Sunday, 21 October 2012
The Blind Swine and Kennedy's York Cocktail Bar Review
Cocktails are even better when they're celebratory cocktails. My friend Jayne was celebrating her birthday with drinks and dancing in York so I was quite happy to extend my cocktail research to Yorkshire.
The shindig was at Kennedy's, 1 Little Stonegate, YO1 8AX (http://www.kennedysbaryork.co.uk/). However me and my friends had a cheeky drink first in the Blind Swine, 2 Swinegate (http://theblindswine.co.uk/). It would have been the Evil Eye Lounge, 42 Swinegate, YO1 8AS (http://www.evileyelounge.com/) which is a well known cocktail haunt in York but it's a pretty small place with a long queue and I was in one of those bossy I-can't-be-bothered-to-queue and effectively forced this view onto my friends. I don't think my 'why queue when we can drink' argument took too long to bed.
The Blind Swine kind of looks like a canteen which you'd go for fuel food. We got there early and a half empty, well lit place really doesn't set the kind of atmosphere I'd like from a bar, I really don't like too bright bars, the dingier the better for me. However, despite the bland atmosphere, they did appear to have a slightly quirky side with their cocktail menu, showing an excerpt from this week's trashy magazine about the story of the woman who breastfed her dog, a sure sign it's not the kind of place who are up themselves and say 'it's all about using quality ingredients'.
I had the wonderfully named No blossoms and no moon and he's drinking sake all alone served in those glasses that look like the retro champagne saucers. Indeed there were no blossoms, I didn't take note of the moon and I was with good company but it did indeed have sake, with Lillet Rouge (a French Vermouth), sugar syrup, lemon juice and lemon verbena. Despite the lemony ingredients list, it wasn't quite as refreshing as you would expect and I think the Lillet Rouge overpowered the sake. However it helped fuel the discussion I had with my friend on the politics of who to invite to your wedding (her wedding, not mine non-existent fantasy one).
Kennedy's is awesome. I've been there on a couple of nights out when I was a faux Yorkshire lass. The first time was for a friend's hen do (awesome), the second time was when I was out with my long-term boyfriend at the time and we broke up that night (less awesome). The whole place is good looking; the design of the bar, the bar staff, everything. The music is unapologetically commercial which just makes you happy. You wouldn't expect Kennedy's to serve proper cocktails, they probably would have been fine serving standard issue drinks but it was a joy that they did.
I first tried an Apple Crumble served in a martini glass. Zubrowska vodka, Tuaca (an Italian Vanilla Citrus liqueur), lemon, apple and egg white. Despite being a fan of cocktails, I still find the concept of introducing egg whites to cocktails very odd. However, the egg white in this drink creates a lovely little froth like what you get when you have a mug of hot chocolate. With cinnamon on top it is a very lovely and spicy little drink which I immensely enjoyed.
The other drink I had was a Daddy's girl served long. Jim Beam, Amaretto (yummy yummy), raspberries, cranberries and lemonade served in a tall glass. I can see the inspiration for the name. I love raspberries in cocktails so I was sad when the raspberry flavour was completely overshot by the cranberries which I am less fond of. I can never remember if I like whiskey or not but thankfully it wasn't too overpowering or maybe it was served in a way I can manage.
Verdict. Blind Swine - I wouldn't go again. Kennedy's - definitely recommend when out in York.