Last week I defied my mind and any sense I had and went drinking. Cocktails. Alcoholic ones. On a TUESDAY evening. 

My head hurts thinking about it. 

I wasn’t completely mad though as these were goooooood cocktails from some of Leeds’ best bars! Of course I’m going to tell you why, and relive the heaven (and hell of the day after) of the cocktails I drank by taking you through my favourites, and of course tell you more as to why I rebelled! 

Firstly the reason:  The Cocktail Experience press launch. How could I turn down the chance to try some of the exclusively made cocktails in advance of the main event? Well quite clearly I couldn’t. 

Secondly the cocktails. There were 11 of the 18 bars that will be at the main event, in attendance all mixing up some fabulous cocktails to try. Most have been concocted especially for the event so  I had to be one of the first to try them out! 

Thirdly the company. Kellie was my date for the night (wearing a skirt with cocktails on which looked amazing!!) which meant we met for food beforehand so at least we didn’t drink on an empty stomach! Also lots of other Leeds blogger babes and boys were there so I knew I couldn’t turn down a catch up over cocktails! 

Speaking of which I’ll cut to the chase and give you my favourite five for the night:

The Sweetest Thing

I went straight for this one to try first the main reason was because it had candyfloss in the top. The second what the cute milk bottle and the sweets on the table! The Oracle created Fairground with bubblegum syrup, Grey Goose, Lemon and Lime Juice and Sprite, simple but the sweetest cocktail I ever did try. I ended up having two of these after one of the other girls discarded hers as it was too sweet for her! Bonus. 

Floral Fawning 

Declared on the night by most of us there as the ‘Most Instagrammable’ the Marigold by 53 Degrees North was actually very refreshing and was quite a few people’s faves. With Jinzu Gin, White Rioja, quince (my fave!), pink grapefruit, pineapple and tonic this was like a supercharged g&t and boy was it nice! 

Quintessentially British

The team at Be At One bar created essentially an Aperol Spritz, called the Britz Spritz. The difference being it is made with Kamm and Sons which is a British Aperitif.  It’s made with loads of complex things which had I visited them on the first stop rather than second to last I may have remembered (juniper, ginseng and Manuka Honey were part of it!) and it was delish. They combined it with elderflower cordial, prosecco and soda. It’s sweeter than an Aperol Spritz thanks to the elderflower and really drinkable- it’s also on their main menu so if you pop in I would recommend trying it!

Handmade with Love

The guys at Jakes Bar were fabulous! As I’ve never managed to visit the bar on my travels I didn’t know they handmake pretty much all their syrups in house. Their Ruby cocktail is made from Homemade Superberry tea Distillate (no idea), Homemade Pomegranate and Blueberry Syrup and Homemade Pomegranate Sherbert around the rim. Except these were missing the sherbert as Dave from the bar dropped it on their way in! I found this utterly hilarious as I visited them last but did apologise for laughing at his misfortune! The gin in this one is fifty pounds gin and I must say this cocktail was nearing the top of my favourites of the night for sure. 

 The Non-Cocktail 

Moët Ice Impérial– Okay so not quite a cocktail, this Moët is a lighter more drinkable version of its parents and should be served over ice (in the name right!?) we had fresh mint added to our but you can add cucumber, strawberry or whatever kind of fruit you like really to it too. It’s a lighter, fresher, fruitier kind of Champagne and boy did I like it! Plus the ‘glass’ (it was plastic) was just fabulous!

That’s not to say I didn’t like the others that didn’t make my top 5. Other offerings from the night included cocktails from Pintura, Vice and Virtue and Malmaison amongst others. 

So now I’ve whet your tastebuds I’m sure you want to know more! The whole idea behind TCE is that it’s the perfect place to go enjoy lots of cocktails (all at £5 each!) and experience what Leeds bars have to offer. All the details below and I’ll see you there as I will be going back for more* thanks goodness the main event it a Friday though! 

Date: Friday 3rd March

Location:Aspire, Leeds (a couple minutes walk past the train station, and a stones throw from the bars of Greek Street where some of my faves are)

Tickets: £15 plus booking fee for entry and one cocktail, £25 plus booking fee for a golden ticket 1 champs and 2 cocktails. Available here

*more cocktails and ticket to event provided for review. All opinions (however drunk) are my own.