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Demonstration, Participation, Inebriation

Well, it's coming up to our 3rd Christmas in Deal (2017 doesn't really count as it was a blur with moving & unpacking!). The festive season is upon us and at the weekend we were invited to an evening workshop of Christmas themed cocktail making by our friend Karl - craft cocktail maker and owner of 'Cocktails in a Bottle.' This is a fairly new venture for Karl who previously owned an American style restaurant & cocktail bar on the seafront in Deal. He has now turned his hand to producing delicious hand-made cocktails in a bottle for the trade & public. Great for supplying bespoke cocktails for businesses, events & weddings. The event was hosted at Chequers Kitchen cookery school, a stunning venue in a lovely coastal location close to Sandwich Bay.

The evening kicked off with Karl telling us about his journey to 'Cocktails in a Bottle', along with a bit of history of some cocktails, plus interesting facts about ingredients & mixing. Karl is a bit of an alchemist using ingredients he forages from the coastline, such as wild fennel (first introduced by the Romans when they landed in Deal) along with his own reductions, traditional cocktail mixers & other obscure libations! It was a pleasure to listen to Karl's entertaining banter and jokes along the way and to admire his great collection of vintage style glassware, cocktail shakers & accessories. All a festive feast for the eyes.

Now I have to admit I'm not a big cocktail drinker but I am rather partial to a Margarita - my absolute favourite, so I was pleased to hear that Karl has created his 'Stormy Margarita', a tequila based cocktail with Mezcal & chilli liqueur - Mmm, memories of Mexico!

But back to Xmas cocktails in Deal... we mixed a Winter Spiced Champagne Cocktail, A Double Black Velvet, Festive Spiced Rum Punch, Milky Bar Snowball, Panettone Eggnog, Pigs in Blankets Old Fashioned, Stilton & Chocolate Martini, Mulled Negroni & Mulled Cider. All presented in pretty glasses with little additions such as a pig in a blanket (sausage & bacon), orange slices, grated nutmeg and the Milky Bar Snowball served in a mini milk bottle with a gold straw (memories of school, without the gold straw!). Everyone tried 5 cocktails each which were pre-selected and they were accompanied by scrumptious small plates of food expertly prepared by Pieter of Chequers Kitchen including pork terrine & pickles, goats cheese & chutney on toast, blinis with sour cream & smoked salmon, sweet potato fritters & stuffing wrapped in bacon, perfectly balanced carbohydrates to absorb the alcohol! I wished I hadn't eaten that toast before I went out. Needless to say the cocktails were delicious and all new taste sensations for me, and yes, we did get a taxi home.

If you are coming to stay in Deal, Karl's twist on traditional cocktails can be enjoyed at a few hot spots around town including The Astor Theatre Bar, Smugglers Record Shop, The Tap House and The Hop & Huffkin in Sandwich. The next event will be held at Chequers Kitchen on Valentines Day. Check out Karl's page on Instagram @cocktailsinabottle for all his updates!



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