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School for scandal

MOJO are running a series of spirit masterclasses and cocktail lessons. Mancon went back to school, to find out more…

Published on March 5th 2007.

School for scandal

School was never this much fun. And, if I remember rightly, there was certainly never as much alcohol involved. Well, unless you count the vodka fumes streaming from the breath of our alcoholic IT teacher Mrs Holden that is.

Rock n roll bar MOJO are taking us all back to school and giving something back to their customers in the form of spirit masterclasses and cocktail making lessons. Thankfully, Mrs Holden knows nothing about it.

Mancon went down last week for the first in their masterclass series, this one opening our eyes to the wonderful world of gin and hosted by Blackwood’s Gin - the independent, boutique distillery based on the faraway shores of Shetland.

The reputation of this spirit has gone from strength to trendy strength in recent years, shaking its old associations with pissed up grannies and becoming the drink of choice for calorie conscious young urbanites – although there’s not many of us that can claim to know much about it. We can all wine taste until the grapes go sour, but spirit tasting classes were a new one on me, and on virtually every other person in the class.

Upstairs in MOJO’s Rhum Room, our class of fifteen were welcomed by Andrew from Blackwood’s Gin, and took our seats around tables that had been laid with a placemat each, set with eight different types of gin in little shot glasses.

Andrew began by giving us juniper berries to crush between our fingers and smell. ‘What do they smell like?’ he asked us. ‘Er… gin?’ we attempted. Andrew was pleased – we were obviously good students. Next up – coriander seeds. ‘Er… gin?’ We were getting the hang of this.

For the next hour we were guided through different types of gin by Andrew, who talked us through the drink’s colourful history while explaining the differences between the different varieties, which included London dry gin, Plymouth gin and a very special vintage Blackwood’s variety, which at 60%, blew our heads off.

After our lesson, MOJO founder Mal showed us how to make some simple cocktails using gin as a base. The cocktails, which included a basic Gin Sour, a French 75 and a Rasberry Martini, were all delicious. Of course nothing went to waste, with all cocktails being handed out to the eager class to taste/guzzle.

Last of all, Mal made up a bowl of Pineapple and Pomegranate Punch, for which he had to ascertain our various levels of latex allergy. For the balloon ice cubes, you see. This punch, which included a whole pack of pomegranate seeds and a whole lot of champagne and gin, was absolutely scrumptious, and will without doubt be making an appearance at my next house party.

The class took two hours in total, after which we were free to do as we please… which for most of us meant sitting around in MOJO until the early hours catching up on a little cocktail related homework.

The next masterclass to take place at MOJO will be the Buffalo Trace Bourbon School on Thursday March 15th, with future schools planned after that. For more information and to register your interest in MOJO’s masterclasses and cocktail schools, send your full contact details to info@mojobar.co.uk , with ‘Masterclass Enquiry’ in the subject line.

Jayne Robinson

19 Back Bridge Street
M3 2PB
0161 8395330

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