Sunday, 4 November 2018

Review: Five of the Best Cocktails at Head of Steam, Cardiff

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Review: Head of Steam, Cardiff {Cardiff Food & Drink}

head of steam nice bar in cardiff for drinks

New craft ale bar Head of Steam officially opened its doors on Church Street, Cardiff, last Monday. Head of Steam have a number of bars throughout the UK, but this is their first in Wales. I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening night and as I didn't fancy a beer, I stuck to cocktails. Here's my review of five of the best on the menu.
cocktails at head of steam cardiff central

Espresso Martini (£6.95) Made with fresh espresso, the caffeine loaded, post-dinner pick me up is a drink I always go for. (Origin of the drink, if you didn't know, is that a customer at Soho Brasserie in London asked for something that would 'wake me up and f**k me up'...and so the glorious espresso martini was born). Beautifully rich and indulgent - Head of Steam use a generous shot of Absolut Vanilla in their recipe which added a touch more sweetness to this silky smooth classic.
Peanut Butter Old Fashioned (£6.95) Whisky isn’t really my thing and I haven’t much liked it in cocktails before, but I was swayed by the peanut butter element and couldn’t resist ordering one to try. Bulleit Bourbon is mixed with peanut butter syrup and angostura bitters, resulting in a very strong, interesting twist on the timeless original. Still pretty simple but with a bit of an edge, I loved this one and, surprisingly, it might have been my favourite cocktail of the night.
cocktails at head of steam cardiff central

Flaming Zombie (left - £6.95) A tart, fruity and deadly mix of dark spiced, Overproof rum and triple sec, mixed with a blend of orange and pineapple juice. The gentleman serving us with a big (probably quite flammable) beard had to take a step back as this drink, a Head of Steam showpiece, is set on fire at the end for a spectacular finish.

Pink Elephant (centre - £7.95) I feel it’s important to mention that as well as cocktails, Head of Steam have a large number of beers on offer with 45 cask and keg lines. I wasn’t really in a beer mood, but I was curious to try one of the beer-based cocktails. Three of these are on the menu and my friend went for the Pink Elephant, a contemporary spin on the Singapore Sling. Tanqueray gin, triple sec, lime and pineapple plus a splash of Belgian cherry beer. I had a few sips and thought it all came together brilliantly as a cocktail.
cocktails at head of steam cardiff central

Cherry Lollipop (£6.95) Once, before a Uni night out, I drank the majority of bottle of Lidl’s budget Amaretto before leaving the house and developed an aversion to the drink for many years. It's only recently that I've been able to stomach it again and Disaronno mixed here with Midori, lime and cranberry juice, is perfect for the festive season. A tad sickly sweet, but in the right mood I love drinks like that and the tang of the lime and cranberry adds a citrus element to it that really works.


In between all this drinking (I didn't feel too great the next day) I had a little chat with General Manager, Richard, who said "We're really excited about coming to Cardiff. There's been a lot of build up and it's been a slow burn, so it's great to be up and running. We're opening just as November internationals begin, so we're anticipating it will be busy and we can't wait to get stuck in."

What does Head of Steam have to offer that the growing new wave of craft beer bars in Cardiff don't have? "Most craft orientated bars focus on the beer and nothing else. We offer more of a hybrid, where you can go for good cocktails and even unique beer cocktails, or you can work your way through all our beers which are sourced both locally and throughout the UK. Or, you can go out for a bite to eat and get a menu that's full of variety. There's a little bit of everything."

"We're dog friendly as well and all about inclusivity. We'll have live music nights and live sport and if you haven't booked your office Christmas meal yet you're in luck - we're looking at offering the upstairs to large parties to rent out and devising drinks packages as well."


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