A Christmas cocktail trail is coming to Manchester, bringing together some of the city centre’s best independent bars for the ultimate festive booze-up.
Even better, it’s all for a good cause – with a percentage of the sales from each drink going to help local charity The Mustard Tree, which works to help Manchester residents living in poverty.
Put together by spirits brand The Public Spirit in partnership with some of Manchester’s top cocktail bars, the city-wide festive drinks trail will take you from Ancoats to the Northern Quarter, down Peter street, then onto Albert Square before finishing on Deansgate.
Bars taking part in ‘The 12 Serves of Christmas’ include The Jayne Eyre, NAM, Cocoa Cabana, Elnecot, Mecanica, Reserve at Mackie Mayor, La Collina, Feel Good Club, Haunt, Motley, Jimmy’s, and Speak in Code.
Each will work with either the Golden Aged rum or the salted toffee-flavoured Original Spiced rum to create winter favourites like rum hot chocolate, mulled wine, espresso martinis and more throughout December.
The award-winning Ancoats rum company is already known for giving away a quarter of its profits to local causes including food banks, community projects and mental health charities.
Founded in lockdown by Manchester couple Olly Walker and Naomi Flaherty, the brand has community spirit at its core – as the name suggests.
Now it’s doubling down for Christmas, having teamed up with twelve different bars for the Christmas cocktail trail – ensuring that each drink sold will provide a meal for someone in need in the city.
Co-Founder Naomi Flaherty said: “It’s the time for giving and good spirit, so what better than enjoying incredible drinks and helping others while doing it.”
“Over the festive period The Public Spirit has committed to donating at least 2,500 meals for people in the city with every bottle they sell giving four meals.”
Co-Founder Olly Walker continued: “It’s so exciting to work with these fantastic venues and hopefully it can help us to smash our target. We can’t wait to try them all!”
Every drink sold on the Christma cocktail trail throughout December will give money to local homelessness and poverty prevention charity The Mustard Tree, which has three hubs across Manchester and Salford.
Food & Drink
Tim Martin is blaming ‘people drinking at home’ for UK Wetherspoons closures
It’s no secret that times are hard for hospitality right now, with pubs and restaurants shutting left, right and centre – but when UK pub giant Wetherspoons starts closing its doors you have to wonder if anyone can survive in this climate.
In September last year, the budget pub chain began listing sites for sale with 32 boozers going up as part of what it described as a “commercial decision”.
Now, it has listed even more – and arch-Brexiteer Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is apparently blaming people ‘drinking at home’ for the closures.
After the chain suffered a £30 million pound loss, CEO Tim Martin told PA news agency that people ‘have got into the habit of staying in’ ever since Covid and that that was why sales were down on 2019.
He also blamed lockdown restrictions brought in to stop the spread of Covid during the heigh of the pandemic for the pub’s losses,
He said: “The aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been far more difficult than anyone thought.
“That is the picture for the whole pub and restaurant industry. People thought that after lockdown there would be a boom in people suffering from cabin fever but, instead, it has almost become the opposite situation as people have got into the habit of staying in.
“That’s the big thing that means sales are down on 2019. Things are improving now but it’s slow.”
The pub sales are being handled by CBRE and Savills. Toby Hall, senior director at CBRE, said: “The excellent mix of locations in this portfolio is rarely seen in the market.
“With more than half the portfolio located in London and the South East and other strong locations in the South West, Midlands and North we believe the pubs represent an excellent opportunity for existing pub operators and new entrants.”
Which JD Wetherspoon pubs are set for closure?
Pubs which have been sold:
Harvest Moon, Orpington
Alexander Bain, Wick
Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin
Moon on the Square, Basildon
Coal Orchard, Taunton
Running Horse, Airside Doncaster Airport
Wild Rose, Bootle
Edmund Halley, Lee Green
The Willow Grove, Southport
Postal Order, Worcester
North and South Wales Bank, Wrexham
Pubs still up for sale:
The Butlers Bell, Stafford
Worlds Inn, Romford
Silkstone Inn, Barnsley
Wrong ‘Un, Bexleyheath
The Percy Shaw, Halifax
Jolly Sailor, Hanham
The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green
The Moon & Bell, Loughborough
The Widow Frost, Mansfield
Foxley Hatch, Purley
The Rising Sun, Redditch
Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Southampton
The Colombia Press, Watford
The Malthouse, Willenhall
The John Masefield, New Ferry
The Crosse Keys, Peebles
Lord Arthur Lee, Fareham
The Saltoun Inn, Fraserburgh
General Sir Redvers Buller, Crediton
Plough & Harrow, Hammersmith
Thomas Leaper, Derby
Tollgate, Turnpike Lane
Millers Well, East Ham
Hudson Bay, Forest Gate
The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich
Capitol, Forest Hill
The Bankers Draft, Eltham
Moon on the Hill, Harrow
The Bank House, Cheltenham
Last Post, Loughton
Food & Drink
Team behind Ancoats wine bar Flawd to relaunch Higher Ground restaurant
The team behind Ancoats wine bar and small plates spot Flawd will relaunch their restaurant concept Higher Ground at a new venue in Manchester next month.
First launched as a four-week pop-up back in February 2020, it was closed when Covid struck but now the bistro is making a return after securing a new permanent home in Chinatown’s Faulkner House.
The brainchild of Joseph Otway, Richard Cossins and Daniel Craig Martin, dishes will change on a daily basis depending on the season and showcase organic produce from their very own market garden, Cinderwood, as well as other local producers.
Promising a focus on North West ingredients, dishes will put a focus on small-scale agriculture and small herd, whole carcass cookery, whilst its wine list will center around small-scale, low intervention winemakers from around the European continent.
With room for 50 covers, guests will have the option to sit at traditional dining tables or perch on stools overlooking the open kitchen and charcoal oven.
An à la carte menu will allow guests to enjoy a few dishes and a glass or two from the wine selection, whilst a second sharing menu will be made up of both individual courses and sharing dishes.
Example plates could include Cumberland Farmhouse Cheddar Quiche and Jane’s Acorn Reared Pig Belly with Grain and Mushroom Porridge, whilst vegetarian dishes span BBQ Leek Skewers and Cow’s Curd and Celeriac with Spanish Blood Orange and Bay Leaf.
Guests will also be offered the choice of sweet or savoury options to round off their meal with Garstang Blue and Lager Rarebit sitting alongside Yorkshire rhubarb, Custard and Caramelised Croissant on the dessert menu.
Speaking on the new opening, Rich Cossins said: “We’re now over three years into our journey of owning our own business and we’re only just about to launch our first full-scale restaurant.
“The most exciting times are without question still to come and we look forward to contributing even more positively to the city of Manchester.”
As you’d expect from the team behind Ancoats’ critically acclaimed Flawd, the beverage list at Higher Ground will include an ever changing by the glass option along with a short and concise wine list.
There will also be a short list of aperitifs and specialty cocktails to begin the meal with as well as a range of UK beers in can and bottle format.
The restaurant will be open four days a week, between Wednesday and Saturday. They will serve dinner only on Wednesdays and Thursdays and will be open for both lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.