Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Forum Cafe Bars
Showing posts with label Forum Cafe Bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forum Cafe Bars. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 June 2014

American Whiskey Tasting at the Broadfield

Well, well, well... here we are again. We originally hadn't thought to book onto the American night at the Broadfield, not thinking it was quite our tipple. However, after only a little bit of liquid persuasion (the Japanese whisky night!) and talk of classic American cocktails with a twist as the pairings for this night, we had our spaces reserved and our Boardwalk Empire DVD on repeat.

The evening opened with Old Fitzgerald: an 8 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. This was a good entry level whiskey, if you are after a typical bourbon. Vanilla on the nose and sticky sweet across the palate, this whiskey is bottled at 45% but is much smoother than it's Scotch counterpart. Available at around £20 per bottle, it's a dram which is completely accessible and really quite delicious.

This was accompanied by an Old Fashioned cocktail, with sugar syrup, orange peel and a dash of bitters added to the Old Fitzgerald. This was then transformed into a smoked Old Fashioned, using applewood chips and a smoke generator. The cocktail was fantastically orangey and a great twist on a classic, as well as the slightly bonkers methodology being a sign of the magic to come!
Whisky Curator at work!
We moved on to a Woodford Reserve, a bourbon with a high rye content and a heady nose full of honey, vanilla and woodiness. This literally tasted as American as apple pie - fruity, with hints of cinnamon and cereal sweetness. The toasted wood notes returned in the lingering finish.

With this was served a Manhattan, but not just any Manhattan: this one was barrel aged in a mini Kentucky toasted oak cask. For two weeks, the barrel held a Spanish sweet vermouth, before the Woodford Reserve and dry vermouth were aged in the same barrel for a further 6 weeks. The drink was completed with a splash of cognac added to the aged ingredients along with Benedictine and homemade orange bitters. Pure class. The barrel aged cocktail isn't something we've seen very often, but after sampling this one we're thinking Ed could be quite the trendsetter.

The third dram of the night was the Blanton's Special Reserve. This caught Laura's eye due to having possibly the best bottle stopper ever - it has a racehorse on it, in honour of the Kentucky Derby. Bottled at 40%, this smelled more like a Scotch than the previous two offerings of the night, with prominent spiced notes. It had a nutty flavour with a bit of a bite from citrus peel flavours and more spiciness.

Our next cocktail was a hot variation on the Mint Julep, which came poured from a proper antique teapot into a little china teacup. Just darling. Peppermint tea was delicately brewed before adding brown sugar syrup, fresh mint and bitters, along with the Blanton's. It's fair to say that this was not a favourite in the room, having a somewhat medicinal quality, but Laura loved it, and the Prohibition-style presentation was a great touch.

Up next was FEW distillery (ironically named after initials of Frances Elizabeth Willard, one of the leading figures of the temperance movement in the distillery's home city of Evanston) with their Rye Whiskey, bottled at 46.5%. The rye was prominent on the nose, along with aromas of lemongrass, ginger nuts and a hint of lavender. On the palate, you can taste that it's a young whiskey, but this is no detriment - it's a very nice tipple with a lightly herbal note. 

The cocktail pairing this time was an original take on a whiskey sour, which began simply with FEW rye whiskey, fresh lemon and sugar syrup. All straightforward so far. It was then shaken (with added flair from Ed). A honey, rosemary and elderflower foam was added to the glass before the cocktail was poured through, to produce a delicate and sweet-yet-sour delight.

Finally, we were treated to the High West Campfire. This had a more familiar seaweedy nose, with inspiration coming from a master distiller who fell in love with Islay, and so decided to create a whiskey which paid homage to the beautiful island. The whiskey is formed of 70% bourbon, 20% rye, and 10% Islay whisky, and it was an outstanding drink. Sticky sweetness and dried fruits provided the undertones to the palate, with heat and spice playing a part too. The peated whisky element made itself apparent in the finish.

A Rob Roy cocktail completed the line-up for the evening. High West was stirred down with barrel aged vermouth sugar syrup and bitters. Added to this were Martini Rosso sweet vermouth caviar pearls (yes, really!). These little jewels were created with a sweet vermouth sodium alginate, which was painstakingly dripped into a calcium bath (ooo technical).
 A vacuum and an Aerolatte were also used in there somewhere. We lost track a tad, but trust us when we say there was real chemistry in the room! 

The night as a whole was probably our favourite tasting so far. Whilst the whiskeys weren't quite as much to our taste as usual (we've not been converted away from our Scotch!), they were none-the-less great easy-drinking drams and very enjoyable. However, the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the cocktails - all five were absolutely spectacular and totally unique.


Laura & Jim

You can find out more about the cocktails at Thanks to Ed for another great evening!

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Old House, Sheffield

With an ever-excellent, seasonally changing food menu, and an always stellar (never Stella) beer selection, including local and guest ales and an array of continental lagers, The Old House, on Division Street in Sheffield, is one of the great bars run by the mini-chain of gastro pubs, Forum Cafe Bars, and our favourite of the group.

With its walls adorned with music and alcohol memorabilia - from Johnny Cash to Havana Club, from Leo Sayer to Timmermans (plus a massive Hogarth print and some Prohibition propaganda), this is a place that oozes nostalgic cool.

We've eaten here a number of times, and 9 times out of 10 we choose the pie. The pie menu changes daily, and there are always four homemade varieties on offer, including a veggie option. Unusually, tonight we both went for the same - the intriguing sounding chicken, chocolate and orange. Weird it was indeed but in a very good way - tasty, meaty, and just the right combination of bitter and sweet. Pie-lights of the past have included beef stroganoff (with tiny little pickled onions!), ham hock and cranberry, and harissa beef and kidney. The pies are excellent value at £7.95 which includes mushy peas and handmade chips.

The rest of the food menu is also worth a mention, with locally sourced produce and good old-fashioned English recipes.

Whilst the puddings looked yummy, neither of us could quite fit one in after our hearty main meal, so went instead for a beverage-based treat. Jim went for a tasty dram - the Macallan Gold - and I selected a speciality cocktail, the Whiskey and Stout Flip. Containing bourbon, dark ale, caramel and A WHOLE EGG it is smooth, sweet and utterly delicious.

As well as being a great place just to relax over a post-work drink or meal, The Old House also hosts a variety of special events, including themed evenings and gin tasting nights, which we would also highly recommend. The staff are without exception friendly and always willing to offer suggestions from the extensive menus.

The only downside on this occasion was that we didn't manage to drink enough beer to get the "Coming Soon" ale, my favourite Titanic Plum Porter, onto the bar!