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8th January 2024

The British are well known for their love of a good cup of tea and a delicious slice of Victoria sponge cake. But a bar in Manchester has added an alcoholic twist to the nation’s favourite delicacy.
Panacea bar reopened its doors in March after a £900,000 revamp. The celebrity hangout is a favourite with sports personalities and soap stars, and is working on improving its cocktail menu by dubbing Thursday nights “Experimental Cocktail Club”.

Each cocktail on the list is served with a small food dish to compliment the drink. One beverage, named High Tea, is a combination of Earl Grey Tea, Southern Comfort and Beefeater Gin. It is served from a tea pot and accompanied by a slice of cake. It’s certainly a more interesting way to enjoy your afternoon tea.

When you think about it, a teapot is the perfect way to enjoy a cocktail. It is more convenient than sharing a jug between friends as there will be no fighting over who has more ice or pieces of fruit. It will keep the drink fresh for you in between pouring. It is not the first time it has been done either. Fancy a Green Tea Martini? Shake vodka, Cointreau and syrup together with your tea and then strain into the teapot ready to be served. Or perhaps you prefer your tea black? How about mixing spice rum, cranberry juice, syrup and grenadine with the tea for a Tea for Two Martini? Panacea’s version is for those who prefer their tea more Earl-like.

For those who prefer coffee, the NYPD Blue might be more appetising. Panacea’s concoction of Irish whiskey, sugar and espresso is served in a mug with a side of cream. The serving tray is completed with a dish of mini doughnuts. Perfect for the off-duty policeman, or anyone in need of a caffeine fix.

Perhaps the most exciting cocktail on the list is the Science 101. It is served in a science test bottle, complete with steaming foam. It is made with cranberry, apricot and vodka and will please all those with a sweet tooth as it comes with a sugary retro dip-dab.

And for those that need a bit of fizz to get the party started, the El Asesino will tickle your taste buds. Made with Prosecco, Tequila, pineapple and lime, the bubbly mixture is served in a beer bottle with a side of popcorn.

Sometimes the situation just calls for a cup of tea. And a shot of southern comfort.

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Bartender's top tip

A well-chosen garnish can enhance both the flavor and appearance of your cocktail. Beyond the visual appeal, garnishes like citrus twists, olives, or cocktail onions can subtly influence the overall taste profile of your drink. Practice techniques like expressing a citrus peel to release the aromatic oils over the drink, enhancing its aroma and flavor.

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