On Thursday I was invited to my very first bloggers event, a launch night to celebrate T.G.I friday’s new ‘100 cocktails as 100 works of art’ drink collection. Until this night I didn’t appreciate that every member of the bar team has to memorise every single cocktail on the menu.
If you watch after ordering, they nod and head straight to the bottles, selecting the various components of your drink, not once do they consult the menu to check whats in the cocktail, or look at a recipe to check the measurements. Not only this, but TGI’s will make up any cocktail you suggest, so the head barman (Brian) knows over 1000 different cocktails and has their recipes committed to memory!
This seems incredible, especially to me as I have memory issues and struggle daily to recall facts, names and words. I had a technical issue with my camera so I’ve had to use some images from the T.G.I’s website and facebook page to showcase the cocktails to their best.
(This is Brian, We swooned.)
I travelled to the event with fellow bloggers Cara (Glacial Glow) and Chloe (Unwritten Hollywood), when we arrived at the event we were made so welcome by the event team. Not only were we allowed to try three full size cocktails but they also gave us some amazing canapés to soak them up with!
T.G.I’s believe each cocktail they make is a work of art, because of the work that goes into creating a new cocktail recipe. Like artists experiment with colours and textures, cocktail mixologists experiment with flavours, scents and new taste innovations. The event involved three different artists, working on art to accompany the new cocktail creations. A caricaturist who hand-created the ‘Cherry stag’ logo and produced caricatures of all the bloggers that night, a wonderful fine line artist who created a fine-line drawing in front of our eyes to promote the ‘Turkish delight’ cocktail, and a graffiti artist team who produced a piece to compliment the ‘Hinky Dink’ cocktail. There was also the opportunity to create own tote bags and cardboard picture frames to pose behind, the events team really did themselves proud!!
Onto the cocktails:
My favourite cake ever is called ‘Red Velvet’, so it was only right that I tried the new ‘Red Velvet cocktail’ to try first!
Ingredients: “Malibu, BACARDI Superior rum, raspberry liqueur and fresh raspberries, with lime and gomme, finished with Friday’s® Foam and speared raspberries.” (From TGi’s website)
This was yummy, and very very raspberry-ry (yes, that IS a word) Because its made with fresh raspberries you do get a few seeds, and a slight sharpness to the taste, but to me that just adds to the authenticity. – They’ve bothered to prepare and use fresh fruit instead of sickly fake flavourings. When the foam was added on top it looked just like squirty cream, which did worry me a bit as I have a slight dairy allergy, but they didn’t lie, it really is just foam!
It settled as soon as it hit the cocktail, and made a pudding-like flat foam on the top of the glass; garnished with a few fresh raspberries to finish, this drink looked as tempting as the cake! One for fruit lovers who shy away from sugar and syrup, very tangy and refreshing, a perfect cocktail to start with 🙂
Cocktail number Two was the Canada Goose, which I may have ordered just to ask “Can I please have a Canada goose” at the bar…
Ingredients: “A delicious blend of Grey Goose Vodka (French), Luxardo Amaretto, Cherry Brandy and Maple Syrup (Canadian).” (from TGi’s website)
My ‘judge a cocktail by its name’ risk paid off and this was another yummy cocktail! When I go out I usually have Amaretto & Red Bull (well, when someone else is paying as its damn expensive to order at a bar and what are dates for) and T.G.I’s Canada Goose is a luxury version ! Avoid if you don’t like cherry, or the taste of alcohol, as the cherry brandy seems to be the strongest taste even though the recipe uses a lot more of the vodka. There is some lemon and lime in here too so the overall taste is citrus meets cherry, and the warming nutty flavours of the Amaretto.
Two cocktails down I remembered that I do have to be able to review these drinks and I need to be sober enough to remember what I ordered, so I pounced on the gorgeous tapas style plates of food to absorb some of the vodka/rum/brandy!
Showcasing mini versions of some of T.G.I’s menu favourites, the tapas included their amazing Jack Daniels marinated chicken, which I always order! as well as pittas, pretzel bread and a beautiful creamy houmous dip! One of the bloggers, Heidi (Heidi_Likes), was coeliac and within minutes of telling the restaurant they had provided a range of gluten-free alternative tapas for her, which was so lovely and I think must have made her feel included and welcome to the restaurant 🙂
After a waltz round the various artists exhibits, and a bit more flirting with Brian, (Hey Brian) I chose my third cocktail from the menu, another of my favourite puddings – Lemon Meringue Pie!
Ingredients: Limoncello, Cointreau and BOLS Creme de Cacao with lemon juice and orange bitters, finished with Friday’s Foam and lemon zest.
I think its obvious from the title, but avoid this drink if you don’t like Lemon!! It also doesn’t really taste like Lemon Meringue Pie as a whole but does capture the taste of the lemony filling. I suppose Lemon Meringue Pie Filling’ didnt look too good on the menu!
This was quite a bitter sour cocktail, as the ‘creme-de-cacao’ adds the bitter taste of chocolate to the lemon and orange flavours. I still enjoyed it though as I found it quite sobering, it definitely woke me up a lot! I got the sour-haribo-sweets taste at the back of my throat after a bit so had to nurse this cocktail rather than chug it like I tend to do with cocktails – this means it’s a great value drink as you can’t down it (no, that’s not a challenge!) !
Having now filled up my free cocktails sheet and handed it in I suggested we had one more before we started travelling home, but made it a pudding-style cocktail to end the night.
So I chose the ‘Barnamint Baileys‘ and Cara had the Strawberry shortcake, both milkshake cocktails were from the same ‘A Taste of Luxury’ range as the Lemon Meringue pie and the Red Velvet creations.
Ingredients: Baileys, BOLS Mint liqueur, vanilla flavor ice cream and Oreo® cookies.
This was the perfect cocktail to follow the Lemon Meringue Pie as the ice-cream soothed my throat and the mint chocolate taste cleansed away all the sharp aftertaste. It was very filling, like a pudding should be and so creamy, how can you go wrong with an alcoholic milkshake! (btw, if you are about to say ‘don’t you have a dairy allergy?’ yes I do, but I was tipsy and I love milkshake so shush please :P) also…IT CAME WITH A FREE OREO COOKIE. My night was made!
This is Me, Cara, Chloe and Holly enjoying our last drinks 🙂
I such a fabulous time, it was my first visit to the Birmingham TGI’s as I’m not local, and it was the best one I’d been too. We got a taxi there from New Street station which cost about £8, nothing when shared between a group of giggling girls so definitely somewhere different to consider next time your visiting Birmingham 🙂
Thanks so much to Tgi’s Birmingham and @TGIFridaysUk for a fabulous fun night, I really hope your launch goes well!