In these misty November days it's a tough thing to convince most of us to withdraw from the warmth of our cosy homes and out into the night, but on this fine evening nothing was stopping the lovely Leeds yelpers from getting fully into the spirit of things. It may have been the night the Christmas lights were switched on, by Shane Ward no less, but nothing was to get in the way of these fabulous folk and their fun.
The gorgeous tasting room, upstairs at Gerry's and our fabulous host for the evening, Chris M!
Tyler K and Amy P pointing towards the drinks selection in anticipation...
Wrapped up in their winter wear, folks arrived promptly at 7pm to the spectacular wine and spirit specialists, Gerry's of New Briggate, to get stuck straight in. There was no messing about as Chris M dished out some delicious cocktails for everyone, whilst they settled in and got nattering.
Chris M pouring the freshly made cocktails whilst everyone grabs a seat.
Without further ado, the sampling commenced as Chris M introduced yelpers to a world of new spirits. The night kicked off with classic vodkas, as everyone learned about how it can be made (with virtually anything that makes starch, don't 'cha know) and the sipping – and in some cases gulping – began. First off the mark was Chase vodka, delightfully smooth and incredibly drinkable vodka, followed shortly after by a sampling of Fair Vodka – one of the world's Fairtrade vodkas. Both can be just as delightful used as mixers but here at Gerry's things were straight up and to the point.
Amy P enjoying her cocktail and Ryan W awaiting the next sample!
Tyler K handed out the tasters as Susan M considered her latest sample.
As yelpers made their way through the next installments, playing the passing back game as the tipples were shared out, our amazing host talked everyone through both the history of the products and the distillery processes involved in creating them. Following the vodkas came an introduction to gin, the aromatic Blackwoods Vintage gin and the delightful Bulldog gin, both full of flavour and delicately infused, and finally the smooth Gran Centinario Anejo and delicious Herradura Reposado tequilas. Yelpers discovered that not only can tequila only be made in Mexico but it can be so much more than just a courageous shot, as they got their lips round the sumptuous samples.
Everyone got a bit giggly as the samples started flowing!
Stuart C and Leanne B awaiting the next sample from Chris M.
Matt R and Nikolai C getting their taste buds a-sampling!
After a short break in between the tastings, to fuel up on a delightful spread of crackers, cheese and grapes, everyone got chatting away, giddy as anything, before the last session ensued. To finish off the night everyone tasted their way through two delicious rums XM Royal and Santa Teresa Anejo Rum and, as a grand finalé, some good ol' whiskey. Much to some of the hardened Scotch-drinkers' surprise a decent blend can go a long way –Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt in particular! And of course, to polish the evening nicely, a Gentleman Jack Tennessee Sour Mash was handed out for the send off.
Shout out to Laura J, Ste C, Carla D and Mark E!
As a final feature of the event everyone had a wee nosy at the impressive display of drinks on offer in the shop downstairs, many noting a number of tipples as Christmas looms, and then it was off to Sela Bar next door for the unofficial after party. As if that wasn't enough good cheer, people piled into the downstairs venue for one last long kiss good-night-cap before heading off home, full of warmth and good spirit-s.
A huge thanks goes out to the fabulous Chris M, and Gerry's, for fueling all with spirit-flavoured-knowledge, all of the fantastic staff involved, Matthew for his wonderful photography and of course everyone who came and got stuck in. What an immense night!
Don't just take my word for it though, read the reviews and check out the Flickr for all the details! That's all for now so until next time catch you on t' interweb, Yelp style, soon!