Naming their new cocktail menu ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World Edition’, Jake’s Bar have certainly set colossal expectations for their latest offering of cocktail delights. And while I wouldn’t say an evening of drinks at their underground bar compares to walking the Great Wall of China, there is no denying that the Jake’s team have pulled out all the stops to transform their bar and still room into the ultimate cocktail experience.
For launch night, Jake’s Bar (situated next to the Corn Exchange) was transformed into a cosy speakeasy den, with candles lining the floors and glowing on every surface. The bar boasts a staggering array of bottles and vials, which the bar team dressed in dapper waistcoats and bow ties navigated with expert ease. With the prohibition themed prints on the wall, it was easy to imagine yourself in 1920s New York, rather than Leeds city centre.
Jake’s pride themselves on their dedication to hand crafting authentic and detailed drinks, even producing their own spirits in their still room, using ‘Tabitha’ the copper pot still to make sweet vermouth and coffee liqueur. On arrival we were greeted with a Pink 75, a modern twist on the classic French 75 containing gin, Chambord and Prosecco, in a glass rimmed with pure sugar. It was the perfect combination of sugary sweetness and a sharp citrus kick.
The Rhubarb Rumbullion, a mixture of rum, lime, sugar and homemade rhubarb jam was cordially fruity. While the Peach Cobbler, one of the stronger drinks on the menu, blended 1840 Pierre Ferrand cognac, peach liqueur, lemon juice and almond syrup to create a sharply strong taste, perhaps for the hardier drinker.
The bar team explained in detail the conception and inspiration behind each drink, and the origins of the ingredients used. For example, in the Clover Shrub, Jake’s make their own raspberry and thyme shrub (a kind of vinegar-based syrup) which they mix with quince gin, strawberry vermouth and lemon juice, to create an enticing fruity concoction.
By far my favourite drink of the night was the Vanilla Laika (named after the first dog in space, because it’s ‘out of this world’), which used Absolut Vanilla vodka, blackberry liqueur, apple and lemon juice. Imitating the exact same taste as a Drumstick lollipop it was highly addictive and went down the easiest of all of the cocktails sampled.
Cocktails are not the only thing Jake’s Bar excel at, they also do a superb steak frites covered in peppercorn sauce. The perfect cocktail accompaniment, and an ideal way to slow down the dizzying effects of so much alcohol.
Jake’s bar may not be the most student friendly in terms of its prices; with all cocktails costing £7.50-£8. But the high quality of their drinks are well worth the few extra pounds, making it the perfect place if you fancy a liquored up night away from the usual Fresher’s debauchery.
Featured image from leeds-list.com.