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13th April 2023

NQ64 smashes retro gin at Super Smash Bros tournament

The Mancunion attends NQ64’s monthly gaming tournament to not only destroy the competition but fall in love with Hartwall Original Gin. Could this be the drink of the summer? We think so.
NQ64 smashes retro gin at Super Smash Bros tournament
Photo: Erin Botten @ The Mancunion

It’s a sunny Monday evening, and after a long day of staring at my notes in the Main Library, I needed a mental escape. Luckily, NQ64 seemed to be the solution.

Hoping to make it a monthly event, Manchester’s NQ64 has started putting on game tournaments, with attendees battling it out to win prizes. If that wasn’t a selling point as it is, you can expect a couple of freebies such as Franco Manco’s pizza and Hartwall Original Long Drink gin, to help energise you as you take out the competition.

Photo: Erin Botten @ The Mancunion

As my flatmate and I descended into the glowing Deansgate basement, we grabbed our drinks and warmed up our gamer skills with some light racing. I should’ve seen my violent and out-of-control driving as a warning sign of what was to come, but my drink kept me calm, cool, and confident in my gamer abilities.

NQ64 had an array of Hartwall Original Long Drink flavours to choose from: lemon, grapefruit, cranberry and orange-flavoured gin. As someone who used to douse my gin with various syrups after work in order to add a little zest, I was hesitant to try the proclaimed ‘gin in a tin’. My experience with gin was bitter and dry, hence the mix of fruity syrups I’d use in an attempt to combat this. However, after never being one to pass on a free drink, my view of gin drastically changed.

I tried both the cranberry and grapefruit cans, and both were amazing. My go-to drink is usually cider, but after a while, the artificial fruit can stick to your teeth and feel gross. Yet, the freshness and natural ingredients used in Hartwall Originals meant that this was not a problem. In fact, throughout the whole night, the flavour remained noticeably fresh without being too sweet and sickly.

Hartwall Original gin is described as a “Finnish artisan gin, with handpicked natural ingredients, and was originally made for the Helsinki Olympics way back in 1952 to make it easier for bartenders to serve thirsty tourists.”

Replace tourists with men aged 20-30 aggressively tapping away at Mario and you’ve got the same situation. The competition was intense, and I was losing badly. Did I know the aim of the game? No. Did I know the controls? Absolutely not. Did I even know which character I was at some points? Barely. But, it didn’t matter, because after each round of minus points, I gladly returned to my cool icy can of gin to get me through until the next round.

Hartwall Original Long Drink, Grape flavour
Photo: Erin Botten @ The Mancunion

Throughout the rest of the night, I gradually got better at Super Smash Bros, befriended a few competitors, and explored the other games NQ64 had to offer. It’s fair to say it was a great night, with Hartwall Original being the perfect choice of drink as I ended up having 6 cans.

Without a doubt, Hartwall Original Gin is the drink for the summer, or spring, as Manchester finally embraces blue skies and warmer afternoons. It goes well alone, or with pizza and other mixers. I can’t wait to see what else Hartwall Original has to offer, I would definitely recommend picking them up for a picnic or pres.

To catch the next game tournament at NQ64, follow them on Instagram! They are open 4pm-2pm every day, with happy hour from 4pm-7pm. 

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