I’m venturing a little off the beaten track today
and instead of talking about a new recipe; I’m going to introduce you to the new amazing rhubarb concoctions being created in the Hard Rock Cafe, Manchester.
When Hard Rock and the Printworks got in touch to invite me to their ‘Raise the Rhuf’ cocktail showcase evening, I immediately said yes. I mean the chance to try out the Hard Rocks latest cocktails made using their own rhubarb grown on the roof of the Printworks – who could say no. I was extremely intrigued by the idea of using rhubarb in cocktails and was eager to find out more about the secret garden on the rooftop.
So why rhubarb??
Its not really something that you usually find on a cocktail list and generally the humble rhubarb stick is only ever used in the well-known and loved rhubarb crumble – of course with lashings of custard. So why was the Hard Rock Cafe keen to introduce rhubarb to their drinks menu?
Up on the roof of the Printworks a little garden development has been slowly growing and blossoming over the last 3 years. In full sun and out of the way of the busy city below are thriving vegetable patches, herb gardens and even beehives. You can read more about the Printworks garden here. So this summer; rhubarb did particularly well on the rooftop garden and the Printworks decided to let the Hard Rock Cafe Mixologists work their magic with the abundance of rhubarb sticks.
The Old Fashioned Rhubarb Gin Twist
I arrived at the Hard Rock on time after a brisk walk through the streets of Manchester, which were looking very festive with the all the Christmas market stalls and decorations out in full swing. I was taken upstairs along with a few others and we were immediately greeted by Nathan the mixologist and a strong Rhubarb Gin Twist. This was definitely a drink for the start of the night and certainly had a kick to it. I’m not one for drinks that need to be sipped and that make you screw your eyes up; so I politely drank half and swiftly moved onto the next beverage. For those who like a proper alcoholic beverage on a night out then this is definitely for you. The Hard Rock describes this cocktail as a drink to: “Enjoy the old fashioned way with Gin, rhubarb bitters and rhubarb and rosemary syrup”. So if you’re feeling up to the challenge of being old fashioned then I’d definitely give this one a whirl.
The Rhubarb Crumble Cocktail
Now this drink was more my style and went down a right treat. This delightful cocktail really is rhubarb crumble in a glass and its not too overpowering or too sickly. The rhubarb liqueur, bitters and syrup used in this drink are all nicely balanced with the sweetness of apple juice and the tang of lemon juice. The thin layer of cream floating on the top and the biscuit crumb rim on the edge of the glass finish this drink off perfectly and leave you wanting at least seven more. – Nathan was good but he wasn’t that good unfortunately; so I had to settle for three 🙂 The Hard Rock describes this drink as “a trip down memory lane. Rhubarb liqueur, bitters and syrup, lemon juice, apple juice and topped with a vanilla cream float and scrumptious biscuit rim”.
Some tasty canapes were handed around whilst we waited for the final drink of the evening to be made up by Nathan. This included miniature versions of the Hard Rocks ‘legendary’ burger, spring rolls and breaded chicken bites.
However, the real treat was to follow: miniature rhubarb desserts!! I just loved these: A tiny rhubarb & custard; and the cutest little rhubarb tart. They were delicious and I hope Hard Rock Cafe gets these on their menu soon.
The Rhubarb G&T
Now I know there are a lot of G&T fans out there and I have a feeling that this rhubarb version of a G&T will not disappoint. Along with the usual refreshing taste of a G&T the background scent of rhubarb in this drink really makes it stand out from the crowd. The Rhubarb foam on the top adds to the theatrical nature of it all and again leaves you wanting more.
Watch out for these fantastic new drinks and treats at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manchester soon; Hard Rock Cafe will donate £1 from the sale of each cocktail to the Manchester Cathedral Volunteer Programme.
My drinks and snacks during this event were complementary for the purposes of a review, all opinions are my own.