Where are you going tonight?

Where are you going tonight? The answer I would guess depends on many factors, whether or not it is the weekend, what you like to drink, do you need to eat or are you celebrating. The list is endless but surely there is something in our city to suit your needs – or is there?

What will be the next big thing to re-invigorate our drinking culture? And how long will it be before we see the end of bland beige and brown replicas of everything that has gone before?

It is unclear where the future lies but first let us tackle the existing problem of lack of originality. Now, large chain venues have always done great work in providing a cheaper drinks and food offering for the mass market. However, these venues are suffering. This could be because their clientele base has less expendable income or, as I suspect, they are bored of the generic. On the opposite end of the scale we have many smaller independent venues that have opened over the last six months promising originality but in fact creating poorer copies of ideas seen in other cities. Thankfully some smaller venues have brought great ideas to the city and prospered, thanks to thorough research, consultancy, recruitment and training, for originality will not carry you alone.

One particular bee in my bonnet surrounds token menus, be it food or cocktails; for example surely you cannot put cos lettuce, croutons, parmesan and dressing together and call it a Caesar salad if it does not contain either lardons or anchovies or both – and as for the Cosmopolitan containing only vodka, cranberry and a squeeze of lime do not get me started. I digress.

We need venues for all different occasions and different incomes mixed with variety, but more importantly we need evolution such as the regeneration of the canals and the Bullring. Now if we can bring the dining and drinking culture up to par then we could truly be called the Second City.

Here is an original cocktail for you.

All in good Thyme Cocktail created by Ed Shawcross - The Victoria
40ml Chivas Regal Whisky
15ml White cacao
10ml Butterscotch schnapps
15ml lemon juice
1 Thyme sprig
3 dashes orange bitters

Shake and strain
Rocks Glass
Garnish with a Thyme sprig next to straw - enjoy, responsibly of course.

This article, by Julian Rose-Gibbs, GM at The Victoria, was originally published in the March edition of Brumnotes magazine.

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