Belfast First Cocktail Festival Set To Shake Up City

A brand new week-long festival aimed at cocktail lovers will bring a top line-up of special events to Belfast this October.

Whether you are looking for a ground-breaking cocktail creation, want to watch some of the world’s best bartenders in action, or fancy taking a step back in time to the age of prohibition, Belfast’s first and only Cocktail Week has something for everyone.  

Running from October 16 – 22, the inaugural event invites cocktail lovers to whet their whistle and enjoy a jam-packed calendar of bespoke events taking place in bars across the Cathedral Quarter.

Kicking off the week in style, award-winning London establishment Swift Bar will take up a special residency in The Merchant Hotel’s iconic Cocktail Bar from October 16.

Fresh from a big win at the Spirited Awards, where the bar was named Best New International Cocktail Bar 2017, husband and wife duo Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson will bring the Swift team to Belfast for a week-long takeover with innovative cocktails and their renowned Irish coffees on offer.

Festival-goers can also take a step back in time and experience the atmosphere and excitement of the birth of the cocktail at The Luggage Room takeover of Sixty6 (upstairs at The National). Enjoy signature creations from the prohibition age from the acclaimed London based Luggage Room staff who will be mixing up The Darb (Citadelle Gin shaken with apricot brandy, Italian vermouth and lemon juice) and Barney Barnato (pisco stirred with Cocchi Americano, Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao and aromatic bitters) along with juleps, cobblers, swizzles, imperials, punches, sours, flips and other popular concoctions of the time.
Continuing the festivities, Club Sixty6 will host an intimate whiskey masterclass on October 19, where guests will get a behind-the-scenes insight into the magic of whiskey distilling.  The bar will also cater for those who want to enjoy a non-alcoholic tipple with a Future of Mocktails Masterclass and an innovative mocktail menu, which will be available all week.

Ending the week on a high, guest speaker, author of the Curious Bartender range of cocktail books and award-winning bartender, Tristan Stephenson, will host a seminar exploring the art of mixing the perfect cocktail on October 22.  The famed bartender, co-owner of two of London’s hottest cocktail bars, Purl and Worship Street Whistling Shop, will give guests an exclusive opportunity to taste contemporary and classic cocktails with his own unique twist during the masterclass.  Tickets for this event will cost £10 and includes a drink on arrival.  Following the event, guests will be invited to raise a toast to end the week of celebrations with a free after party taking place in Club Sixty6.
Bronagh Bennett from the National Grande Café and Club Sixty6 and creator of Belfast Cocktail Week said;

“Belfast Cocktail Week is a way of showing that Belfast can compete on an international level alongside cities with great cocktail cultures such as London, Edinburgh and even New York.

“Belfast and Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector has come a long way in recent years and customers are really broadening their horizons.  The wide range of events taking place during the festival will appeal to everyone and I hope it encourages people to try something new.

“We are looking forward to bringing this week-long event to Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and hope it will be the first of many.”

Bars taking take in the festival include The Cocktail Bar and Berts Jazz Bar at The Merchant, The National Grande Café and Club Sixty6, Bullitt Hotel, Bootleggers, Muriel’s Café Bar, The Spaniard and Babel, the new rooftop cocktail bar at Bullitt, on its opening weekend.

Most events at Belfast Cocktail Week are free of charge and first come first served, please check the website for details for ticketed events.
For a full line-up of events and further information on optional festival passes, visit More events are still to be announced and will be added to the line-up over the coming weeks.  A limited number of festival passes will also be available to purchase from The National Grande Café. The optional festival passes are priced at £10 and includes 25% off selected cocktails in participating venues (excluding The Merchant where instead festival pass holders will get a complimentary taster of punch with each cocktail purchased at The Merchant Hotel’s Swift Takeover.)