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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Ski Club, Manchester: Guest Blogger Rests Aching Limbs after Hard Day Skiing Round Spinningfields

Now, much as this blog may occasionally suggest otherwise, I am not a terribly proficient drinker; indeed, for every sighting of me opening a bottle of prosecco or deliberating over a cocktail, there are at least ten markedly less glamorous times when I am to be found in the kitchen, making a nice cup of chamomile tea. But if there's one girl who really knows her way round a drinks cabinet it's the Liquor Chick, so who better to send along to Manchester's latest pop-up bar, The Ski Club, to investigate this year's winter warmers in a little more detail...

You’d think that on a skiing holiday the main desire would be to ski, but many skiers look forward to something else just as much: the après ski. Yes, that reward for all the *ahem* hard work you’ve been doing on the slopes. A place to rest your aching legs, sit in front of a log fire and socialise wearing clothing that you wouldn’t ever dream of walking into a bar on a night out in the city. But that’s all part of the fun of après ski.

This is exactly what Heart Soul Rock & Roll, experts in innovative pop up bars, are endeavouring to bring to the city of Manchester.

The Ski Club opened its door to a thirsty public at the start of this month, and I was lucky enough to go and sample some of what they are offering on a special bloggers' preview night.

Now, cocktails are my speciality and it has to be said that there was one that truly won my heart...THE BRANDY BLAZER. A mixture of cognac, Grand Marnier orange Cognac, apple brandy, Canadian maple syrup, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. This is the PERFECT winter warmer *plans a selfless day out Christmas shopping and a stop off at Ski Club to revive my aching legs and thaw out*. This is also EXACTLY the type of thing I would order on a ski holiday and is a PERFECT match for this venue.

We were also lucky enough to try the Ski Club Punch Bowl, a GIGANTIC specimen, serving up to 6 people. It contained Grand Marnier orange Cognac, Chambord French Black raspberry liqueur, fruity red wine, a hint of plum bitters and fresh Clementine juice. Effectively it was like a rather large, but cold, mulled wine. At £45 it is reasonable for the amount you get.

A few of the cocktails on the menu are reflective of the uniqueness that Heart Soul Rock & Roll strive to achieve, and if they get the amount of ingredients right, they could bring extra creativity to the cocktail scene of Manchester. For example, I tried the Port & Starboard cocktail, nothing like the traditional Port and Starboard which contains Creme de Menthe and Grenadine... No, THIS cocktail contains Graham’s 6 Grapes Port, raspberries, Chambord, brandy, Clementine juice and is garnished with blue cheese. This cocktail excited me as I am partial to bit of port, a perfect seasonal drink *raises glass* ‘all in the name of Christmas’. Cheese and port always provides a special finishing touch to the festivities at this time of season, so as a cocktail this is a really appealing and fresh idea; unfortunately there was a little too much Chambord and too many raspberries in this, so it was very hard to taste the port. The raspberry flavour overpowered the rest of the drink and as a result did not correlate with the name of the drink. The blue cheese also did therefore not accompany it very well.

The food was good and very reflective of the type of thing you would want from a bar in the cold weather; traditional après-ski bars tend to sell simple yet tasty snacks. I would particularly recommend the cheese fondue *wonders how she can bribe a home delivery on a dull school night*. There are lots of amazing food packages available too.

The Ski Club attempts to bring the décor and ambiance of a vintage inspired ski chalet; with Scandinavian G-Plan furniture, alpine scenes, furs and retro lighting. The retro vibe it brings creates a relaxing feeling, ideal after a hard day ‘on the slopes’ *thinks of a way to emulate the results of a day of skiing in order to justify consuming everything on the Ski Club menu next weekend*. The concept of this winter bar is fresh, unique and brings something that Manchester has never been seen before. As a skier myself, there were little niggles that didn’t quite fit. But it is an indoor pop up bar after all and it would be unrealistic to expect it to be perfectly executed in every way. This is a great addition to the city and I’ll definitely be paying a few visits over the forthcoming months *roots in the loft for ski poles*

- The Ski Club can be found on the first floor of Quay House, Off Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3JE.

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