Many blokes of a certain age have longed to emulate Tom Cruise in Cocktail at some point in their lives. And I’m no different.
Thanks to Revolution in Lancaster, I had the opportunity to become a cocktail barman, just like Tom’s character in the film, for a few minutes at least.
This was as part of a personal ‘cocktail masterclass’ as Revolution celebrated its re-opening after a £100,000 refurbishment.
The Penny Street bar has an impressive new internal decor and layout, which includes an open counter where chefs prepare stone-baked pizzas right in front of your eyes.
The friendly staff made myself and my wife Sharon feel right at home when we arrived on a Friday early evening, which I’ve always felt is the best time to visit Revolution for those who prefer a chilled-out night out.
Barman Jake Hawkins, one of Revolution’s team of ‘mixologists’, was our tutor.
Welshman Jake knows all the tricks of the cocktail-mixing trade and was keen to impart this knowledge on his willing pupils.
In other words, he’s a guy who certainly knows his Strawberry Woo Woos from his Pretty Pretty Bang Bangs.
That’s one thing I love best about cocktails. The cheesy names. Jake asked us to choose one from a full menu of exotic-sounding drinks.
Apparently the best selling cocktail at Revolution at the moment is ‘Rum Bongo’. This sunny combination of Bacardi, Teichenné coconut, grenadine, passion fruit and pineapple juice is flying off the shelves in the hot weather.
But we dared to be different. Sharon picked a ‘Cranberry Fizz’, a low calorie drink made in a jam jar – of all things – with raspberry vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime, cranberry juice and soda.
Being a boxing fan, I plumped for the Ali-Foreman tribute known as the ‘RumBull in the Jungle’, a fruity mix of Kraken rum and Stoli Vanil vodka shaken with pineapple juice and blackberry purée, topped with cranberry Red Bull, crushed ice and garnished with pineapple and blackberries.
Jake, who came to Lancaster University to study Maths, explained the technique to cocktail-making is all in the measurements.
A drink made with too much, or too little, of a particular spirit can turn out too strong or weak.
So he advised us to squirt each ingredient into a small measuring implement called a ‘jigger’ before pouring the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
Then we had to place the shaker upside-down on top of the glass, firmly tap its bottom to secure it in place, then give the mixture a right good shake in that classic over-the-shoulder style.
There was no juggling bottles from one hand to the other or flipping glasses in the air, though. I didn’t want a bill for damages, so such extravagance was left firmly to the experts.
After shaking, the proper garnish was placed in the glass and voila! – the perfectly presented finished cocktail.
Having made the drinks ourselves, we felt a sense of accomplishment as we sipped down our cool, refreshing beverages.
We found the Revolution cocktail masterclass to be a great bonding experience for us as a couple, but is also highly recommended for bigger groups such as stag or hen parties, birthdays, or any kind of night out with friends.
And a big thanks to Jake for the lesson. Tom Cruise would be proud!
*Revolution Lancaster has now launched a range of pizzas, including the Bad Boy.
The venue is open from noon to late every night.
Revolution Propbox make its debut each Friday, plus the weekly Mega Monday, and the Industry Night every Sunday.
Revolution, Penny St, Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 1XN - tel: 01524 60851 http://www.revolution-bars.co.uk/lancaster