Planning a night out in Leeds? Check out my top five cocktails in the city.
The Chocolate Orange Martini – Hotel Chocolat Roast & Conch
A chocoholic’s one for the road
I’m a sucker for a Terrys Chocolate Orange so I was excited to see this little beauty on the menu at Hotel Chocolat on Boar Lane in Leeds. When I took my first slurp of this thick, dark, velvety mix of cocoa vodka, orange liqueur, orange bitters and milk chocolate served in a Martini glass I groaned (far louder that I should have) with pleasure. This my friends, is a Terry’s Chocolate Orange chocaholic’s dream.
Whilst it’s not something that I would knock back on a night out and the bar itself is more chocolate shop and restaurant that cocktail bar, this sexy drink is the ultimate ‘one for the road’ after dinner or a great dessert alternative. Better still, a Saturday afternoon post-shopping-trip-treat.
The Lemon La Vida Loca – 53 Degrees North
Vodka, amaretto, Frangelico, lemon juice, Limoncello and egg white make up this heavenly concoction, which is 53 Degree’s North’s take on a lemon meringue pie served perfectly in a champagne saucer (featured in the video).
It’s lemony, zesty and sweet, and the hint of almonds gives it an air of decadence. Topped off with blow-torched mini marshmallows which melt from the heat creating a sweet, fluffy meringue top, it looks playful and super girly. Top marks to the bartender who brought our cocktails to our table and blowtorched the top of them on it, within an inch of our fake eyelashes. Great touch. Definitely the first cocktail of the night – you want to be able to fully appreciate this little beauty and you won’t if you are already half cut.
I love this stylish cocktail bar – it’s a girly dolled-up-night-out- must. There’s a great DJ and enough floor space to prance about when he starts mixing the tunes up. Do call ahead and reserve a table in one of the large, white-leather clad circular booths if you prefer to polish off cocktails whilst perched on your posterior than prance around like a prat like me.
Read my review of Riccis Tapas and 53 Degrees North – click here
Rhubarb & Elderflower Spritz – Mr Nobody
A zingy summer number with a hint of the eighties in Italy
The Aperol Spritz – the Italian’s take on Pimms. And last year this sparkling glass of tangy freshness, not too dissimilar to a Campari and soda, took the UK by storm. Aperol is an Italian apéritif made of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona which give it a distinct orange colour. The bartenders at Mr Nobody mix together Aperol with elderflower cordial, rhubarb liqueur, prosecco & soda water to make the deliciously refreshing Rhubarb & Elderflower Spritz.
If you are lucky, you might just get offered a bag of Mr Nobody’s homemade pork scratchings – a fab salty snack that pairs perfectly with this refreshing number.
The ground level cocktail bar at Mr Nobody is a great place for pre and post cocktails if you are lucky enough to be dining in the restaurant below. On sunny days and warm nights, slurp your Spritz in courtyard garden. No airs and graces here; just a decent, down to earth cocktail bar attracting down to earth types.
Read my review of the tasting menu at Mr Nobody – click here
The Gin Garden – The Maven
A grown up heavenly mix of Gin and Elderflower
Made with Hendricks Gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice and cloudy apple juice and topped with a great big yellow flower head and rolled cucumber, this long and refreshing number oozes style and sophistication just like the bar its served in. Decent Gin and elderflower is always a winning combination and The Gin Garden is one of those cocktails that one can drink a fair few of well into the wee hours. Lush.
Aside from the superb cocktails in this dark and moody speakeasy bar on the 1st floor of a rather inconspicuous building, the joint is one of my faves. It’s moody and grown up with a bit of New York vide going on and if you are lucky enough to bag a table, you could happily stay here all night long. Great for a couples nights out.
The Zombie – The Tikki Hideaway above Call Lane Social
A flaming frenzy of fruitiness… and rum
As a rule, I would categorically NEVER order a cocktail called The Zombie before 11pm or in anywhere else other than in the Tikki Hideaway. Or perhaps on a hen do in Magaluf. Or Blackpool.
Every now and then there’s a situation that requires a concoction that glows in the dark, comes with three straws, an umbrella, contains more sugar than a lorry full of Haribo and is served in a flaming hollowed out Pineapple.
As you’d expect, this crazy cocktail is laced with rum and lots of it. With apricot, orange, pineapple, pomegranate and fresh lime this tooty fruity extravaganza is very similar to a carton of Umbongo served with rum and lots of flames. Apparently, to kill a zombie you must first set fire to it, and then drink it. The bartender nearly set fire to the whole joint!
The Tikki Hideway is the Northern version of Mahiki, with (a lot) cheaper cocktails, no guest list, and a much less pretentious crowd. One of my favourite places to end a night out in Leeds. Expect great music, sore feet and lots of new friends.