Back at the beginning of November (crazy backlog of posts since going to Paris), the lovely Hannah text me to see what I was up to on the 4th November. Being free, she gladly informed me of a event happening in Sheffield in the evening, and the place was looking for bloggers to sample their Christmas menu and participate in a cocktail masterclass.
The venue was a branch of restaurants called Coast to Coast - an American restaurant and bar centered round good quality food, drinks and a good time! Now I must admit, I hadn't really heard of Coast to Coast before - I think it may have only been in passing. Sadly it seems that the Sheffield one is the only one closest to me, and after sampling all their food I have to say I'm praying for one to be opened in Nottingham!
Hannah was lovely enough to meet me from the train station and we soon headed on our way - arriving at the venue half an hour before the start time, oops. On arrival we were greeted by the lovely front of house staff, who promptly seated us near the bar (always handy in mine and Hannah's case). Ordering a Sex on the Beach cocktail, we started sipping away before the other girls arrive. Kirsty, who I'd met before at the #NorthernBloggerMeetUp, and Sarah, who I'd been talking to on twitter, arrived next and the hosts soon got the drinks underway. Next up for us to try was something from the Christmas menu; a warm apple cider with a cinammon stick plonked in the top.
I'll be the first to say here I absolutely hate cinnamon - it's far too bitter and has a aftertaste for ages that I just can't stand. However, in the case of this drink, it just somehow works. You can't really taste it and I think it blends with the apple taste quite well, making a delicious drink. I've only had cider warm once before, but this definitely beats that. It was a nice and warming flavour, truly giving off the feeling of Christmas. Hannah told us all that it reminded her of warm apple pie, and I couldn't agree more. It's one of those drinks that would be perfect after a long day of Christmas shopping out in the cold, to help you warm up and unwind.
Once a couple more people arrived, we headed over to the bar to be greeted by Andy, the mixologist (and might I say genius) behind some of the drinks on the menu. He informed us about some of the items on the menu, and what kind of inspiration went behind them all. But that wasn't the only surprise we were all in for - we were told that after he showed us all how some of them were made, we'd get a chance to give it a go ourselves. Gulp!
The first drink up was the Mimosa - I hate to say it, but this is something I've never had before! Even when I told everyone at the event they looked at me in shock - sorry guys! So Andy got to work and showed us all how simple it was to make - slicing a bit of orange skin off and trimming it down, pouring a small amount of Grand Marnier in a glass, popping in some orange juice and topping it up with some prosecco. Cutting the orange in a surprisingly simple way, he then topped off the glass with a cute little decoration. Adorable!
Then the moment of dread cropped up...who would be making it next? Thankfully I dodged a bullet and Hannah got selected, with a case of the shakes keep in mind! Hannah did well though and at the end of it managed to make a lovely glass for herself.
Next up was the traditional Christmas drink - egg nog! Now I have to say, yet another drink I've never experienced before. I know I know, I'm a let down. But the thought of a drink with egg in never appealed to me - at least not until this event! Andy showed us his own little twist on it - infusing some rum with raisins beforehand to give it more of a unique taste. Mixing the infused rum with milk, double cream, egg whites and some gorgeous gingerbread syrup he shook it all together - showing us all a few tricks and tips for us to become somewhat mixologists ourselves (well, a girl can dream). This was an absolute delight to my tastebuds and I can't wait to whip this up for myself over the coming weeks. Dorcas was actually picked to mix this one up next, and she had a great amount of confidence behind that bar let me tell you!
Last up was a Chocolate Orange martini. Seriously, put the words 'Chocolate Orange' in a sentence and my ears immediately perk up and I'm thinking of Terry's Chocolate Orange. DELICIOUS. Added to this drink was Eristoff Vodka, White Chocolate Liqueur and Cointreau. This was all shaken with chocolate bitter and chocolate syrup. Seriously, this drink is a delight to chocoholics like me (and probably dangerous too as I could have it all day and drink myself silly). Round the rim of the glass was some white chocolate flakes to make the drink a bit sweeter and give it more of a warming taste.
Cheeky 'Tom Collins' for me, don't mind if I do.
After sampling the drinks, we were then directed to two cute tables decorated all christmassy for us all, with crackers, candy canes and even cute little bags of Thorntons chocolates. First up food wise was our first two courses: Mushroom Risotto and Goats Cheese Bruschetta. My mouth is actually watering right now at the thought of these two courses. I've only ever had risotto once before and that was when my housemate cooked it for me - I thought it couldn't get any better. Boy oh boy was I wrong. I hate mushrooms but this risotto really made me think twice. The Bruschetta was amazing - I've never had it with goats cheese before, which is bizarre considering how much I love the stuff. Needless to say, it's being added to all future home bakes!
Next up was one of the main courses - the 'Maple Bacon Burger'. One of the chefs had come out to inform us a bit more about each of the dishes, and happily informed us that the bacon inside had been soaked in maple syrup for 24 hours beforehand. And boy could you tell - it tasted amazing and sweet, which isn't something you'd normally expect in a burger.
What Christmas menu preview would be complete without a traditional Christmas Dinner? The Turkey was amazing and cooked to perfection - it wasn't too dry, which is always annoying to me when it comes to Turkey. The roast potatoes were done perfectly, and there were even pigs in blankets which looked adorable!
And of course there HAS to be pudding. The girls actually laughed at me with this one - only 5 minutes before I'd complained I was too full to eat anymore, yet I wolfed down the Oreo Cookie Cheesecake. Is anyone else under the same assumption as me that there's a second stomach for puddings? No, just me? Well anyway, this tasted fantastic and was melt in your mouth delicious. I need some more of this in my life ASAP.
Finally we were directed back to the bar for our final cocktail - the snowman. This little guy is adorable and just too cute to drink in my eyes, just look at him! He's made from a mix of Eristoff Vodka, white chocolate liqueur, double cream and vanilla syrup. Then he was topped off with squirty cream to make the head, two chocolate matchmakers as arms, two mini oreos for the eyes and a little carrot as a nose. Can you say Olaf from Frozen anyone?
Afterwards we had such a mad dash back to the train station to make sure I got the last one home, we genuinely had about 5 minutes to get back. Let me tell you now, in heels it was a mission and a half! With a quick hug to Hannah I jumped on board the train, a little tipsy but thankful I made it!
I just want to say a massive thank you to Coast to Coast for hosting the event - I had a fantastic time and I'm hoping I'll be able to convince the other half to have a journey up there one day!
Have you ate at Coast to Coast before? What are your thoughts?