The Jailbird Cocktail Masterclass Review

The Jailbird is Birmingham’s New York seafood & steak restaurant and cocktail lounge. Situated facing onto the beautiful Victoria Square, this cool establishment is the latest offering from the awesome Lasan Group (some will remember the previous venue ‘Nosh & Quaff’).

Sensibly, the restaurant is upstairs, and the cocktail lounge takes up the ground floor. Myself and a friend tried the food when the restaurant had first opened and we were extremely impressed, the steaks looked incredible too but not within our budget that particular night.

Decor is New York inspired, with a strong Victorian presence, featuring a stylish almost Art Deco industrial feel. You could be in Paris, Milan or New York such is the attention to detail of the interior – staff look the part too!

We were invited to a cocktail masterclass, which was timed with the England v Belgium World Cup game. Thankfully, for me the game was thoughtfully shown on a large screen, so quick glances up whilst sipping amazing cocktails was the theme for the night – what more could I ask for?

Cocktails are big business in the second city these days and you have to offer something really special to stand out from the crowd, the Jailbird certainly ticks all the right boxes for style and decor, but what about the drinks? So often it’s style over substance these days without naming names (big chains are so disappointing).

We were greeted by the affable Paul Fulford who had helped curate the event, and the humble (supervisor) Mario, who would be hosting the class.

Mario came across as confident and professional, I felt he showed passion and answered any questions with a depth of knowledge that was backed up with some superb cocktail creations.

Mario prepared three cocktails for us to sample, all of which are more traditional, stylish and perfect accompaniment to their opulent setting.

25ml brokers Gin
25ml Campari
25ml casa marton sweet vermouth

Old fashioned:
50ML  Evan Williams straight bourbon
2 dash angostura bitter
10ml sugar syrup

Espresso martini:
37.5ml absolut vanilla vodka
25 ml tisolini express
12.5ml vanilla syrup
60ml fresh brewed coffee

Mario’s concoctions were perfectly palatable, refreshing, subtle and moreish, with time taken to ensure all were prepared with equal measure.

The trick I find with cocktails, is to maintain consistency, so often you can order the same drink twice, yet it tastes different somehow. I think with Mario, he is so passionate and pays great attention to detail, I cannot see the standard dropping over the Jailbird bar.

My personal fave, the Espresso Martini, which is up there with the best I have tried on my travels around cocktail culture. Apparently the coffee used is essential for a superior taste, just one of many tips I picked up that night.

The entire evening was carried off with a relaxed yet competent approach by the Jailbird bar team, thanks to all who made it a great night, shame about the England result but we’re through anyway!

Look out Brum, a new Cocktail kid is on the block!

Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham