Cocktail Gift Shop

Whenever I have passed by the Cocktail Gift Shop on Steep Hill I have found closed. A pop-up shop for Christmas?

Having missed the Walk and Ride, I walked up Steep Hill, and to my surprise I found the cocktail shop open.

Out of curiosity, I popped in. I also had a reason to pop in, I wanted a cocktail shaker.

Girl behind the counter helpful and knowledgeable but the shop a joke. A cocktail shop but no cocktail shaker. OK they did have a cocktail shaker but it was cheap crap. It was of the quality would expect to find in Lakeland or Wilkinsons not in a specialist cocktail shop.

Agave syrup? Er no.

In Grind, the point is made, require quality ingredients. Then particular emphasis on cocktails.

We’d had Espresso Martinis before – they’re a classic – but back then we didn’t realize how many corners were being cut in making them, even in the best places. You see, keeping a proper coffee machine clean and running is a lot of work, and even with the best intentions, standards can slip. After Espresso Martinis were invented in the ’90s, bars first tried using bottled espresso – a pretty miserable fate for coffee. Before long, all sorts of grisly concoctions of E-number flavourings and preservatives were being used. So by the time 2011 came around, even the places we had trusted for a good drink were serving something a far throw from what we imagine genius bartender Dick Bradsell had invented all those years ago. But we didn’t know any of that yet.

What am I getting in a botte of ready made cocktails? An espresso martini requires fresh made espresso, not crap out of a bottle.

Is not half the fun making ones own?

To say the least, the shop is an embarrassment.

I checked out the website for the cocktail shop. Not much help, lots of pretty pictures, that went nowhere, no information. The same true of their Instagram account, a rather sad pathetic looking espresso martini, no information on contents.

I then tried a sister site, Cocktail Delivery, minimal information on content, barely legal, if legal.

  • premium Russian vodka
  • Kahlúa rum coffee flavoured liquor
  • blended coffee
  • sugar syrup

Nothing to tell me what any of these contents actually are, or the percentages. What Russian vodka?

Coffee flavoured liquor (note flavoured not coffee liquor).  A professional would use Mr Black or make their own.

I have not the faintest idea what is blended coffee. Could be anything. Could be Nescafe.

Sugar syrup, no mention of ratio of sugar to water.

What is shipped is described as an espresso martini kit. It is not. A kit would be individual measures, with instructions on how to make. Contrast with for example a recipe box from Riverford, includes ingredients (including spices), instructions (assumes have the necessary pots and pans). What is supplied by the cocktail shop is a bottle to be emptied, this is akin to a ready meal that pop into the oven. What it is not is a cocktail kit.

A video the making of espresso martini has to be the worst cocktail video I have encountered. It appears to be a video of two parts. The first part the how, only no explanation, no description of the ingredients,  the second emptying the contents of a bottle.

Chocolate on an espresso martini. Yuk. Even worse, poor quality industrial chocolate from Cadbury’s. How to destroy a cappuccino, dump chocolate on top. And would not use chocolate, would use cacao . What does this say of the quality of ingredients used in the espresso martini?

When think not possible, it gets worse.

Only three reviews on Google Maps. And guess what, one of the three, a 5* review, none other than Jim Claffey co-owner of the shop. And it gets worse. Another 5* review, the only review, is of Cocktail Delivery, for which the cocktail shop is a front, which Jim Claffey also happens to own.

The embarrassment does not end there. A scribbler for The Lincolnite wrote a glowing article about the gift shop (reads like paid for promotion). A picture to accompany the article had the caption ‘The Cocktail Gift Shop in Lincoln’s Bailgate’, the picture shows the shop on Steep Hill. Was the scribbler plied with so many cocktails he did not know where he was?  [see New cocktail gift shop opens in Lincoln Bailgate]

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