Browns and Chase Distillery show us how it’s done
We at Fed Up & Drunk love Browns – its setting at the top of Park Street and lovely al fresco terrace, not to mention its sumptuous decor, mean that it’s a real Bristol institution. The range of menus is broad enough that they can ably cater for you whatever the occasion. Whether you’re looking for a Sunday roast, celebratory afternoon tea, a slap-up lobster dinner or casual lunch, Browns is the place to be. It’s not just about food though; Browns has garnered a fan base amongst Bristol’s thirsty crowd too, and the superb cocktails go down particularly well.
When the brains behind Chase Distillery decided they wanted to run drinks masterclasses, Browns was an obvious choice for a perfect partnership. The sophistication of the Browns name, teamed with the splendour of Bristol’s Park Street location, is the perfect fit for a fabulously classy British brand like Chase.
As we got settled in at the elegant bar, we enjoyed a British Bramble, made with Chase GB Gin, Chase sloe and mulberry gin and fresh lemon juice, while our bartender Mike introduced the masterclass. We were asked to choose two cocktails to make, one from the Classics part of the menu, and one of the Browns Creations – it was all very exciting.
I was put to work right away mixing my Long Island Iced Tea, which calls for, quite frankly, an obscene amount of booze for a Wednesday evening. The modifiers (the bits that make a cocktail a cocktail rather than just a glass of spirits) take all of the sharpness out of the drink though, so it’s as refreshing and smooth as a glass of iced tea – it’s one of my favourites in summer.
Next up, I chose the British Royal from the Browns Creations list. This features Black Cow vodka (did you know that vodka can be made from milk?), rosehip and rhubarb cordial and cloudy apple juice, all topped off with lovely Prosecco. I’m not exaggerating when I say that, to me, this was heaven in a glass. The Mr Fitzpatrick’s cordial was so delicious that as soon as I got home I ordered a few bottles for my wedding bar (I’m eyeing up the full Chase range too).
In between the drinks we were served a few platters to keep hunger at bay (soakage, as I’d call it). The platters included fries, pigs in blankets, chicken wings and all sorts of other tasty treats. Nothing was too much trouble for the charming Browns staff, and we were looked after incredibly well. There were only six of us when we visited, which worked really well, but I could easily see larger groups of about 12 having a great time too – calling all maids of honour: this is the perfect activity for a hen do.
When the opportunity arose to pop along to Browns and sample some cocktails, I graciously offered to accompany Hannah on such an outing.
Perched at the bar, our evening began with an introduction to the equipment we would be utilising. Muddlers, strainers and a whole host of different glasses were presented to us, as was a delicious British Bramble.
After selecting the cocktails we wanted to make, I got to work beside Hannah, building myself a Rose Garden. In went Hendrick’s Gin, rosehip and rhubarb syrup, violet liqueur (which smelled just like Parma Violet sweets), and a squeeze of lemon juice. The result was a wonderfully fragrant drink, which contrasted nicely with the salty platter that shortly followed.
Sufficiently fed, we returned to our bar stools for our final cocktail. From the list of Brown’s own creations I chose the Cosmo, which had been adapted to include ginger. As we sipped our final creations, our host for the evening, Mike, explained that if we wished to finish our experience with a two-course meal in the restaurant area, it would cost £36, or £40 to add an extra third course. For multiple tipples, an exciting experience behind the bar and a wonderful meal, this really is a great deal.