Review: Revolution, Low Row, Sunderland

Revolution bar, Low Row, Sunderland.'Has banned customers with visible tattoos.
Revolution bar, Low Row, Sunderland.'Has banned customers with visible tattoos.
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I’M no great shakes when it comes to making drinks but a new scheme in Sunderland allows you to step behind the bar à la Tom Cruise in the classic film, Cocktail, to have a go at tackling your favourite tipples.

Revolution makes more than three million cocktails a year nationally so it seems best placed to offer these masterclasses.

I took pals Helen and Alex along to the branch in Low Row to take part in one of the sessions with our teacher for the evening, Syd.

We soon learnt that what supremo Syd doesn’t know about cocktails isn’t worth knowing as he guided us through the history of our favourite drinks.

There’s about 100 ways to enjoy vodka in Revolution – being a Vodka bar this is a staple ingredient in its cocktails – and we sampled a fair few of them as part of our 90-minute class.

The evening got off to a good start with a Chateau Royale – one shot of fruit puree poured over chilled Chateau Chaumet.

It’s a simple but delicious drink with a fruit zing that makes it go down a treat.

But after being introduced to our tools of the trade – the Boston shaker, jigger measure and bar spoon – it was our turn to step behind the bar and try our hand at mixology.

I was first up. My challenge: the mudslide.

Syd showed me how to pour controlled amounts of liqueur to make the perfect blend – the sign of a top mixologist is control and balance of ingredients.

Then it was up to me to blend Absolut Vodka with Baileys, Teichenne Chocolate, chocolate sauce, milk and cream before pouring it over cubed ice to make a perfectly-crafted cocktail.

It was a little messy – well it was my first attempt – but luckily there were no punters around to see my sloppy measures as the class takes place in a private room upstairs.

Alex, meanwhile, was tasked with making Revolution’s best-selling cocktail: the Strawberry Woo Woo.

There was a touch of the Tom Cruise about her as she mixed Flagship Russian, Absolut Raspberry, Teichenne Peach and strawberry puree in the Boston tumbler – named after the Boston Lighthouse due to its shape – with ease. I suspect she’s done this before.

Determined to up my game, I tackled the Raspberry Mojito: a complex little number which requires some serious muddling – that’s the technical term for mashing ingredients in the glass.

A twist on the classic Mojito – it has a vodka instead of a Bacardi base – it features limes, mint leaves, brown sugar, crushed ice, raspberry puree, Stolichnaya Razberi and Havana Club topped off with lemonade.

I muddled for all my worth and managed to produce a half decent cocktail.

Helen, however, produced the pièce de résistance of the night with her fancy Cosmopolitan.

It’s been made a household name by Carrie & Co in Sex and the City but little do the fashionistas know that they aren’t getting the real deal.

Syd expertly showed Helen how to make an authentic Cosmo with Grey Goose Le Citron, Cointreau, cranberry juice and limes strained into a cold Martini glass.

It’s garnished with a lit orange rind – haven’t seen that bit in the show – which drew a fitting close to our flaming good night.

l Masterclasses for a minimum of six people start from £24.95 per person. Contact 640 2300.