Music and Cocktails at the Summer Jam
Whenever I think about the summer, one of the first things that pops into my mind is a warm summer evening sat outside a bar, sipping on a long. cool drink. It reminds me of city breaks abroad. However, you only need to travel to Cheltenham to feel like you are on holiday, enjoying food, drink and music. Cheltenham’s Summer Jam is back for a forth year at The Brewery Quarter. The festival has been extended from two to three days and is running from Friday 2nd August until Sunday 4th August 2019. I was invited to experience the Summer Jam for myself, so took along my lovely friend and fellow blogger Jane.
The evening kicked off at 5pm. The restaurants within The Brewery Quarter had the doors open so that their diners could choose to eat al fresco and enjoy the festival atmosphere. There were also pop-up oudoors bars being run by Babel, The Botanist and The Cosy Club so you could grab yourself a drink (a G&T for me, obviously) and enjoy some live music. We listened to local singer Camilla Lewington who opened up the festival. There was a great mix of people of all ages – young families who had obviously been enjoying the summer holidays in town, and people celebrating the end of another working week.
After the set finished, we moved onto The Botanist for a meal. The Botanist is well-renowned for its selection of botanical cocktails, craft beers and ales. As much as I was tempted by their famous smoking cocktails, I opted for one of their summery spritz drinks. It was perfect for a warm summer evening.
The food at The Botanist was just a good as the drinks. I had the backed camembert to start with. This came topped with cranberry and pistachio granola which provided a nice crunch alongside the oozing, warm cheese. Although I was tempted by some of their famous hanging kebabs (the satay prawn, and crispy halloumi kebabs sounded so good), I decided to try the tandoori battered cod. The fish was cooked perfectly, and although I would have liked a bit more spice in the batter, it wored so well with the mint and coriander yoghurt, mango chutney and homemade pickled cucumber that accompanied it. We were also impressed by the service at The Botanist. All the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful.
After we had eaten, we moved next door to Babel to enjoy cocktails and more live music. I hadn’t been to Babel before, and after our visit, I was left wondering why. The cocktails here are absolutely amazing. I spent a lot of time perusing the menu, trying to decide what to have. I tried the Murphy’s Law which was described as being stong, complex and sour. It was made with whiskey, pistachio syrup, apple schnapps, creme de peche, lemon juice and finished with a spray of absinthe. I think it might be my new favourite drink. I would have happily drank another, but the barman suggested that if I enjoyed the Murphy’s Law, I should try the Haiku Club. This was made with Haig Clubman stirred with Edinburg Gin’s Plum and Vanilla Liqueur, Fee Brother’s Peach Bitters and brown sugar. It was also delicious, and I was really pleased to be in a bar where the staff are knowledgeable enough to make such recommendations.
If you are able to get into Cheltenham over the weekend, it is well worth stopping by The Brewery Quarter to enjoy some of the live music as part of the Summer Jam. Music on Saturday runs from 1pm to 9.30pm with Savanna Lee, Whailtail, Rafeelya and the New Life Band and Camilla Lewington is back with her band, Just Shut up and Dance. On Sunday, you need to get to The Brewery Quarter at 6.30pm to see the amazing Tux Fizz who will be finishing off the festival, but before then, you will be able to listen to music from The Rip Cords and Mark Walby as well as enjoying South American music, dancing and workshops from Salsa Del Sol.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by The Botanist and Babel during the evening, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.