Alma De Cuba is one of the most unique venues in Liverpool, with an amazing history and some of the best drinks in the city. Last week, myself and some other gin-loving Liverpool bloggers headed to the Seel Street bar ahead of World Gin Day to judge a very exciting competition…
Alma De Cuba is an incredible place – the bar and restaurant is based in a converted church, and the leftover alter, arches and stained glass windows really add to an electrifying atmosphere. By day, you can come an enjoy sumptuous food, including an amazing Sunday brunch with a gospel choir. By night the place turns into a mini carnival, complete with dancers and petal drops.
I have to admit, I’m yet to visit for a night out, but I have been for lunch and dinner on many occasions.
One of my favourite parts of the place are the amazing cocktails – they have some really unique items on the menu with the best spirits around.
Well, cocktails were exactly what we had turned up for – Huyton based company Halewood Wines & Spirits had set the mixologists of Alma De Cuba a challenge to create some new summery cocktails for the menu using some of Halewood’s spirit ranges – Whitley Neill Gin, Liverpool Gin (one of my favourites) and Dead Man’s Finger’s Rum. They also had to use Lamb & Watt’s range of mixers, which are apparently made with spring water from the Lake District (fancy!)
The stakes were high(ish) – if the concoctions impressed us, not only would they would they end up on the Alma De Cuba menu, but there were also some fabulous hotel and dinner prizes up for grabs!
We had to judge the drinks based on a couple of categories – the humour of the barman, the story behind the drink, the taste of the cocktail, the look of the concoction and the originality.
3rd Place – Flowergirl
One of my favourites was Ste Lowry’s Flowergirl, which ended up being one of the top 3. He’d gone for what he knew us ladies would love, which is why we all unanimously adored the combination of flavours.
- JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin,
- Lamb & Watt Basil Tonic
- Rosemary & Lemon Gomme
- Muddled cucumber & rosemary
Combining gin & prosecco is a recipe for me making a fool of myself on the dance floor – luckily, we were passing around cocktails to share rather than downing full ones!
2nd Place – Rosemary’s Ruibarbo
The evening’s runner up was Gareth McCullough’s Rosemary’s Ruibarbo – I gave it extra points for being the first to be presented in a proper gin goblet (I do love a gin goblet you know!).
This smooth tasting cocktail featured some dry and wet shakes to smooth out the flavours.
1st Place – Rhubarb Stiltskin
Coming out on top for the evening (possibly due to us sneaking sweets meant for the garnish!) was the Rhubarb Stiltskin – it came with a fantastic story and punchy flavour.
- Whitley Neill’s Rhubarb and Ginger
- Giffard Peach
- Lemon juice
- Egg white
- Pineapple Juice
- Grapefruit Juice
The three winning drinks will be coming soon to Alma De Cuba’s menu, so keep an eye out and give them a go!
Honourable mentions go to Jonathan’s ‘Mora Star’ – a heady mix of Whitley Neill Blood Orange Vodka, Lamb & Watt Ginger Ale, Ginger, Monin Syrup and Star Anise – I can still smell it just from thinking about it!
Stepping away from the gin was Darren’s ‘Rum Kiev‘ – the unpredictable creation brought together Dead Man’s Finger Spiced Rum and Prosecco, along with some Amber Falls Salted Caramel Liquor – not as sweet and sickly as you might think!
Thank you very much to Georgie Glass for my invite, to Gemma for hosting and Halewood Wines and Spirits for putting the competition together, providing the amazing spirits and for our goody bags filled with some Kiehl’s goodies and miniatures so we could recreate some of the concoctions at home! With World Gin Day coming up soon I have no doubt I’ll be cooking up my own versions of these – I may know the ingredients but the measures will be pure guesswork*!
And finally, a huge thank you on behalf of all us bloggers needs to go to all the boys for putting up with all our cries of “Don’t shake yet – I need to do the Boomerang!”