You know those Facebook competitions that flood your newsfeed; ‘like and share to win a two night stay in this hotel’, ‘tag two friends and share for your chance to win a meal for two’, ‘like and share this post, tag 10 friends and tell us why you should win for your chance to win’? No one wins those, right? Wrong. My friend won one. Actually, I won one on Instagram (prosecco brunch for two at Buttermilk and Maple (review will follow when I get around to writing it)) then a week later my friend won a cocktail masterclass at Aluna in Bristol. I know, we totally should start buying lottery tickets cause we’re just that lucky right now!
My lucky friend had to pick three of her friends (of course, I was one of them having taken her to my prosecco brunch for two the previous week) and book in an hour time slot one Sunday afternoon. Slots started at 1pm and went on till 4pm. We picked the 4pm slot and showed up excited to get to taste some cocktails. Since we were a little early we ordered from the menu while we waited (what else was there to do?), but there was a slight problem with our booking. Not to worry though, the bar manager (I think he was the manager anyway) re-booked our slot for 5pm and gave us a cocktail on the house while we waited. Not ideal having to wait an extra hour, but lets face it, mistakes happen. It’s how they’re dealt with that’s important and a quick solution followed by freebie alcohol is the perfect way to handle a situation like this one.
I started with a classic Espresso Martini (cause what coffee drinking woman in her 30s does not like an expresso martini??), but my friend, Flo, started with a much more adventurous cocktail; the Pomegranate Cosmo (I’ll be honest, I can’t remember if that’s the right one or not from the menu…). A clear drink bubbling with dry ice. Yep, you see, a lot of Aluna’s cocktails have a little sprinkling of science behind them. So, while you’ll find the classics (Espresso Martini) you will also find the classics with a twist.
At 5pm we were called over to begin our masterclass and met Joe (Instagram: mr_j_cocktails_95) who showed us how to make French Martinis (two of us made the classic version and the other two made the one with the twist. For anyone who isn’t obsessed with French Martinis like I am, they are traditionally made with Chambord, Vodka and pineapple juice. The twist version was made with Vodka, Chambord and pineapple foam!). Not only did we get to watch, but we also got to step behind the bar and try it ourselves. And of course, we got to drink everything that we made. Happy days. Next we made the Bubblegumtini (I can’t remember what went into this, but it was good!) and then to end Joe made us his showstopper cocktail; the Bushfire. Pictured below. As you can see he set it on fire in quite a spectacular fashion. Literally taking his life in his hands for our drinking pleasure.
With a bar lined with drinks waiting for our consumption the masterclass was over and we had had the best time. The cocktails were tasty and different, not the usual run-of-the-mill cocktails you’d find in any old bar. You can tell that thought has been put into this menu, not just what will taste good (and they do), but also what will make the most spectacular visual show while waiting for your drink. Making a cocktail takes a bit longer than it would to pull a pint so it has had to become an artform to keep us punters entertained while we wait. Joe and his colleagues could not have done a better job looking after us; Joe was our teacher, our photographer and chief ice thrower (yes, we threw ice at one of the other bar men. It was immature and fun so why not!).
Aluna has a bar in Birmingham as well as Bristol. They also have a restaurant, but we didn’t eat there so I can’t review the food. However, if their food is even half as good as their drinks then diners must be in for a treat!