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The Alchemist

Manchester is host to some very good cocktail bars. You might have heard of Cloud 23, the extravagant 23rd floor bar in the Hilton hotel or the brilliant array of quirky bars in the Northern Quarter. For a flatmate’s birthday we ended up at a little-known bar at the back of Spinningfields, The Alchemist. It’s a fantastic place to drink cocktails and a great alternative to a heavy club night (at a similar price).

The bar is sleek and stylish with a few nice touches like a film projection on the wall. All the classic cocktails were flawless – the Long Island was served in a metal tankard with definite references to prohibition drinking, but more impressive were the “artisan” cocktails: nouveau-classics with clever twists. Writing this with a horrendous hangover is a failsafe sign of a good night out.

I’ll mention a few cocktails: the French Martini – Vodka, Chambord and cranberry juice topped with pineapple foam and raspberry dust, the Mexican Elbow – tequila, agave syrup, lime, Beck’s Vier and ginger beer, and the Antica Collins – a classic Collins mixed with Carpano Antica Formula vermouth. However, what most impressed me was the Smokey Old Fashioned, made in a conical flask and infused with oak chip smoke, served in hefty rocks of glass containing a ball of ice.

The price of cocktail bars will most likely discourage students from going, from £5.95 up to £10 a drink – but it’s really worth it. Look out for deals they have on food and drink on the Facebook page. Try it even if just to get dressed up for a birthday or post-exam celebration and make sure to keep exploring the great bars Manchester has to offer!

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