Six of the best romantic cocktails in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 13:36 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 19:45 12 February 2016
It's so important to keep romance in your life, especially when you're married, writes Tony Greenway. That's what my wife and I believe, anyway; so every week we take the time to go to a little restaurant we like, to make the most of the candlelight, romantic music and smoochy atmosphere. I go Wednesdays, she goes Fridays. Ha ha! Only joking, of course. (And please don't tell her I said that).
But we do enjoy a cocktail whenever we get the chance, because... well... it’s always five o’clock somewhere. Plus there’s something quite decadent about them, and something quite powerful too, like the one I tried to make at Christmas. Notice I say ‘tried.’ It’s more difficult than it looks and was so blisteringly lethal and eye-wateringly strong that I couldn’t drink it, so I added a little bit of vinegar and we used it to clean the sink and worktops instead. You should have seen the shine on the taps.
My advice: go with people who know what they’re doing and can really shake a mean drink. Also, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s best to order a cocktail with some fizz and passion, that’s been lovingly made by the experts in a high-end, glamorous setting. Go down market and the names of the cocktails can be a bit off putting and not very romantic. You know the ones I mean. They usually involve walls or beaches.
So if you want to get all flirty over a glass or two of something long and alcoholic (hold the fruit), here are my glamorous cocktail spot recommendations...
Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Bar, Leeds
If you want to enjoy a romantic cocktail in Leeds — and, no, that’s not a contradiction in terms — nip up to the Fourth Floor Bar at Harvey Nicks, which is arguably the city’s swishest (is that a proper word? It’s hard to say after you’ve had a few) and lushest (even harder to say) location. The surroundings are elegant, the menu is extensive and the bartenders — or mixologists, I believe they should be called — are quite magnificent.
The award-winning Bibis is another great cocktail spot in Leeds, with a fab art deco bar. Go for the classic champagne cocktail if you’re not driving, or a non-alcoholic one if you are — and you can even book a cocktail masterclass (ring for details).
The Queen o’t’owd Thatch, South Milford
The wonderfully named The Queen o’t’owd Thatch is, essentially, a pub but, of course, not just any old pub. The excellent menus are creative and big on local produce and the team behind the scenes strongly believes in making sure you get the right drink with your food. They’re serious about this as their awesome selection of pre-dinner, mid-dinner, post-dinner and non-alcoholic cocktails proves.
Goldsborough Hall, Goldsborough
This is a stunning romantic location — but then it was home to Princess Mary for a number of years. On the cocktail front, the hall recently added three vintage numbers to its drinks list to celebrate the return of ITV favourite, Downton Abbey. Two of the recipes feature in 1930 edition of the Savoy Cocktail Book and were originally created in honour of Princess Mary to mark her wedding day in 1922. We like the sound of the Wedding Belle which is cherry brandy, dry gin and Dubonnet mixed with orange juice; but also the aptly named Princess Mary (gin, crème de cacao, heavy cream and ice cubes) which was designed by Harry MacElhone of the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
Rudding Park, Harrogate
Never mind one of the best hotels in the UK, Rudding Park has been voted one of the best hotels in the world. This isn’t just because of the cocktails, to be honest — although if you’ve ever sampled a RP cocktail in the Clocktower bar or on the terrace (great on a summer’s night), you’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect drink in a more perfect and romantic location. Rudding Park tells me that their recommendation for a Valentine’s cocktail is their Love Pink Cocktail, which consists of fresh raspberries and raspberry vodka with a touch of Chambord... a refreshing combination to start a romantic evening. Ding and dong.
The Punch Bowl Inn, Marton-cum-Grafton
Yes, this IS a traditional and rustic village inn dating back to the 16th century, but it’s big on cocktails... so it’s a rather lovely setting in which to sip them. I asked the people at the Punch Bowl Inn for the recipe of one of their most romantic cocktails — Cosmopolitan in the Countryside. For the record this is 25ml vodka, 25ml Cointreau, 25ml Chambord, 25ml cranberry juice and the squeeze of half a lime, shaken over ice and double strained into a chilled cocktail glass. We’ll have two of those over here, please.