TASTE of Manchester editor Neil Sowerby arrive back from the Jura region recently clutching a bottle of 63 per cent Absinthe Sauvage – a gift from producers in Pontarlier, absinthe capital of France. He might take it along to Cocktails In The City (October 11-12) as his contribution to this annual celebration of Manc mixology.
It’s hard to shake off that Belle Epoque legend of this spirit as the “Green Fairy’ dooming its avid devotees to derangement and death. In the wake of this absinthe was illegal for many years in many places.
That’s all in the past now with strict regulation. Hence we’ll need no invitation to hop on the La Fee Absinthe Bus (above, perfect for a hair of the dog), CITC’s most mobile manifestation of merriment (yes, we’ve been sipping!)
Double decker aside, this looks the best festival with 18 local bars taking part across the whole cocktail spectrum, including two that are yet to open – Project Halcyon and One Eight Six. ToM’s top bar tip – Speak In Code, The Washhouse (below, one of their creations), Science + Industry, Cottonopolis, Wilderness Bar + Kitchen.
Alongside the Tasting Rooms, CITC guests can expect a whole host of new interactive experiences. Manchester’s most instagrammable cocktail bar and restaurant, Tattu are recreating a Chinese tattoo parlour, bringing along their own tattoo artist, who will be inking cocktail drinkers in orinetal henna designs all weekend. Create your cocktails through colour and smell (Cottonopolis), playing a game of cards (The Washhouse) or rolling the dice (Blank Canvas). Enjoy a game of darts and win prizes with the team from Flight Club.Chuck in vegan street food from Wholesome Junkies and Asian treats from Slurp, Crackle & Pop, a new venue, Viadux plus cocktails all night at £6.50 a go and it all makes for a promising two days of spirited fun.
Cocktails In The City, Fri 11 Oct - Sat 12 Oct, 6pm-11.30pm. The Viadux, Bauer Millet, Lawrence House, 8 Albion Street, Manchester, M1 5NZ. £12.50 entry ticket includes one cocktail and a cocktail booklet. Buy tickets here.