Express & Star

Review: ASK Italian teams up with Brummie brewery for new gin cocktails

ASK Italian has embarked on a nationwide search to champion the best local gin producers across the country.

An array of starters at ASK Italian.

The restaurant brand, which is on a mission to put local community at the heart of its dining experience, has selected a gin from distillers close to each of its locations to feature on the menu.

For its Birmingham branch on New Street, the company has collaborated with local producer The Birmingham Brewing Company, whose gin - The Brummie Gin - will be found on Birmingham's restaurant menu.

But this is no ordinary gin, as it has actually been created from the company's own beer.

The Brummie Gin

Formerly only dedicating itself to beer, the Birmingham brewery decided to try something new when Paul Harwood, the founder of the company, realised his wife Charlotte did not like beer. However, she did love gin.

The result was the company distilling its own gin from the mash of its Pale Brummie beer.

It was this gin I was invited to try in the form of three new "Community Spirit" cocktails at ASK Italian in Birmingham; the Lemon Drop Spritz, the Elderflower G&T, and the Pink Spritz.

Brewed with juniper, orange peel, coriander, orris root, lemon peel and casia, I knew the gin would be smooth, fruity and fresh on the tongue.

We started off with the Lemon Drop Spritz, which despite the genteel name, packs a real punch.

The Lemon Drop Spritz.

The Brummie Gin mingles with sparkling San Pellegrino Limonato and Prosecco in a refreshing but potent citrus kick.

Elderflower is one of my favourite tastes, so the botanical twist on the classic Gin & Tonic was another delicious choice.

The stand-out, however, was the Pink Spritz, a dizzying blend of gin, raspberry craft lemonade and elderflower, topped with prosecco.

The Pink Gin Spritz.

This Millennial Pink drink, complete with raspberries, is delightfully sweet with a delicate twist of spice.

Once I'd finished, all I wanted to do was grab another one. I definitely wasn't the only person thinking the same as it was the unanimous winner amongst everyone trying the new drinks.

Erin Curtis, local area manager for ASK, said: “We’re proud to be part of a large family of restaurants that celebrate individual communities.

“It’s amazing to be able to support local enterprise here in Birmingham by making these connections with a local gin supplier for people here in our neighbourhood to enjoy," said Erin.

“The Brummie Gin not only tastes great, but we love the way The Birmingham Brewing Company are doing their bit to source renewable energy, recycle waste and give back to community causes too.”

Food for thought

Luckily, we didn't face these cocktails on an empty stomach, which could have proved to be a disastrous evening.

ASK Italian very kindly treated us to a fantastic array of starters, including the nicest olives I've ever tasted.

Their rosemary and olive oil bread had the perfect texture while the folded garlic bread had a beautifully strong taste.

However, the lemon chips won my heart with their stunning garlic sauce. I'm salivating just thinking about them.

ASK Italian's lemon chips.

My gluten-free guest had a lovely burrata, followed by the spaghetti lentil ragu, which was so nice she could not even tell it was gluten free.

I had the purple pesto Genovese frilly tagliatelle and was audibly groaning at how delicious the pesto was. I'm already planning my next visit just to try it again.

The meal was rounded off by the Grande Momenti - a sharing platter of various desserts, including brownies and tiramisu.

But it was the blood orange and chocolate tart - both gluten-free and vegan - that was the star of the show.

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