'Authentic cocktails, anytime, anywhere' – it sounds like something that dreams are made of! Yet, this is the tag-line underpinning Tails: a company which has tapped into the illustrious market of on-the-go refreshment; though with a decidedly sophisticated edge. Yes, rather like you might enjoy a flask of tea on a frosty fishing trip, Tails allows you to 'shake your own' cocktail wherever you are – each of the four available concoctions served from its own recyclable shaker, (because supermarket-ready G&Ts and canned cocktails seem soooo dated nowadays don't you think?) Subsequently, upon being invited to discover 'Tails' at its official Bristol launch party, I couldn't help but question what would set this particular product aside from its aforementioned counterparts and also, whether the cocktails themselves would live up to the appeal of their packaging.
Date and Time: Thursday 29th November 2012, 18:00-21:00
Name of Establishment: Byzantium
Location: 2 Portwall Lane, Bristol
Reason for Visit: An introduction to Tails Cocktails – Official Bristol Launch Party
Advertised as: Premium; whereby cocktails are pungently (at 14-16% by volume) blended from good quality spirits and liqueurs from around the globe, natural; given that each cocktail is free from artificial colours and flavours and bespoke; due to the innovative design of the packaging, Tails is a refreshing take on the culture of the take-away tipple – here, offering an assortment of classic cocktails that can be enjoyed 'on-the-go', within the comfort of one's home or out on the town; minus the typical queuing that seems to go hand-in-hand with hardcore cocktail creation! As the brainchild of father and son team Peter and Nick Wall, Tails has been launched in a number of top-end outlets including the likes of Selfridge’s, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols; the 500ml shaker priced from £12.50 and the 150ml 'mini' shaker at £4.50. For us Bristolians, it's also worth being aware that Tails will be stocked in a handful of the city's watering holes; namely Racks Bar and Kitchen, Luna, Byzantium and the Colston Hall.
Without further ado, let me tell you a little about Tails' range which, in true Sex and the City fashion, was sampled (rather shamelessly) in its entirety amongst our female foursome...for the sake of the review of course!
They said: An invigorating cocktail of apple and lemon juice, made with elderflower liqueur and London Dry Gin
We thought..That this was a lovely addition to the line-up; channelling the essence of alfresco Summer-time drinking with its crisp, refreshing notes – the gin element adding the necessary punch and complementing the zing of the apple and the tart of lemon juice to perfection.
To sum up...EW gave the Elderflower Collins a rating of 8/10 and in three words described it as an, 'English Country Garden'.
They said: An indulgent cocktail of rich coffee, vanilla and chocolate, made with coffee liqueur and Premium French vodka
We thought...That this was a deliciously decadent concoction with bitter-sweet appeal and a rich, creamy finish; a suitable digestif or wicked pick-me-up given its unmistakable caffeine content - the latter evidenced with the positive correlation between the number of espresso martinis consumed and the extent of one's sleepless night! That said, this was a firm favourite and without doubt, my cocktail of choice from the collection overall.
To sum up...BR gave the Espresso Martini a rating of 9/10 and in three words commented that it had a 'smooth, balanced flavour'.
They said: An exotic cocktail of pineapple, almond and lime made with a blend of light and dark Caribbean rums.
We thought...that this was lethally drinkable! A sweet yet fresh-tasting cocktail reminiscent of sunny days and holidays abroad! The ying-yang rum content was arguably somewhat undetectable but facilitated an enjoyable drinking experience nevertheless.
To sum up...LC gave the Mai Tai a rating of 7/10 and in three words described it as 'refreshing', 'zingy' but 'tame'.
They said: A sophisticated cocktail of citrus and berry fruits, made with Italian Triple Sec and premium French vodka
We thought...That this was an ample Cosmo and yet unanimously our least favourite given that it sported a decidedly weak disposition; proving somewhat pale in colour and lacking the kick that the other four concoctions had in abundance.
To sum up...SE gave the Cosmopolitan a rating of 6/10 and in three words described it as, 'a little disappointing'.
|To note that each beverage was finished with an appropriate garnish which obviously, you'd have to provide yourself...|
A 'Mock Tai' was also available (though I'm told that this is not on the market at present) which, made with passionfruit and a touch of sparkle, was really rather well-received; the designated driver of our party enjoying that the non-alcoholic option was served with as much gusto as its boozier equivalents.
As for the venue, Byzantuim never fails to deliver in terms of its intriguing ambiance, eye-catching Moroccan-themed décor and colourful yet comfortable seating – I should also mention the canapés (which did become rather essential given the number of cocktails consumed on a 'school night' and in rather quick succession! which were beautifully presented, tasty and varied – the shredded duck and horseradish tartlet proving particularly popular amongst our party.
In conclusion, there are a number of plus points to this progressive concept of 'shake and serve' – we considered it a welcome change to be promptly served at the bar rather than to wait it out whilst one's beverage is painstakingly concocted from scratch. However, you may well argue that the theatre of mixology will become redundant; falling behind in the ever-present tussle between art and convenience. On a similar front, there are a number of cocktails which simply could not be created in this way – the ever-popular Mojito for instance which, despite its undeniable 'best-seller' status, would lose its appeal if you were to take away the altogether essential effects of fresh lime and crushed mint. Nevertheless, there are many avenues which could be explored instead – perhaps deviating from the classics and exploring alternative themes and eras; reflecting perhaps the originality of the packaging with a contemporary content. Predominantly though, the brief has been met as Tails' cocktails have been well-executed, thoughtfully blended and really do fare rather well as *the* upmarket takeaway-tipple (plus, albeit more expensive, far classier than gin in a tin!) And so, suitable for quality quaffing on-the-go, as an after-dinner treat or as a quirky Christmas gift (well, 'tis the season after all), there really is no reason not to experience Tails for yourself!