bar.

This botanically decorated shabby chic bar has become a firm favourite of mine, so I instantly felt at home as we were greeted by the ever-friendly staff and taken to their new downstairs area - The Plant Room!

The space is stunning; with a similar decor to the upstairs and a spectacular bar, The Plant Room can be booked out as a perfect private area for a special celebration or event.

Our cocktail master and host for the evening Jacob was waiting for us at the bar (unsurprisingly). Now I have done cocktail classes before and found them to be...well a bit boring - lots of information and not much drinking or cocktail making!  However, Jacob gave us a great balance and was able to gauge what would work best with our group. So after a bit of friendly banter and introductions we got cracking. 1st up was the cocktail so good they named it after themselves, The Botanist. This beauty of a drink consisted of:

  • Micro Herbs Red Amaranth
  • Mint
  • Jasmine syrup
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Ketel one vodka 
  • Bacardi rum 
  • Briottet elderflower liqueur 
  • Topped with lemonade 
  • (Garnished with red amaranth)

This pretty pink drink was first demonstrated by Jacob and looked doable...first up was Paul and I. After we mixed our first few ingredients it was clear Paul hadn’t been listening to the counting measurements Jacob had given us, as he seemed to have a lot more liquor in his glass than I did!

Though our drinks did not come out as pink as Jacobs (as we apparently didn’t smash up the Red Amaranth enough) they tasted mighty fine and soon the five of us were sat supping on our own cocktails feeling very proud of ourselves.  We were all very impressed with Rabia as due to her tiny stature she couldn’t reach the bar very well, but she struggled through to make sure she got her cocktail.

At this point we already had a few spare cocktails, so we decided to donate them to Paul as it was his birthday.  Needless to say when we left later on Paul was in a very good mood.

Next, the Thai Chilli Crush. This is not a cocktail for the faint hearted and the example Jacob made was pretty spicy.  To spice things up even more while making these drinks it was now a taste test. The ingredients were:

  • Fresh Red Chilli
  • Micro Herbs Thai Basil
  • Sugar Syrup 
  • Homemade Lemon Mix
  • Apple Juice
  • Tanqueray Export Gin
  • Briottet Manzana Verde (Apple Liqueur)
  • (Garnished with red chilli)

Most of us chose to go with a smaller chilli, yet Paul chose a big one, this ended up being my downfall, as his far spicier drink was what helped him beat me in the taste test as Jacob liked the drink hot (honestly I was not bitter.....much).

The winner of the second round was Steph and as Rabia was against our teacher he kindly crowned her the winner. I did not expect to enjoy this drink as much as I did but it's strangely addictive and I soon polished it off no problem, I would recommend it if you want to try something a bit different.

After all the heat we needed something refreshing and cooling and luckily for us the Kiwi and Sage Martini was next. An exotic sweet drink, this time our skills were really put to the test as we had to do the dreaded cocktail SHAKE!!!

Martini included:

  • Fresh Kiwi
  • Fresh sage 
  • Kiwi syrup
  • Vanilla syrup 
  • Homemade Lemon Mix 
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Ketel One Vodka
  • Licor 43
  • (Garnished with Kiwi Wheel)

I have tried cocktail shaking before and always find the glass bit of the shaker gets stuck to the metal cup, so this was my chance to redeem myself and win. Unfortunately the glass once again got stuck but with a little help it came free. I felt defeated but that was until Steph was up and she had even more trouble than me but was rescued by Jacob.

As we enjoyed our last cocktail we agreed what a great couple of hours we’d had, and for the price £25 per head it is great value for money, 3 cocktails each as well as the examples. I am now determined to make my very own!

We left in a merry state in the sun and all decided it was the best cocktail masterclass we had ever done, job well done team we will see you soon Botanist maybe even for a cheeky Thai Chilli Crush.

LOU (19/7/16)

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