Artigiano's Cocktail Tasting

Thursday 23 June 2016

Photograph of the Artigiano's event aread

A couple of weeks ago an email landed in my inbox regarding a cocktails tasting event at Artigiano's in Reading. At first I was a little unsure about going as I have been sober for a year and a half now. Then it struck me that this would be the perfect event for myself and Lisa from United Cakedom to meet up after having not seen each other for a good few weeks, thankfully she was available so the plans were set in motion... Artigiano's is a speciality coffee shop during the day, and a really great cocktail bar by night, they also serve freshly baked artisan food, and very regularly have live music available in the evenings, making it the perfect place to go and chill with friends over a refreshing cocktail.

Photograph of our own personal cocktail bar for the evening
Our own personal cocktail bar...
When we arrived we were greeted by the lovely PR who organised the event, Heidi, who told us a little about what she does for the brand, and also about their other locations. We were also offered a drink to get us started, so I asked for a mocktail to be mixed up for me as I wasn't planning to drink. Once everyone arrived we were introduced to our mixologists for the evening, and taken through the cocktails that we would be sampling.

Photo of Artigiano cocktails being made
Shaking up that cocktail goodness!
One by one the cocktails were made for us, and as well as getting to watch them being made right before our eyes, we were also taken through each step of making them. Thankfully we didn't have to take notes though as we were given the recipes printed out with pictures so that we can easily recreate them ourselves at home, which I thought was really nice of them!

Photograph of the Artigianos cocktails that we got to taste
All of the cocktails!
Pictured above you can see all of the cocktails that we were lucky enough to be able to taste, it was a nice mix of different flavours, and different alcohols. As you may have been able to guess from what I said above, I wasn't planning on drinking any of these, but as they were made right in front of me I was fascinated, so decided to have one small sip of each cocktail, just so that I could give a decent opinion on them. So let's go through them one by one, starting with the cocktail on the far left, 'Arti's Espresso Martini'.

Photograph of the Arti's Espresso Martini
Arti's Espresso Martini
Arti's Espresso Martini:

This Martini actually only has three ingredients (not including the coffee bean garnish), so is really simple to replicate, but you of course be needing a cocktail shaker for most of these recipes, but I believe you can pick them up in most supermarkets fairly cheaply!

This cocktails includes: 25ml Kirov Vodka, 25ml Kahula, and a double Espresso. This is shaken for a few minutes with ice so that it becomes frothy, then strained into the glass carefully. There was a bit of a trick to making this one as if you just pour it into the glass you don't get the foam on top. You have to continue to wiggle the shaker when pouring so that the foam comes out first. To finish this cocktail you simply float some coffee beans on top of the foam, and you are done!

I can't say I had ever drank a Martini before this event, and I got to try two, and of the two this one was my favourite because it was just like drinking a coffee, although the consistency kind of reminded me of Bailey's.

Photograph of Artigiano's Porn Star Martini
Porn Star Martini
Porn Star Martini:

This cocktail comes with a little something extra on the side, a small shot of Prosecco we were advised by the experts that it's meant to be drank alongside the cocktail, sipping between the two for the best taste.

This particular Martini includes: 50ml Stoli Vanilla Vodka, 50ml Pineapple Juice, 12.5ml Passoa, 12.5ml Prosecco, 1/2 a passion fruit for garnish.

Add all ingredients except the garnish and Prosecco into the shaker with ice and shake for a few minutes. This is another cocktail where you need to build up the foam, as you need to be able to float the passion fruit in this, so shake it for longer than you think. Strain into the glass, shaking as you do so, this will help the foam come into the glass first. Garnish with the passion fruit, and pour the shot of Prosecco to go alongside.

This was the second ever Martini that I had ever tried, and it was very sweet, I could easily have drank the entire glass, must say though I'm not a great fan of Prosecco, so I probably wouldn't order this one again.

Photograph of the Artigiano's Bramble Cocktail
Bramble Cocktail
Bramble Cocktail:

Bramble was the smallest cocktail of the bunch, and looks perfect for a summer BBQ.

The ingredients for this cute little guy are: 37.5ml Belgravia Gin, 12.5 Lemon Juice, 12.5ml Créme De Cassis, 12.5ml Sugar Syrup, and 3 Blackberries for garnish. All of the ingredients except the Creme De Cassis and garnish go into the shaker this time. This cocktail has no foam requirement so this one can be shaken for much less time then the previous two. Add crushed ice to your tumbler before straining the mixture into the glass. Then pour the Créme De Cassis at the edge of the glass so that you get a beautiful looking gradient. Skewer your blackberries onto a toothpick or something similar, and then garnish the drink with them.

This cocktail looks so refreshing and cooling, which it totally is, but it also packs a big punch in the alcohol department, so don't let it's appearance fool you!

Photograph of the Classic Margarita
Classic Margarita
Classic Margarita:

I must admit that I have tried Margarita's before, and I'm not a big fan, they are just so sharp and salty and I don't understand it.

If unlike me you like Margarita's then here is what you need: 37.5ml Don Cruzado Tequila, 25ml Triple Sec, 125ml Lime Juice, Lime Slice, Cooking Salt. Start by wetting the rim of your glass and then dip it in salt so you get an awesome looking salt rim. Then put all the ingredients except the lime slice in your shaker and give them a good shake to mix. Pour into your glass, and then carefully float the slice of lime in the drink.

As I predicted this was my least favourite of the entire bunch, it is so sharp and salty, and just confuses the hell out of me, but I guess as Margarita's go it was pretty good, I'm not the best person to judge this one.

Photograph of Artigiano's Cointreau Fizz Tea
Cointreau Fizz Tea
Cointreau Fizz Tea:

The most intriguing of all the cocktails, this one involves tea, something which I rarely drink, but definitely made this cocktail memorable for me.

Ingredients for this guy are as follows: 50ml Cointreau, 1 peppermint teabag, 25ml Lime Juice, 1/4 Lime Wedge, Sparkling Water. This is the only one of these cocktails that doesn't involve a shaker, so it's even easier to replicate. Pour the lime juice and Cointreau into your glass and throw in the tea bag. Mix it together real quick. Then leaving the tea bag in the glass top up the glass with ice, followed by sparkling water, and you've got yourself a cocktail.

This was my favourite cocktail by far, it was refreshing, and fruity, and didn't even taste like it had alcohol in it, I could have easily downed the entire thing, but I didn't... The above five are just a few of the many cocktails they serve at Artigiano's which are priced at £8 or two for £12. Having had a look at the menu here are a couple of the others that intrigued me:
  • Zombie: White, Spiced and Dark Rum, Brandy, Pineapple juice, fresh orange, grenadine and a mint garnish.
  • Long Island Ice Tea: Gin, Tequila, Vodka, White Rum, Triple Sec, Coca Cola and Lime.
  • Mint Julep:  Bourbon, Sugar Syrup, Mint and aromatic bitters, and a mint garnish.

Photograph of myself and Lisa trying out mixology
Becoming Mixologists!
After we were taken through all of the cocktails we got a chance to make our favourite we had seen. Lisa went for the Porn Star Martini as she was fine to carry on drinking, but seeing as I am supposed to be teetotal, I asked to make a mocktail. This involved cranberry and lime juice in the glass, which was then topped up with lemonade, and garnished with a lime slice, this was both sharp and sweet, and seriously refreshing, so I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Photograph of the pizza's from Artigiano's
Pizza time!
After getting everyone suitably tipsy (apart from me as I only had sips), Artigiano's kindly laid out some Pizza for us to eat, and to soak up all that alcohol. These were some of the best pizza's I had ever eaten. I ate the majority of the Margherita style pizza, which had a sauce almost like a salsa, and had red peppers, it was so delicious, but they also had pizza with olives on, which Lisa absolutely loved.

Photograph of the goodie bag given to us by Artigiano's
Goodie Bag!
Towards the end of the evening we were handed a goodie bag which had everything we needed inside to make a cheeky Gin and Tonic, including a really cute glass, in my favourite colour! There was also a craft beer which I gave to Tim which he seemed to enjoy and a small package containing some of their coffee beans, which if I had a coffee grinder I would probably get better use of. I guess I could use them in baking? We'll have to see...

I have to say a massive thank you to Artigiano's in Reading for hosting us and being so gracious, it was a great evening I would definitely recommend you head over and check them out, you can find them opposite the Broadstreet Mall pretty much on the corner of the highstreet. Also I couldn't leave this post without thanking Lisa from United Cakedom for letting me drag her along, and also for being an amazing friend, so go and check out her blog too.

***Disclaimer: I was given a goodie bag and free food and drinks at the event, however all opinions within this post are my own.
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