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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Mullen Bartending Launch the M-League at Cord: Tequila All Round and a Win for Apotheca

If I've learnt one thing about myself over the years (other than the fact that sherry + brandy + red wine is not a combination I handle with aplomb), it's that I don't have a competitive bone in my body. Indeed, I actively avoid competitive situations - I can't watch quiz shows because they make me anxious, and I'm certain it's no coincidence that my favourite sport takes place over 5 leisurely, gentle days with a clear focus on tea intervals and visits to the Pimms tent rather than too much actual aggression.

I have, however, made some kind of breakthrough in the arena of competitive pursuits, particularly those of a gastronomic bent: it appears that being a judge is something I can cope with, requiring as it does little more than the ability to taste various food and drink items with enthusiasm and then arrange one's face in a vaguely knowledgeable expression. I was a real ale judge last year (where I was pretty much the only female present), I am to be a cheese judge next year, and last week I added a further impressive credit to my CV as a cocktail judge. The occasion was Round One of the M-League, a new (highly alcoholic) competition in which representatives from different bars around Manchester create their best cocktail from a specified spirit and brand before passing it to a greedy judge who snarfs it and then awards it marks out of 5 for appearance, aroma, taste and creativity.

This is the brainchild of Sean and Chris from Mullen Bartending, with two leagues (Northern Quarter and Deansgate) each consisting of eight participating bars who take it turns to host each round. The first event was at Cord in the Northern Quarter with Excellia Tequila, hosted by the ever knowledgeable Drinks Enthusiast (seen here talking SO enthusiastically parts of him are just a BLUR) and eventually won by the lovely Veronika from Apotheca with her Old Excellence (seen on the right in the first photo below) - essentially a tequila Old Fashioned that was voted a unanimous winner (and no bias here despite the fact that most weekends I can indeed be found in Apotheca, as we had no idea who had made each cocktail). Round Two takes place this Wednesday 18th September at The Whisky Jar, where the spirit of choice will be Monkey Shoulder whisky - follow @MBartending on Twitter or check out their Facebook page for more details. In fact, once you've mocked my low-quality photos of the night (although they do all have the lovely Lady Sybil in the background, just as hers all have me lurking behind the cocktails), you might want to look at the rather more professional ones here whilst I go off to perfect my *knowledgeable whisky face*...

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