By day, there’s a small cafe called Junipers on the high street in Chorlton that serves large helpings of eggs, brisket, and cakes. By night, Junipers looks closed. It even has a sign on the door saying: ‘closed’.
But behind the shutters, 1920’s cocktail bar Bring & Mix is in swinging business. Modelled after a prohibition-era speakeasy, you’ll need a secret password to get in (which will get emailed to you when you make a reservation), and bring your own ‘moonshine’ (alcohol) along for the bar’s cocktail experts to mix up into custom cocktails.
Whilst it may usually be a hassle to drag heavy bottles on the tram from the City Centre, with Christmas firmly over, those lighter and leaner half-finished bottles should make your trip to Bring & Mix easier. At Bring & Mix, you won’t have to queue to order cocktails, peruse a puzzling menu, or even pay for your drinks.
Rather, once you get shown to your table in the candle-lit and red velvet-clad venue, your waist-coated bartender will introduce you to how the evening’s going to work: essentially, for two hours, you’ll get served a constant stream of cocktails to your table, made and adjusted to your taste.
Every cocktail is different and experimental, but they’re all gorgeous. When we went, they treated us first to an orange concoction in coupe glasses, topped with a sprig of rosemary which brushed my nose when I sipped it (we were told its aroma would augment the taste of the cocktail). I was wary at first, but I have to say, it did make for a rich taste, and a somewhat more holistic tippling experience.
Staff returned to our table after every drink to ask us how we found it, to help them make their next brew even better. All the staff at Bring & Mix were exceptionally warm and helpful, as well as kickass cocktail-makers: we were always being attended to, and they seemed to really care about getting our cocktails just right.
We gave them a bit of trouble, but they always delivered: I usually drink my Famous Grouse on the rocks, so I craved something tarter than my companions — the staff utilised fruit purees, pieces, cordials, herbs and spices, bitters, and even jelly babies, to make bespoke scotch cocktails for our palates. Then, my boyfriend caused extra fuss by preferring one of my citrusy mixes to his own berry medley. The bartender serving us found this really interesting, and knelt beside us thinking for a minute before bringing over a bitter and home-made syrup to add to his cocktail. The result ended up being my boyfriend’s favourite drink of the night.
By the end of the night I was thoroughly inebriated, but luckily the tram back to the city centre was just a short walk down the road, and in no time I was tucked in bed with some Reese’s Pieces, firmly back in the 21st century.
Now I know where to go next time I fancy the best cocktails in town — made just for me.