Brighton Booze News | July 2016

Our online guide dedicated to boozy news across Brighton & Hove, from interviews with master Bartenders to reviews of little known bars and much much more. Bottoms up!

Preview – Nyetimber Sky Bar
Sky Bar pic - i360
British Airways i360 and Nyetimber. Left to right – British Airways i360 chief executive Eleanor Harris, Josh Stanzl, Steven Edwards, Nyetimber head winemaker Cherie Spriggs

The i360’s new ‘Sky Bar’ will be opening soon and will possibly be the most famous bar in Brighton for a while!  To give you an idea of what it will be like to enjoy a beverage in this rather unique venue, we chatted to British Airways i360 for some info…

This one-station bar will aim to stock as much locally sourced products as possible; British Airways i360 CEO Eleanor Harris says, “Our vision for British Airways i360 is to serve the region’s best food and drink and to showcase this on an international stage to our visitors”.  The official title will be be the ‘Nyetimber Sky Bar’ as the West Sussex winemakers are the headline sponsors and will be joined by Harvey’s Ale and Wobblegate juices as the confirmed list of brands on offer.  “We are delighted to be entering into a partnership with British Airways i360. Like our award-winning English sparkling wine, this exciting new addition to Sussex will no doubt be celebrated on a national and international level” says Nyetimber head winemaker Cherie Spriggs. 

Spirit and mixers are yet to be confirmed and polycarbonate glasses will be the vessel of choice, but understandably (at 138meters up!) the public will not be allowed to BYO with regards to booze! 

As well as a fridge and a healthy ice supply, the cablecar will also have a sophisticated climate control system, meaning your Harveys Best or Nyetimber Classic Cuvee will remain at sufficient temperature in the World’s tallest moving observation tower! However, according to Brighton University, the difference in atmospheric pressure will even alter your tastebuds! “The increase of ‘fizz’ when drinking the Champagne at high altitude will decrease the perceived acidity of the drink and increase the numbness of your tongue, effectively making it more refreshing tasting.”  So the higher up you drink your English sparkling wine, the more expensive it’ll feel – brilliant!

Below Brighton’s most peculiar Bar, ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ Winner Steven Edwards will be creating signature dishes with business partner Josh Stanzl; working with catering firm Heritage Portfolio.  There will also be a 400 seat Restaurant at ground level called The Belle Vue, Brighton and, interestingly, a licensed cafe called The West Pier Tea Room, which is set inside an old West Pier toll booth, reconstructed using old Victorian building techniques.

As mixed opinions surround the wheel ‘rolling’ into town and this new attraction dominating the skyline, one can’t help but get excited to see the first ascents of this undeniably impressive ‘watering hole’! Cue selfies…

Review – Arbikie Cocktail Competition at The Plotting Parlour


It’s nice being tucked away down in the bottom corner of the country – we have the beach, we’re surrounded by Sussex’s fertile soil and we get the best sunsets! Equally, being tucked away in the very top corner of the UK has it’s benefits too and nothing’s nicer than sharing those feelings over a drink when one visits the other.  This happened recently when a small Scottish spirits company descended on Brighton’s shores, with the idea of celebrating North visiting South, by throwing down a challenge to bartenders to create a cocktail using their fine selection of beverages – and boy were there some interesting drinks being served!

Arbikie Highland Spirits, one of the few companies to use homegrown Juniper berries to create their award winning Kelp and Blaeberry Gin (yes; ‘blae‘berry!), came to Brighton in the hope of launching their range of tipples on the South coast.  Choosing The Plotting Parlour as their chosen stage to start, Arbikie’s David Stirling and Alex Forsyth invited bartenders from some of Brighton’s most creative bars to cruise along and mix up a drink using their brand.  Bartenders from likes of The Cocktail Shack, Bar Valentino and The Mixology Group were all there to, not just represent and learn about their products, which included the Kelp Gin AKA ‘Kirsty’s Gin’, Potato Vodka and their famous Chilli Vodka, but also battle it out to show the Northerners what us Southern fairies can do!

The seaside was an obvious theme throughout as most competitors reached for the kelp Gin. Samphire was creatively used in a two of the drinks – one as a garnish and the other to enhance the Arbikie Gin in an infusion. Cucumber, Chartreuse and ‘Kümmel’ cumin liqueur also made appearances.  But it was the baking skills of Plotting Parlour ‘s new bartender Nathan Bayfield that took the biscuit at the end of the day, serving his drink with a whole slice of home made blueberry pie (yes; BLUEberry this time!) and a foam based on the ingredients of his cocktail; Arbikie Gin, lemon juice, Fernet Branca, Asparagus puree and a home made Asparagus and ginger syrup! Left stunned at the flavour combinations and sheer thought gone into his creation, the judges awarded Nathan the title, doing his new team proud on their home turf!

The event was a complete success and the bartenders all walked away with a bottle each to recognise the effort that had gone into everyone’s drink.  Check out all the recipes and photos on ABV Media’s Facebook page – Many thanks go to David and Alex from Arbikie for coming down and the awesome staff at Plotting Parlour for hosting yet another triumph for the bar world here in the BN1 postcode! Slàinte!


Preview – The Brighton Bar Awards

BNBA awards2

Last year, Merkaba; the cocktail bar in Brighton’s My Hotel on Jubilee St., hosted a new kind of event that celebrated not just drinking establishments, but the people who make them what they are.  Now, after popular demand, it’s back and looking set to become the annual get-together of the year for all the Bartenders, Managers, shakers, stirrers, pint-pullers, latte-frothers and even the patrons!

Now in it’s 2nd year, The Brighton Bar Awards is aiming to inspire more bar staff to take the job seriously in order for this great beachside town to reach it’s potential as one of the best drinking destinations in Europe (or whatever we call ourselves now!) and if not, the world!  Freely organised by the Facebook group, The Brighton Bartenders Association, or BNBA for short, this event rewards and recognises the individuals that take the job of running a bar to the highest level.  “The sheer passion and professionalism that these people demonstrate on a day-to-day basis separates their job from all the other lines of work out there.  It starts as a temporary job, but then becomes your life.” explains Myles Cunliffe, founder of the BNBA. “There’s a never-ending journey with food & drink and immersing yourself in the industry opens up a whole new world – that’s what we want to encourage more bar staff to do with the awards!”

With a plethora of around 20 different catagories, (some serious, some not so serious!) the Bar Awards is not the only event of it’s kind in the UK. Event co-ordinater Matt Simmons says, “London, Bristol and Manchester have similar events that ‘give back’ to the bartending community.  None of which, however, have such a diverse range of bars though. The North Laine and The Lanes in particular are what separate Brighton & Hove from any other city in the country – some have said that Brighton has more Bars, Restaurants and Cafes [per square meter] than anywhere in Europe!”  Either way, this looks fantastic!  Happening this year on Sunday 11th September, with both local and international sponsors, the Brighton Bar Awards appears poised to rock the world of award ceremonies and send a healthy amount of our city’s favourite bar staff home with a whole heap of prizes and memories. For more information and to vote, visit the BNBA facebook group or email Matt on

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This article was created by ABV Media, dedicated video production experts for the drinks industry.

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