Birthday Review: The Ivy Leeds

I don’t normally make too much of a fuss out of my birthday, but your girl doesn’t turn 28 every day so you better believe I’m gunna write three blogs about all of the drinks I’ve been drinking. First up, Friday: my birthday-eve…

I had already drank four alcoholic beverages before finishing work at 4pm so I was off to a strong start. I had two North Brewing x Gipsy Hill beers at the Cross Keys during lunch and a meeting in the sun. (My fellow workmates blessed me with an embarrassing hat.)

We have a Friday bar each week, and this time it was a Daisydaisydrinks special – they even recreated my logo for the bar signage! This included a Bramble, Colin the Caterpillar cake and a shot of tequila – what a trio. As soon as it was socially acceptable, I thanked the crew and ran out of work to meet my mate Holly at the Ivy in town, for dinner and drinks.

We rendezvoused at the beautiful bar downstairs – I really think there aren’t many actual bars you can prop up and drink at in Leeds, so it is always a lovely experience. If you needed any proof that Holly is a fantastic drinking buddy, know that when I arrived a minute later than her, there were already two mystery cocktails on the way. She made me guess what they were from the menu and I got it on the second guess… The Kirkstall Cosmo. Similar to the classic, but with a kiss of peach bitters – it was wonderful. A good level of froth while remaining sharp and tart, and a lovely colour of liquid.

When I spoke to the Ivy about what made this a ‘Kirkstall’ cocktail, I was a little disappointed. They explained that it was their twist on a classic… it’s obviously a clever move to name your cocktails based on the local area so people feel they’re getting something unique, and this approach ties in nicely with the chain’s sudden expansion into every city in the UK. However if you look a little closer, they haven’t paid homage to the local area at all with any nearby botanicals or independent spirit sourcing. They also have a Roundhay drink because of a tenuous link to flowers / gardens. It made me wonder how far they’ll take this theme and whether they’ve consulted with any locals along the way… anybody fancy a Seacroft Sling?

We swiftly ordered food and our next round – a Blood Orange Margarita. It was sharp and strong, perfect to cut through a rich main course of duck and mash. I keep seeing orgeat popping up in various cocktail books and was really excited to try it because I love almond flavours. I couldn’t really distinguish it in the drink, but it still fuelled my desire to buy some – it’s still sitting redundant on my outdated birthday list if anybody fancies treating me!

The Ivy Leeds

Deliciousness: 9/10
Pissediness: 8/10
Price: 8/10
Story: 5/10 – sorry but adding a local district prefix to your drinks does not a story tell. Maybe it’s because I’m in branding, but authenticity matters to me yo.

= 30 points

Still a very good score for a chain! You can always rely on the Ivy for a classy and classic affair, the prices aren’t bad and I left with a birthday buzz. We met up with the lads afterwards and headed to Friends of Ham for a final tipple; what a perfect day!