Passing through town today for work (a spot of research at a vineyard which you’ll hear about later), I thought it would be rude not to sample the delights of Shrewsbury Cocktail Week. Running until the 11th September, you’ve still got time to head on over to the myriad of bars taking part and access their secret menus.
I like The Alb. I like it a lot. And I’d never heard of the place before lunchtime today. A little digging tells me that the Albert Hotel was founded in 1804, and has continued to grow and evolve into its present incarnation. Including dropping a few letters from the name, which is cute. The hotel I can’t tell you about. But the cocktail menu I certainly can.
I can’t share the menu with you, because that is for Shrewsbury Cocktail Week wristband holders only. But I guess it’s OK to share the drink I picked because otherwise, this won’t be much of a post. The laidback bar and restaurant offers a warm greeting and expert bartenders. It’s cool, without being too cool and therefore intimidating. The Pappy Honeysuckle was my drink of choice, made in a matter of moments. It blends Jameson Irish Whiskey with apple, honey and a little Sauvignon Blanc.
You get a wonderful flavour journey with this drink. The earthy tones of the whiskey hit through straight away, with the apple and Sauvignon giving fruity but not overpowering support next. Then a warming sweetness of floral honey spreads through your mouth. It is not too sweet, thankfully, and eminently drinkable. Beautifully balanced and incredibly moreish, it’s a good job I had a train to catch.
I would say I paired this with the Bitterballen from the tapas menu, but in reality that was just the thing I fancied the most. Happily it made a good match, with the light honey sweetness weighing in well against the unctuous beef ragout and the drink cutting through the richness of the dish. The Nam Jim sauce accompanying was the final masterstroke that pulled the whole dish together – at once sour, sweet, acidic and pungent. A superb counterpoint to the luxurious decadence of the fried beef goodness.
I paid for my drink and meal with my own pocket money.
🐐 The Alb, Smithfield Road.