Looking at all the cocktail events that pioneering events company Foozie have organised to happen throughout April, it’s clear that these guys are all about the quirky experiential night out. Every evening has a playful theme: Wacky Races, Nutella and Sex and The City are just some of the things that their unique events are centred around and they are clearly piquing people’s interest as many of these evenings have sold out. On 6th April they partnered up with Swoon on Park Street, easily the best joint for decadent gelato in Bristol, for a night of grown up party games and gelato themed cocktails. You know your girl was excited: I absolutely adore Swoon and feel no obligation to wait until the summer months to indulge my sweet cravings. I’m also a sucker for proper cocktails. No pitchers of Woo Woo for me – I like my cocktails expertly mixed and beautifully presented. So needless to say, this event basically sits right in the cushiony middle section of the Venn Diagram of Vanessa’s Idea Of Unmitigated Joy.
Arriving at Swoon yesterday, it was a fairly warm evening and it felt like spring might be shyly showing its face especially for the occasion. As I walked in I was greeted with the familiar sight of the Swoon counter displaying all of their tempting gelatos. The smiling face of Pat, the owner of Swoon, welcomed me as if we were in her own living room as she offered me a tub of boozy gelato. This was certainly a great start – the atmosphere was warm and hospitable from the offset. The two gelatos in the tub were aperol spritz and gin and tonic. It may be because a G&T is one of my favoured tipples, but I especially loved how wonderfully sharp and zingy the gin and tonic one was. I have to further gush about Pat, who was rushing around chatting to and serving everyone but had such a genuine geniality to her. She chatted to me about the gelato factory her Italian grandfather once owned and gave me a mini history lesson on how gelato is made. Pat was the consummate host – accommodating, witty and kind but not at all overbearing or insincere. She was the cherry on top of the event for sure.
Foozie’s founder and CEO Thom was the other main host of the evening, a smiley and chatty guy who is clearly passionate about these events and is genuinely invested in providing a unique experience for the attendants. He gave me a chart which would feature in one of the party games later in the evening and there was about twenty minutes of time for me and my friend to sit and chat with our gelato and catch up. There didn’t seem to be quite enough seating for everyone in the fairly small space, perhaps a sign they had overestimated the capacity of the shop. Regardless, everyone seemed happy and there was a palpable buzz in the air – there was upbeat chart music on throughout that also aided in the chilled party vibes. Everything was really well timed, with the first Aperol Cocktail arriving at our table at 7pm as scheduled. This was a lovely cocktail that featured the bubbly drink with a scoop of a refreshing sorbetto in the middle. This was followed by blind tasting of four different gelatos. It was good fun trying all the flavours and guessing what they were – it’s a lot tricker than it sounds! The only slight disappointment was we weren’t told the answers at the end of the evening so I’ll never know whether that first one was gingerbread or eggnog flavour….
The second gelato cocktail was a white Russian, served up with a cute crown of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. This drink features Kahlua, coffee and a lot of cream so was very rich but still delicious. The menu said that the third cocktail would be an Espresso Martini, but this got changed to a vanilla ice cream based cocktail with a hazelnut liqueur and rainbow sprinkles. The cocktail certainly looked great, but by this point I feel a cleansing and fruity based cocktail would have been better as my throat felt coated by the sweet creaminess of all the gelatos we’d had. Some small savoury snacks would have been a nice touch to counterbalance this. The other game that we played was a competition where pairs sat one behind the other and the person in front got fed sorbetto by their partner in a bid to see who could finish their portion the quickest. I, in an atypical display of overconfidence, thought I had it in the bag. My friend ladled a scoop of super cold mango sorbet so large into my mouth that I thought my brain would shut down. The record before we had our go was 22 seconds and I only managed one scoop in that time whilst my friend cackled hysterically at my wails of shock at how cold the sorbet was. It was a fun and silly game that definitely made me feel like a kid again.
All in all, this event delivered everything it said it would with some of the best hosting that I have experienced at an event. Big up Pat and big up Foozie for a meticulously organised and genuinely fun and memorable evening. Be sure to check out the other cocktail events Foozie are putting on if you fancy something a little different for an upcoming birthday, date night or just a mid week treat – these guys definitely know how to put on something special. Only downside is that after tasting yesterday’s gorgeous gelatos, that discount tub of Ben and Jerry’s in my freezer at home seems woefully pedestrian.