Review: Cocktail Menu Re-vamp at the Alchemist, Birmingham

The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant in Birmingham has now been open for the best part of a year, and they’ve certainly been a popular option with both after-work-drinkers and weekend-socialisers during this time. Now that they’ve established themselves, the bar has introduced a few new drinks to their extensive cocktail menu, and myself and a few other local bloggers were invited down to try them. You’ll still find the theatrical, dry-ice crowd pleasers that the Alchemist are so well known for – however, according to our bartender, the new drinks have been created to deliver on taste, rather than gimmicks. Read on to find if we found this to be the case!

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My first choice of the evening was the Going Menthol, a rum based drink with white mint, maraschino, lime and ‘alchemist toothpaste’. I chose this cocktail as I hadn’t seen anything similar on any menu before, and I can confirm, I’d never tasted anything like it either. I wanted minty and I got minty – the kind that clears your airways and, in my case, makes you sneeze. The ‘Alchemist toothpaste’ was an actual tube of a sugary, mint concoction, that apparently was also alcoholic, and which the bartender told me to take a suck from before each sip. This addition I suppose is quite fun, but it didn’t add anything to the taste and I felt a little weird sat in a swanky bar casually sucking from a tube… Overall though, a tasty and different cocktail – and one that had the added bonus of freshening my breath!

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When it came to choosing my second drink, I had to consider what my palette was now ready for. After having a sip of Helen’s Rhubarb and Custard Sour (pictured above), I realise I had just made a similar kind of school boy error to drinking orange juice straight after mouth wash. So, I played it safe and went for the Mint Aero. Keeping with the mint and rum theme, this short drink was a mixture of Appleton signature rum, Briottet white mint, apple, chocolate and creamy malt. I particularly liked this drink as it was a sweet, dessert style option without actually having any cream or milk in. The malt made for a silky smooth drink without it being too sickly or heavy.

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Next up I asked the bartender to surprise me – unsurprisingly, he opted to create the most dramatic when it comes to presentation (why not, they look pretty darn fun to make), the Lightbulb Moment. Having tried one of these on a previous visit, I knew it was more than just a good choice for style – this drink also has substance. Served in a spherical flask (which gives me no choice but to grace my blog with my toe-thumbs), this drink is handed over to the customer still bubbling and billowing with dry ice, for them to then pour in to a regular glass. The taste however is not compromised – a beautiful fruity gin based cocktail with a fiery kick from the ginger beer.

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For my final drink I moved on to the Kaleing Me Softly, a mocktail made with apple juice, kale, mint and elderflower. I’m not big on experimenting with green juices – but this was truly delicious. This non-alcoholic recipe certainly didn’t feel like a menu after-thought, but instead wouldn’t have been out of place in a fancy juice bar or health cafe. The presentation was a little too flamboyant for me – nobody wants to draw attention to the fact that they’ve opted for the healthy green mocktail in a cocktail bar – but this was certainly forgiven for such a refreshing, well-balanced taste.

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Overall, I was pretty impressed with the drinks on offer at the alchemist. I had originally been of the thinking that this bar was a little more interested in the presentation wow-factor than the flavour of the drinks themselves – but now having had a great cocktail masterclass experience and a second proper try of their menu, I’m definitely being won over! The service on the evening was also top-notch, so a huge thank you to everyone at the Alchemist for having us!

 

*The drinks on this evening were complimentary for review purposes. This does not affect my honest opinion.
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