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Mixology, technology and cocktails at Blackdog Ballroom

Helen Ramsbottom and the tale of the salty rim job

Published on May 5th 2011.


Mixology, technology and cocktails at Blackdog Ballroom

Tapping into my phone’s ‘notes’ section and emailing back the results from my evening at the Blackdog Ballroom (BDB) is genius.

Cut and pasting straight into articles allows thoughts to expand around key points with ease. It also assists with interpretation. My handwriting is so poor that people insist I write in capital letters. P1000485.JPG

Unfortunately the theory implodes when attempting to decipher my words.

It starts coherently enough.

 ‘ Blackdog cocktail masterclass. Colour of money - Speak easy theme inspiration 60s 70s. Balance between dry classic and more contemporary fruity - 60/40 classic

Simplicity is genius. Totally different menu to the main room.’

Then it goes  bad.

‘Cath - I need a blow torch Xmas list. 15ml Shaba. Dash aromatic bitters. Shot line.

Half salty rim. Do you like salty rims, I like Jane's salty rims? Rambos rim job from down under. I can feel a pie coming on. Grapefruit zest oils attractive to women - cat nip for women.’

What was going on?  ‘I like Jane’s salty rims’.  Eh? ‘Jane’ was not even in attendance. Second, digging in the memory banks of life I don’t recall ever tasting ‘Jane’s salty rim’. Let alone liking it. And the pie reference leaves me with a furrowed brow. P1000479.JPG

So it’s back to that trusty ‘notes’ section of the brain called memory - aided by photography.  After all to focus on the element of getting nought to leathered in the space of a few hours would do a disservice to Ozzie, BDB’s new mixological maestro.

This bloke knows his stuff.

His career has spanned considerable R&D at some of the New York’s finest drinking dens. He’s got form on the Manchester cocktail circuit too. This has equipped him with the insight to provide an intoxicating education. His most recent brainchild has come to life in the private room of BDB, ‘the Ballroom’.

With a different menu from the main bar the Ballroom drinks list is inspired by the Speakeasy era from US Prohibition times then given a late 20th century accent. Names taken from films such as The Hustler and The Colour of Money marry the bar’s two core themes. Not being well up on pool hustling history, it’s slightly over my blonde bonce but I do know my cocktails.

Taking it in over a welcome champagne cocktail it’s split into ‘Disco!’ and ‘Golden Age of Prohibition’. A few old faves and some intriguing new inventions, all designed to be thrown together in a matter of minutes to keep a bar crowd at bay. Apart from the classics the rest are all created by Ozzie. Accompanied with a couple of my girls we can’t wait to be educated. P1000495.JPG

Masterclasses at BDB can take up to 15 people at £25 a head, with larger classes more bartenders are enlisted so everyone gets the expert tuition. A champagne cocktail is served on arrival then each student is taught to make (and more importantly drink) a further two. BDB differs from other experiences by allowing pupils to come up with their own concoction. This is then committed to the mixological memory bank by an entry in their cocktail bible so you can request this on any subsequent visits. If it lives up to a taste test I guess.

A Margarita is my cocktail of choice so Ozzie recommended I try out the Kid Delicious, a version of a Tommy’s margarita this features a kaffir-infused agave nectar. Handmade syrups are something Ozzie is keen on, giving his cocktails a point of difference. And I wasn’t disappointed. Fiona opted for a Bronx for Fat’s which had a seasonal twist of clementines added for sweetness. This could almost count in the 5 a day.

Onto having a bash at making our own. P1000500.JPG

Nina being a lover of all things amaretto makes an amaretto sours. It’s an action packed experience. Nina had to come over all karate kid to split the shaker and Cath got some blow torch action while mixing her porn star martini. That explains the reference of wanting to get a blow torch for Christmas, so she can caramelise the top of her own passion fruit. Any pro would have been proud of her result.

I opted to create a new margarita. With kiwi. And chilli. Hence the reference to Rambo’s rim job from down under – I think. This name rolled far too easily off Ozzie’s tongue. It certainly tasted like nothing else I’d drank before and is committed to the BDB bible. Given Cath’s facial expression upon tasting this it’s clear this will never be on her request list.

Masterclasses are a right good giggle even if their conclusion remains hazy. Like my notes. Give it try – the cocktails that is, not the drunken scribbling on mobile digital technology.

Black Dog Ballroom,
Corner of Tib Street and Church Street,
Northern Quarter.

For any enquiries about the masterclasses contact Rachel@blackdogballroom.co.uk

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