I’ve been to a few of the Grand Unions in London so far, and every time, my very first thought is.. COCKTAILS! They simply do bloody great value cocktails – each with their own unique twist. And with enough space and private areas you can pre-book, it’s a great venue for a get together or party.
So when I was invited to check out the new summer cocktail menu, of course I jumped at the chance.
Here’s the stats:
- 44 cocktails on the total menu
- 12 brand new for summer 2014
- 8 locations around London – with a view to heading East (heard it here first!)
- 4 hours worth of “happy hours” DAILY, where all cocktails are just £5
- 1 Grand Union bar manager, Steve, created the whole menu – so lovely to hear that it’s all kept in house
Now on to the cocktails, we tried many throughout the evening but I still managed to whittle down my favourites. Here I present to you, That Girl’s top three:
FIRST PLACE – Peanut Butter Punch – £8 (£5 if ordered from 4-8pm – “happy hour”)
Imagine a Reeses peanut butter cup mixed with a creamy vanilla milkshake (plus a little alcoholic kick), and there you have it. Served in a mini milk bottle with a straw, this pint sized pocket rocket is a sure fire winner. There was no contest! A peanut butter flavoured rum cocktail with crunchy chunks of real crushed peanuts sitting on a base of vanilla liquor 43. It is pretty creamy and rich though, so best to bear in mind!
If you like the sound of this, then you’re sure to love the “Ice Cream Dream” and “Jager Shake” – other takes on this cocktail but with different flavourings added
SECOND PLACE – Fire-ita (£5 if ordered from 4-8pm – “happy hour”)
Possibly one of the very first savoury cocktails that I’ve tried. Rather like a pickle back, this cocktail uses pickle juice, cajun spice and chilli flakes to mix with tequila gold and a dash of lime. It’s an acquired taste, but a certain must try. Despite it’s name, I didn’t find it too hot too handle. The sweet and spicy flavour works great combined with the sour taste of the pickle – an unusual alternative to it’s Margherita cousin!
THIRD PLACE – The Bleating Heart (£25)
Want to impress your friends? This cocktail combo is the one for you. Third place purely because the previous two cocktails were so exceptional on taste but this gets a serious thumbs up for it’s good looks and uniqueness. Particularly enjoyed the nod to it’s heritage from the “Caiprioska” – a caprinhina with vodka base – on the menu. Think a tall bottle, brightly coloured, easily quaffable amongst four friends sharer that is served together with a REAL GOAT’S SKULL! Yes plus points for novelty factor. It uses Stoli Karamel as a base with thai influences; lemon grass and sweet chilli for the finish. Personally, I thought I tasted cranberry juice in there somewhere, but this was the final cocktail out of eight that we’d tried that evening. You sure get your money’s worth for £25 and a bag of snaps for Facebook to boot!
SPECIAL MENTIONS – Bottled Fennel Sazerac (£5 if ordered from 4-8pm – “happy hour”)
For pure class and also pure alcohol content, this short tipple will knock your socks off. The fennel was very much apparent and clearly laced throughout the Jim Beam. If anything was to be served over ice then it was certainly this cocktail – surprisingly refreshing despite the strength. For the discerning whisky drinkers out there, this will be a welcome addition, for me, it was a little on the strong side to start off with; I’d consider it a top notch night cap.
How could I forget? The food is epic too! Think slider burgers, nachos, chicken wings – just great sharing food with friends.