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Trying out the cocktail bars in Dorset

PUBLISHED: 13:57 28 May 2014

Ready for a sundowner? Head to some of Dorset's coolest bars and try something new

You don’t need to be James Bond to enjoy a cocktail, whether it is shaken or stirred – it matters not. When it comes to ordering the more unusual the better – from a Smoking Wray which comes wreathed in smoke, to a Dirty Cow Martini using vodka made from Dorset cows’ milk.

Be adventurous

In the Club Bar of The Captain’s Club Hotel in Christchurch the focus is on their range of unusual spirits including high altitude rum and homemade ingredients such as horseradish-infused vodka. A range of cocktails has been created to make the most of these rarer measures so try the aforementioned Smoking Wray, which arrives in its own smoke-filled case; designed to showcase the smoky depths of Wray and Nephew rum. If you’re drawn to something a little fruitier, their Chase the Rhubarb martini is a delicate mix of Williams Chase gin, rhubarb liqueur and rhubarb bitters. From one martini to what seems like a hundred others, Poole’s Hotel du Vin in Thames Street does an awesome pear martini and with a whole page dedicated to this gin based classic, you can easily spend an evening working your way from espresso to dirty.

Starting early

If you are a brunch fan then beat a path to Reef Encounter on Boscombe Spa Road for their Boozy Breakfast – a vitamin C-packed cocktail made with fresh orange juice, egg white and marmalade vodka; or step it up a notch and try their Spicy Margarita. Urban Beach in Argyll Road, also in Boscombe, is an award-winning bar with a dazzling array of bottles including mystical looking vessels containing homemade ingredients such as Old Jon’s spiced rum and homemade cola. Their ever

evolving cocktail menu uses many locally produced ingredients such as Dorset blueberry juice and ale - their award-winning Bloody Mary is a must.


If you want to enjoy your cocktail by the beach head down to Urban Beach’s sister establishment Urban Reef at The Overstrand – same great cocktails but with a sea view. Alongside its classic cocktails, The Cumberland Hotel on Bournemouth’s seafront offers its signature Ventana Spiced Coke made from Disaronno Amoretto, Sailor Jerry Rum, fresh lime and coke as well as a royalty inspired Diamond Queen, designed especially to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with a mix of Grenadine, Absolut Vodka, Martini Rosato, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and Champagne. For a cocktail hour overlooking Poole Harbour the Sandbanks Hotel will provide the best view. On Thursday nights in August it’s the place to be for a ring side seats for the Sandbanks Beach fireworks. Other sea views can be found at The Haven and Harbour Heights. If bubbly is more your scene then Fizz Fridays at Hallmark Hotel on Durley Chine Road runs from 5.30pm – 7.30pm and includes free tapas.

Do it yourself

If you would rather be the one a-shaking and a-stirring then learn the art of Cocktail Mixology at Ink Bar in Bournemouth in your own private lounge before competing to find out which of you has got the most flare! Their innovative mixologists will be on hand to teach you how to create your favourite tipple and best of all, when you’ve conjured up your perfect mixture it will be you doing the tasting! Call 01202 789 669 to find out more.

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