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A crazy Birthday Cocktail Party in Norfolk

Weekend review, 25/01/2019 to 28/01/2019. Yup. 4 Events. 4 Days. Including a Monday!!


The weekend started for me on Friday night, I had a gin tasting for a birthday party celebrating Ash's 34th birthday party. Just a small event, just eight of them in total, that was until the daughter found out that he was having a gin tasting and so she hot footed it down from university so she could be there for the evening.

Book a Cocktail Masterclass with Steve the Barman

This was my first gin tasting of 2019, and yes, with just nine of them it was very small group, but it was a very fun group. And as it was a small group, I wanted to try something different, so for those of you who don't know, normally my gin tasting evenings consist of eight different gins, everything is tried blind...and no blindfolds, just completely blind ... as in the guests have no idea what they're drinking. So this time I rolled out ten different gins and I kind of covered the pink gin category a bit more, so we had two different styles of pink gin to discover.

The whole reason I do my gin tastings blind is because I want people to have an independent view of what they like, I want people to find out what style of gin that they love as opposed to listening to marketing hype and to pick out colourful, beautiful bottles that people are drawn to as opposed to the whole liquid inside.

Gin tasting Night with Steve the Barman

And it's the same with the tonic tasting that comes afterward. I want people to be able to taste and find a tonic that they actually like as opposed to thinking, is Fever Tree actually the best tonic?

Now on a normal gin tasting night there is no out and out clear gin winner because everyone has completely different palates and tastes but the point is not to find the winner, the point is, as I've just mentioned, everyone can find their own favourite style of gin so they know what to buy in the future. However this time out, because it was a small group of nine people, most of the group actually found their perfect gin and it was the same gin. And for the first time ever, eight of the nine people managed to pick out Fever Tree out of the blind tonic tasting. This was interesting because when I do gin nights in pubs and bars through the week, it's normally Tesco's tonic water that reigns supreme however as these were proper gin enthusiasts, Fever Tree was the tonic water that won the night, that was everyone's favourite.

The comedy moment came though on gin number three. After tasting, the hostess proclaimed, "Ugh, I don't like that, that is nothing like my favourite gin Bombay Sapphire." Guess what ... five minutes later on the reveal, she was absolutely shocked when I showed her that she's actually been drinking Bombay Sapphire for years but only just found out that she didn't really like it. Instead, she preferred Bulldog gin and Bloom gin. So that was Friday, it was based just the other side of Hitchin in a small farmhouse, lovely house, everyone was just sitting around the table.


By complete contrast, Saturday was an out and out lary birthday party. I was hired for a 50th birthday party by crazy, adorable Glynis. She hired me to serve cocktails to her and 30 odd guests. They had hired Ingoldisthorpe Hall which is just near Sandringham in Norfolk. This was a lovely, but massive house.

When I arrived they were all sitting down eating dinner in the dining room which left me free to set up in a kind of lounge...or one of the lounges I should say! Glynis had asked me to provide two cocktail trees...24 espresso martini' that was their welcome drink and then things went rapidly downhill after that.

Espresso Martini Tree's by Steve the Barman

The cocktail menu that she's chosen consisted of a Mojito, my Slow Spritz which is a combination of Sloe gin, Fever Tree clementine tonic water, lemon sugar and Prosecco, and then she had a Nice Pear which was a Spiced Rum, pear puree, pressed apple juice with lime betters and finished off with ginger beer. We obviously had the espresso martinis on the menu too and then we had a couple of fun drinks; the Jamaican Me Crazy, which is spiced rum, topped up with Ting Grapefruit soda and then crowned with a blackberry liqueur. And then we had a Raspberry Tipple which is a mixture of gin, raspberry liqueur and Double Dutch's, a brilliant cranberry and ginger tonic water and that was finished off with dehydrated strawberries.

This event was an early start for me, I was there by one o'clock and the espresso martini tree was ready for them after lunch at three o'clock. Not long after that, the songs came out, the dancing started and I was serving through til about 6pm after they'd drunk their prepaid allowance of 100 cocktails.

This was a really fun event, I dread to think the state of their heads the next morning, The funny thing was, I did get greeted by a text from Glynis on Saturday morning, at 10am... the morning of the event, to tell me to "make the cocktails strong, becasue she was Hanging. And then when I got there, I found out that she'd already started the day with three pints of Bloody Mary. Life begins at 50 they say!!!

Steve the Barman, Cocktail Bartender

Really fun event, really fun night, loads of lovely people and after I left they were just starting on their own cocktail competition where each couple had to go and make a round of cocktails for everyone else there, the winner was gonna be judged late at night to see who had the best cocktail.


Sunday night was then, by complete contrast, a very small cocktail masterclass for a hen party down in Suffolk, just near Ipswich. I was hired by Abigail, and there was just eight of them. She was the maid of honour and they were just finishing off a weekend in style. They'd hired a cottage, they were there from Friday night, they were there til Monday morning and they just wanted me to finish off the evening for them on Sunday night. And as always, the Pornstar Martini is the favourite cocktail.

This was short and sweet, this lasted about two hours, the standard cocktail masterclass where they start off with Mojitos, go on to Porn Star Martinis, and then finish off with the Bramble Cocktail. Interestingly though, they really in LOVED...the party starting shot, which was, as always, my 70% spiced rum, Tiki Fire. It went down a treat so they were proper hardcore ladies.


And then we get to my fourth event of the weekend, on Monday! This is a new hookup between myself and Claire from Splendiferous Events based down in Gerrard's Cross, just sort of near Heathrow way.

Cocktail Making Masterclass with Steve the Barman

Claire had hired me for a corporate event...I forget the name of the company...but Claire was a chef and she put on a cooking workshop for them, then once they finished that, they came through to me for a cocktail masterclass. Just a short and sweet cocktail masterclass this time, just the two cocktails. We started off with Mojitos and they finished off with Porn Star Martinis.

Claire's house was absolutely amazing. She has converted the whole downstairs into a proper professional kitchen to allow her to do these kind of cookery masterclasses. And me working alongside her to do the entertainment and the cocktails afterwards just seemed a match made in heaven. So we'll see if we get more bookings for this. My part of the Event started at about 6pm, and i was done by about 7:30pm and the guys were out of the door by about 8pm. There was a mixture of Germans, Canadians, Swiss, Americans, so it was a really fun evening.

Corporate Cocktail Masterclass with Steve the Barman

So, a really busy weekend for January, four events in four days. That has never happened to me before, this has been my busiest January on record with seven proper events, my previous record before that was four events back in 2018, so things are really taking off for me this year, cracking on with February which has, at the moment, another nine events booked in, which again beats last year, because last year, 2018, I only had three events in Feb. So really looking forward to the next few weeks. And all this despite me taking 1 whole weekend off EVERY MONTH in 2019!! Except June!

January was absolutely brilliant, but more cocktail masterclasses and hen parties to come over the next few weeks.

Cocktail Making Masterclass at home


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