New Years Eve Cocktails

New Year's Eve is a big night in everyone's calendar, but some of us are left without plans after neglecting it for the whole of December whilst Christmas occupies our every thought. Cue a bottle of wine, pjs and the NYE countdown show to kick off the New Year! It sure is nice to have a quiet one sometimes but this year, why not pop out just to try some tantalising cocktails at one of Birmingham's best bars?
Ginger's Bar at Purnell’s Bistro is a glamorous, lively bar serving up quirky and original cocktails inspired by the 1930s. I love the sound of their Pink Panther cocktail - Blueberry Infused Gin, Orgeat, Lemon Juice and Pink Grapefruit - and the Old Fashioned Plum Daquiri - Appleton Estate V/X Rum, OVD Demerara Rum, Plum, Lime, Maple Syrup and Plum Bitters. If nothing on the menu takes your fancy, the professional bar staff can even make a bespoke cocktail for you. Looking for more than just cocktails? They are also offering a special 5 course meal with bellini from 6:30pm for £55 (find the menu here); paired with soulful, jazz music and they’re delicious cocktails, you're guaranteed a New Year’s Eve you’ll never forget!

For another taste of sophistication, head over to Alvar Bar at Hotel La Tour. Serving up classic cocktails such as Cosmopolitan, Daquiri, and Vodka Martini to name a few, and with prices ranging from £6.50-£8, you’ll be able to see the New Year in with style. Reserve a VIP area for £20 per person and receive complimentary nibbles, or for £85 you can dine in their Aalto Restaurant with a delicious six course meal and champagne on arrival. Entertainment is being provided by singer Adam Chandler, as well as a disco to dance your way through to midnight. [Editor's note: home of the Wilson Espresso, named after Brum Fave's very own cinema geek, Tim Wilson. Ask for it!]

If you fancy a change and want to head out of the city centre, why not go to The Rose Villa Tavern in the Jewellery Quarter? From 8pm they’re hosting a night of music, dancing and cocktails. With no entry fee all night (a rarity on New Year’s Eve!), this is the perfect night out as it leaves more money to spend on their delicious cocktails. Play it safe with a classic Mojito, try the interesting sounding Gypsy Rose Lee, or pick a selection of their quirky Shot-Tails (I like the sound of the Peanut Butter Jelly and Jam Doughnuts ones!). As an added bonus, they’re giving away a free glass of their NYE punch to anyone who wearing a tash, silly hat or crazy glasses too! Also serving food until 8pm, get here early to sample something from their new American Diner style menu, which features tasty sounding burgers and hot dogs with various tempting toppings (pulled pork is always a winner!).

If you want to start the celebrations early, then head over to The Jekyll and Hyde from 5pm for their exciting and quirky New Year's Eve Eat Me Drink Me High Tea, featuring gin tasting and gin-inspired tea party food. Alternatively, visit from 8pm for their Gin Parlour Style celebrations. Further information can be found here.

Wishing you a very happy new year!

By Taylah Catlow who can be contacted by my twitter @taylahc25 and on her blog.

Christmas Cocktails in Birmingham

With just a week to go until the big day, Christmas festivities are well and truly underway. And what better way to join in on the celebrations than with some Christmas themed cocktails at one of the many cocktail bars we have here in Birmingham?

On the 18th and 19th Island Bar are hosting "What Would Beyonce Do?", a night of stand-up comedy from Luisa Omielan, with tickets at only £10 on the door or £8 in advance. Personally I can't think of a better combination than cocktails and comedy, and I think it's guaranteed to be a fantastic sell-out night! More details and ticket info on the Island Bar website.

If you can't make this, definitely visit Island Bar over the festive period for some delicious cocktails. I can recommend their Pina Colada and Aloha cocktails which are available from their upstairs Tiki Bar on Friday and Saturday nights, making it the perfect way to start the weekend.

Over in the Colmore Business District we have the popular gin parlour The Jekyll and Hyde. Stay downstairs in Mr Hyde's Main Bar for cocktails in sweet jars (their Love Heart cocktail is to die for!), sharing cocktails in mini bathtubs, and a selection of cocktails at only £4 between 4-7pm and all day Saturday. Or head upstairs to Dr Jekyll's Gin Parlour for gin cocktails and the exciting Eat Me Drink Me Gin and Food Fusion menu. I'll be heading here before Christmas to try out their festive menu which includes Hot Buttered Rum and Gingle Bells cocktail, both flavoured with apple juice, maple syrup, butter and festive spices, and a Figgy Pudding cocktail of pear vodka, pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice, plum bitters and fig syrup. These seasonal flavours are guaranteed to take you back to your favourite Christmas memories!

Visit Bodega on Bennett's Hill and try out one of their seasonal offerings like the Fruta Festiva special for only £5 - a delicious blend of popular Christmas flavours with cinnamon, cherry, almond, orange, Olmeca Blanco tequila, apple juice and cranberry juice. And if none of the cocktails take your fancy, they're also serving up Peruvian Mulled Wine; get it here instead of the Christmas Market if you can stay out of the cold, plus you won't have to pay a deposit for your glass either!! For more info, check out their Festive menu. 

Ditch your normal Christmas Eve pub trip and head over to the Jewellery Quarter to The Church Inn who are hosting "Quizmas Eve" - a festive filled night of cocktails and a pub quiz starting at 8:30pm, and at only £1 to enter it's the perfect way to spend Christmas Eve. Have the night off from cooking too and get there early to sample their Southern American themed food menu. 

With so many venues to choose from, a Christmas cocktail bar crawl is the perfect way to celebrate the festive season with friends, family and work colleagues this year!

By Taylah Catlow - who can be contacted via Twitter @taylahc25 and on her blog

Photos: Brum Faves except 'Love Heart', Taylah Catlow.