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Dia de los Muertos

The most celebrated national holiday in Spanish speaking countries, with a 3000 year old heritage and some fantastic history, Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead has become a monumental occasion across the world.

    Originating from where we now call Mexico, the Aztecs are the first known dignitaries. The celebration itself was a little different way back when, for instance it was held more like a festival lasted for a whole month in August. The idea was to honour their goddess of the underworld Mictecacihuatl. The idea stuck through time although a new deity was selected by the indigenous Mexican’s. They dedicated the festival to La Catrina, lady of the dead. Although you won’t know her by name she is the most recognisable of all figures involved. La Catrina was known to be selfish and didn’t care much for the poor people of Mexico and so they dressed as her to mock her. This is the skeletal lady with the fancy hat you see most commonly.     

    The holiday became what we know of it now when the Conquistadors (Spanish settlers) first landed in Mexico in the 16th century. Being devote Catholics they did not approve of the festivities and tried to eradicate the pagan holiday. However they didn’t expect such a large resistance from the Mexican peoples and so instead of ridding of the festival itself they decide to incorporate it with the Christian festival of All hallows eve and All Saints day. This is where we first see what we see today, the celebration was moved to be celebrated on November 1st and 2nd rather than within the month of August.

    We nationally associate the time of October with Halloween or All Hallows eve, however this is not celebrated in Mexico. The day of the dead festival starts with Dia de los Innocentes (Day of little angels) started from midnight on the 31st. The idea is that this is when the heavens open and allow the children to return to earth to be with their families for 24 hours. The lives and memory of these children is celebrated by visiting the grave of their loved one and dressing it up with their favourite toys and sweets or more commonly by building an altar within their homes to enact the same thing. This is where we see the colourful skulls come from, Candied skulls are made by the families and decorated to be left for in the memory of their loved one. The skull is a composite made up of meringue and icing sugar and then decorated with bright colours. Commonly you will see plastic ones but these are very easy to make yourselves or to buy off of the internet, you need an exceptionally sweet tooth for this though.

The festival culminates on November 2nd Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This 24 hour period is the time that the adults return back to Earth to now be with their families. A very similar process is enacted with people either visiting graves or using alters within their own homes. The use of the Marigold is prevalent on this day; the flower is the symbol of the dead in Mexico and so features enormously. Unlike with the children this becomes a greater celebration incorporating the drinking of Mescal, an alcoholic beverage distilled from the agave plant in the region of Mescal. 

At the Snug, we have incorporated the traditions of the festival in our fantastic drink offerings. More prominently in the Mestizo Margarita that uses the syrup of the agave plant to enhance the flavour. All our cocktails use one of Mexico’s finest tequilas in Olmeca Altos, both the Blanco and the Reposado. So, if you are out celebrating this weekend come join us for our Mexico themed evenings incorporating the Spirits of Mexico in our drinks. 

Written by Ben Hollis

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Start your journey with us today!

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Start your journey with us today!

 

Kaylee Ireson – Marketing Manager - 2010 to present

Hailing from the robust urban sprawl that is Peterborough, a young miss Ireson was to venture to Cambridge for her studies. In the search for part time work she would find herself stumble upon the steps of the Snug’s second Cambridge bar at the Grafton centre. With little to no experience Kaylee began life as a part time server, but after seeing the magic that was conjured up behind the bar she stepped up. She would then spend many an evening practicing her cocktails and the art of free pouring until she was made a fully-fledged member of the bar team. Through the ruthlessness shown within her new position she was promoted to shift leader and after a year and a half she would then find herself one seat from the top as the bars AGM.

    Then one day, whether it be luck or a desire to aspire the then current manager would step down from their position leaving a Kaylee shaped void which she was more than happy to now occupy. Pulling the reigns of the proverbial monster that was the Grafton bar and after 3 and a half years at the top Kaylee decided the sky was not high enough. When again noticing the opportunity crop up Kaylee would be first in to offer her services she was promoted to her current position as Marketing Manager. 

The rest of her story is hers to tell, so why not start your own Kaylee inspired adventure and apply now at the Snug.  

 

Karl Neal – Commercial Manager – 2012 to present

Born and bred in St. Albans, Karl had aspirations to become the world’s greatest sports therapist, so he ventured north to the Yorkshire hub that is Leeds. After 3 years Karl returned home to see the light that shone from our flagship store that is the Fluer De Lys. Having discovered a knack for being a cocktail bar tender and having all sorts of service records in his wake, Karl decided it time to take a sabbatical and go travelling the world. On returning fresh faced to reality Karl returned to the Snug but this time in a heightened role of shift leader. Although after 2 months of brilliance his ability was noticed however not by The snug and Karl was snapped up from under us entering into the world of media sales.

Relishing from his time as a salesman, Karl thought it right that after a year in the trade to return to the Snug. On return he was immediately enrolled in our management programme where he was to show the tenacity and desire required to front one of our sites. Karl was given his first opportunity in High Wycombe where he was to start the bar on its path to the golden future for the site. After a year and a half, he was recruited again back to take up the reigns in Hertford, jumping at the chance to further his legacy Karl would take up his second site. After 2 years in the role, Karl demonstrated his ability to lead and he was asked to then oversee not only Hertford but also Ware for the Christmas period. Karl again showed great passion within the role and come January moved over to Hitchin so he could begin his operations training. After completing his training and a small stint as Operations manager Karl found his true calling in his current role as Commercial manager. 

Do you have the tenacity shown by Karl, can you manage one of our sites? Begin your snug adventure now and apply now!

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Caipirinha The Redeemer

As the XXXI Olympiad approaches, the world turns its gaze once again to the enigmatic and vibrant Brazilian coastal city of Rio De Janeiro. Named after a river that doesn’t even exist, the city was founded by Portuguese settlers in January 1502. The bay was mistaken for the mouth of a river and so the name Rio De Janeiro (River of January) was born. The party city is known for hosting huge events, with Carnival every year around 4.9 million revellers descend upon the city so it’s safe to say they aren’t afraid to put on a big show.

For the first time in Olympic history the games will feature in South America. With the first modern Olympics starting in Greece in 1896 this is quite the momentous occasion bringing it to a new continent. This just shows how far the spectacul has grown having only consisted of 14 nations to now showcasing athletes from a total of 205 nations it has truly become the biggest sporting event. Rio 2016 will hold host to a total of 10,500 athletes competing in 306 events for a total of 4,924 medals. With each and every one of them hoping to bring glory home to their nation.

Not only will a mass of athletes be welcomed into Rio, a flurry of spectators will also. A total of 7.5 million tickets have been sold for the 33 venues within Rio so if you're one of the lucky ones to be going out there we hope you pre booked your hotel as prices have sky rocketed from an average of £67 to £196 a night. However, if you aren’t lucky enough to find yourself relaxing by Copacabana beach you can still get all the action live on the BBC, with all the action shown live in our bars so you two can relax with a Caipirinha.   

Brazil is a nation known for partying so it is no surprise they are also known for some fantastic beverages. The nations favourite and oldest beer Brahma is brewed in Rio itself and is consumed in heroic quantities within the city. Their national drink is the Caipirinha, one of the most popular drinks worldwide let alone within Rio. The drink itself made from a sugarcane rum called Cachaça, sugar and plenty of lime makes for a refreshing accompaniment to any summer outing.

No need to fret though you don’t need to travel to Rio to enjoy one of these. They are available in all of our sites, just ask your server or bartender and they would be happy to whip one up for you. 

Written by Ben Hollis

 

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Year of The Monkey at The Snug

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Year of The Monkey at The Snug

Chinese New Year takes place this year on Monday, February 8th, and as usual, London's celebrations are set to be the biggest outside of Asia with a full on parade that finishes at Chinatown.

For those of you more unfamiliar with the tradition, the Chinese New Year marks the turn of the Chinese Calendar which is lunisolar, meaning that it can fall on different dates. The monkey is the ninth of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and although it's considered to be the most unlucky year, people who are born in this year are said to be witty and smart. You can find out your Chinese Zodiac sign by clicking here.

Starting on the 20th of February we have partnered up with Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky to bring you these amazing new deals! For £12 only you can try our Hot Monkey Cider and our Monkey Burger served with skinny fries and a side of honey and chilli nuts.

Our Monkey Burger, made with caramelised banana, bacon and crunchy peanut butter is also available on its own for £5.95, as is our Hot Monkey Cider made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky, fresh apple, amaretto, apple juice and served on a tankard.

Sign up to our mailing list by the 29th of February and we'll enter you in a draw to win a Monkey Shoulder Bottle!

Happy Year of The Monkey!

The Snug

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HAPPY HOUR ON ALL COCKTAILS!

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HAPPY HOUR ON ALL COCKTAILS!

This year we were proud to win Best Cocktail Menu in the Herts Food and Drink Awards but why stop there? As soon as we received the good news, we started brainstorming on how could we make the new menu better for all of us, especially you, our guest!
 
For years we’ve been shouting about our Happy Hour and we’ve been happy to average a whopping 15,000 Mojitos and 10,000 Pornstar Martinis a year, amongst other favourites, but it’s time to shake things up (no pun intended)!
 
There are no more Favourites collection because every cocktail that makes it on our menu is a favourite of ours and every cocktail* is now part of our 2-4-1 Happy Hour everyday! Your snug classics remain untouched but you can now venture on 2-4-1 Old Fashioneds or the new Absolut Gangster, made with Absolut Elyx and Bob’s Abbott’s Bitters!
 
Take a look at our new menu here! Happy Hour 2-4-1 on ALL COCKTAILS* stars at 3pm everyday!

*Excluding sharing cocktails and shots.

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The 10 Coolest dads we found on the internet

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The 10 Coolest dads we found on the internet

It's Father's Day this Sunday and we've put together 10 dads who are doing parenting right.


1. The DIY DAD

This dad made a millennium falcon out of cardboard for his son. He could have done a better job turning the dog into Chewie but good effort!


2. The Role Reversal Dad

She wanted to be the wolf.


3. The Costume Skills Dad

This dad won the Halloween costume competition at work.


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4. The Photographer Dad

This dad has been taking photos of him and his daughter in the most crazy scenes. She'll end up with the best childhood photo album ever.


5. The Inventive Dad

The look on the child's face says all. Faith in humanity restored.


6. The Couldn't Care Less Dad

We all had our share of embarrassment around our parents but this one is just winning!


7. The 'Safe Travels' Dad

This dad has been dressing up differently every day when waving goodbye to their children before they get on the school bus.


8. The Apprenticeship Dad

This dad couldn't figure out how to do his daughter's hair so he went under training and is now a fully certified hairdresser.


9. The Multi-Tasking Dad

This dad has figured out a way to keep his daughter's busy while gaming by letting them do makeovers on him.


10. The 'No Pain, No Gain' Dad

This dad has been teaching everyone a life lesson by competing in several competitions with his disabled son. Truly inspiring.

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World Gin Day 2015

World Gin Day 2015

WORLD GIN DAY

World Gin Day returns tomorrow and what started off as an initiative by Neil Houston in 2009 to get his friends together to drink gin has recently grown into a global celebration!

The concept is simple: get people enjoying gin together all over the world!

If you are signed up to our mailing list then you should have received an e-mail from us yesterday offering you a voucher of 2 Gin Cocktails for £10 starting today and valid till Sunday, 14th June, 2015.

Whether you’re already a fan of a classic G&T or looking to find the perfect cocktail to get you started, we’ve put together two suggestions featuring two of the greatest Gins in the world, Beefeater 24 and Hendrick’s.


LAVENDER WHITE LADY - WITH BEEFEATER 24 GIN

Beefeater 24 is a premium London Dry Gin, which means that no colouring or flavour has been added after distillation. The recipe includes the core botanicals that define the distinctive, instantly recognisable Beefeater taste – juniper, coriander, angelica root and seed, Seville orange peel, lemon peel, orris and almond. To these are added a unique blend of Chinese green and rare Japanese Sencha teas, extra citrus in the form of grapefruit, and liquorice.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Beefeater 24 Gin
  • 0.5 parts lime juice
  • 2 parts lemon juice with added sugar
  • egg white (optional)
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 3 dashes lavender bitters

Preparation:

  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with cubed ice and shake hard
  • Strain onto a chilled coupe or martini glass
  • Garnish with Fresh Lavender


HENDRICK'S SUMMER GARDEN - WITH HENDRICK'S GIN

Distilled and bottled in Scotland, Hendrick’s is a super premium gin with a subtly different botanicals recipe that includes traditional botanical ingredients alongside a unique infusion of rose petals and cucumber. These bring something new to the gin taste spectrum enhancing the classic juniper and citrus flavours with fresh, floral, slightly aromatic notes and a silky smooth texture.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Hendrick's Gin
  • 0.5 parts elderflower cordial
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • 2 parts apple juice
  • 2 parts cranberry juice

Preparation:

  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with cubed ice and shake hard
  • Empty contents directly onto a Collins or tall glass
  • Peel a cucumber and use the skin to make a cucumber twist for the garnish

We are also running a competition on Facebook till Sunday, 14th June, 2015 giving you a chance to either win 2 tickets to the Beefeater Distillery or a unique Hendrick’s Tea Pot Set and Cucumber Cultivation Kits!

To find out more about these amazing Gins click on the links below:

http://www.hendricksgin.com

http://www.beefeatergin.com

Happy World Gin Day

The Snug

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Long Bank Holiday weekend, Eurovision spectacular washed down with special vodka cocktails at The SNUG – we say bring it on – can we leave work now please?

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Eurovision is back this weekend – if you’ve missed the heats and lowdown so far we’ve got it covered for you and it’s looking as delightfully strange and over the top as ever!

It’s the final this Saturday 23 May in Vienna. Nigella Lawson will be representing the UK by reading out the nation’s voting results live on the BBC. Apparently, after tweeting a picture during last year’s competition with a faux beard supporting Conchita Wurst, the BBC asked her if she’d be up for it and she has confirmed it this week via her twitter!

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Strangely, lets be fair there is always a massive dose of weird and wonderful about this extravaganza and Australia is the latest country to be welcomed into the pot. We know our geography wasn’t the best at school but even we know this isn’t part of Europe – what’s the score? In celebration of the 60th anniversary and the apparent support Australia has given the competition they have been invited to participate.

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It remains to be seen what happens if Australia wins, although highly unlikely given the territorial voting patterns that are re-known in the competition.

Graham Norton is back on the BBC with his wry sense of humour, blunt put downs and witty anecdotes and its bound to be a good way to while away a Saturday evening. Bring it on, Graham! 

Our entry this year is rather good in our opinion and a dancey electric swing tune by duo Electro Velvet. The song is called Still in Love With You and it's surprisingly catchy. Have a listen below for yourself! We definitely think this will escape the dreaded ‘nil points’.

Radio 1’s BIG WEEKEND is also happening this weekend in Alan Partirdge’s home town of Norwich!  With the likes of Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Alt-J, Foo Fighters and Rita Ora…. Take a listen – we will be showing it in some of our bars if you missed out on tickets so you can enjoy the experience with one of our vodka cocktailin hand!

Most of all – enjoy the bank holiday and after all the boozing and late nights – come and indulge in our £10 Brunch deal – where you can choose any Brunch menu dish, a coffee and a bucks fizz! 

St. George's Day at The Snug

Here at The Snug – we wanted to wave a small flag to our Englishness today to celebrate our own patrons Saint Day, St Georges Day.

We, like lots of us, are bemused at why St Patrick’s Day is very much in our hearts and minds (helped by the pseudo sponsorship by Guinness), but why our very own patron saint days is, let’s face it, a bit of a damp squib! We could even probably all name the US Independence day celebrations as 4th July but would struggle to recall 23rd April for our own.

Well not here – we’ve pulled together our finest quintessentially English drinks, cocktails and food to make us puff out our chests with pride on St Georges Day and wave that English Flag.  

But why not start with the Ultimate English test  -  just a spot of fun (and we’ve never thrown a plastic white chair) but we will be honest we scored “You Are very chuffing English”.

Let’s face it there seems more pride and camaraderie when the national football team get themselves through to a World Cup or an European final, only for all it all to be in vein when the nation turns to a feeing of disappointment at their early exit! 

We think a bank holiday might help us all get behind our Patron Saint and celebrate things with a little more gusto – what do you think?

Anyway – if it’s the normal kind of St George's Day and the streets are quiet and the bunting limp – here are our top tips for enjoying an English Day at The Snug:

1. Start the day with the breakfast of Champions – our fantastic BIG FULL English and indulge in a Snug Coffee – the blend which is created by the Gentleman Baristas

 

2. Have a game of Monopoly over a good cup of our English Breakfast Tea

 

3. Hit midday – and knock yourself out on a Gin and Tonic

 

or any of our Beefeater or Bombay Sapphire Gin Cocktails…

 

3. Feeling a bit peckish by now? Then it's time for the Fish and Chips, tartare sauce and mushy peas!

 

5 . And despite our weather isn’t always quite as sunny as we hope, in the positive English way we have a BBQ in the rain – finish off with a Jug of Pimms and pretend the sun is shining!

 

or indulge in a cocktail made with Chase premium English potato vodka


6. If cocktails are not your thing, you can always go for a a pint of Real Ale and a packet of crips. English of course! Because The Snug is your local reinvented!

 

Everyone is welcome, join us this Thursday and celebrate in Englishness!

Find your local bar and book a table!

The Snug

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The Great Snug Easter Weekend

It’s the Big Easter Bank Holiday Weekend and Sir Easter Bunny has prepared three little eggscellent treats for you to enjoy from Friday 3 - Monday 6 April!

Any brunch item, including our BIG Full English, coffee and a Bucks fizz for only £10

You’ll need the energy for those long days of egg hunting, visiting relatives or just finally sorting out that DVD collection by alphabetical order! So take the pressure off and join us for Brunch this Easter weekend.

Blue Hopper – Easter Special Cocktail - £6

We’ve heard Sir Bunny likes to knock back a few of these after clocking out. Hendrick’s Gin with raspberry jam, lime, soda and blue curacao make up this fizzy special available only this Easter weekend and served in a jam jar with fresh basil.

Egg Hunt for Grown-ups - why should the kids have all the fun?

From Friday to Monday we’re having an egg hunt for grown-ups in all of our bars, everyday. “So what’s the grown-up part?” you ask, well, not only do you get to gorge yourself on a creme egg if you are lucky enough to find one hidden in the bar, but you also get a free cocktail* from our Snug Favourites. Just don’t eat the egg before you claim the cocktail at the bar or else how do we know you found it in the first place?


Happy Easter from all of us at The Snug and Sir Bunny
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*Subject to availability. Strictly over 18's only.

THE SNUG BAR FC - BLOG UPDATE

It’s been a mixed bag in terms of results for The Snug Bar FC since the turn of the year. 

The boys began 2015 with one of the best performances in the club’s brief history, toppling Division Two side Vision Reserves 11-2 in the Intermediate Cup. 

In mid-January, the club welcomed the arrival of former Breakspear Old Boys Connor Reddy, Raymond Chabvuka and Sam Mardle into their ranks, whose passing philosophies were an instant fit. 

Victories over AFC Welwyn (6-3) and Herts Mauritian (2-0) followed in the league, either side of a valiant nine-man 3-0 defeat to Wheathampstead Crown. 

Four straight losses and some emergency dental work for unfortunate front-man Liam McGarry followed in February, as Snug struggled to find the consistency of the previous three months.

But, going into a final stretch that includes an Intermediate Cup Semi-Final for the chance to appear in the showpiece at St Albans City’s Clarence Park, Snug have found some much needed form. 

A battling 3-2 win over Phoenix 'A' was the turning-point, a confidence boost that prompted strong showings against Breakspear Old Boys 90 (1-1) and Herts Mauritian (5-0). 

Honourable mention to stand-out performers Tommie Twelves, who has netted 12 times since Christmas, tireless midfield man Ali Morgan and ever-improving defender Kieran Mansfield. 

Liam McGarry

The Snug Blog - #weare10

Back in 2005, when our owner operators Giles Fry and Ashley Moore set out to create their own unique all day bar serving handcrafted cocktails and tasty comfort food ; few of us had heard of Facebook, let alone Twitter and Instagram.

Well what a change a decade makes as we now talk to almost 30,000 people following what we do everyday via our digital and social channels alone and this continues to grow every single day!

Giles and Ash met when they worked for TGI Fridays in the west end of London (the busiest one in the world at the time) in the early noughties. Giles was the General manager (read the business brains) and Ash was the cocktail extraordinaire having trained and opened various Planet Hollywoods’ around the world and taken part in numerous international cocktail bar tending competitions. Ash was also focused on the food development as had also worked at a Conran restaurant in London. 

Over a cocktail or two in 2003, the two decided they wanted to work for themselves and it took a few years to formulate a business plan, take a car loan (they were refused for a business loan) and find the ideal first site on Lensfield Road in Cambridge!

The Spread Eagle in 2005

The bar opened in March 2005 and the first cocktail they ever served was a French Martini. The original mantra was something for everyone – which is why you can still go to any Snug today and order a flat white, a cask ale and a Cosmopolitan all in one order! If you want a Big Full English at 9pm, that’s no problem either – it was and still remains very much a no rules, informal social space which focuses on handcrafted cocktails and good quality comfort food in local neighbourhood locations.

"Something for everyone" - The Big Full English is still available all day everyday

The launch of Lensfield Road in Cambridge, was followed swiftly by Hertford later that year in December 2005. Next came, St Albans in May 2007 and then right back to Cambridge as we opened a second one on East Road in May 2009. We kept fairly static through the global recession and only opened one bar in High Wycombe during the worst years in December 2011. In May 2014 – we opened in the market town of Hitchin and are just about to take a further bar in Ware in March 2015.

Our bar opening across 10 years

Why not take a quick look at our 10 Year Photo Album?

In fact, as #weare10 has made us rather nostalgic and we’ve been reflecting about other things that turn 10 this year too…..

Take a look at our top 10 things from 2005….

  1. The series premiere of Grey’s Anatomy - is it still running?
  2. Brad and Jen’s infamous split - why would you break up with Jennifer Aniston?
  3. And ahem the release of Mr and Mrs Smith and beginning of Brangelina - oh, we get it now!
  4. The groundbreaking movie Brokeback Mountain - we miss Heath Ledger!
  5. The Tom Cruise couch incident on Oprah about his relationship with Katie Holmes - feet off the couch Tom!
  6. The Pink Razr Mobile heralded the fashion phone was launched - Just 5.5MB of memory versus the iPhone which can have up to 128GB these days!
  7. The Osbornes series finale – the first reality TV show family came to a conclusion
  8. The X-box 360 launched - in a world where Playstation was king!
  9. Apple unveiled the 5th generation ipod, the ipod shuffle and ipod nano - and we all dropped our jaws again.
  10. YouTube Launch – the first ever posted video was taken at San Diego Zoo.

If you'd like to keep the nostalgia going check out other things that will be 10 years old this year here.

Cheers to the next 10 Years! #weare10

 

 

Valentine's Day at The Snug

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and while the pressure is on for the best date ever, we’ve put together a list of the top ten real and fictional couples, somewhat of all time, to get your creative juices flowing.

Last year we took our mobile bar and catered for a Wedding in Cambridge of two lovely people that started dating at The Snug Lensfield Road a while back.

While we’re not certified matchmakers we love to hear about these snug love stories, and to give you a little push we’re launching a Passion Fruit Kiss Cocktail to Share this Valentine’s Day.

From the 13th to the 15th of February you can enjoy our Passion Fruit Kiss in a sharer size for only £10 and served with two straws for that close-up classic move!

And if you still want the date to go on after we close we even put together a spotify playlist of classic love songs for you and your other half to enjoy! Put it on at home or get yourself one of these and go for a romantic walk in the park.

Happy Valentine's Day

The Snug

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New Year The Snug way!

Its that time again, when our social media feed, magazines, newspapers, TV programmes we consume start to become filled with talk of new years resolutions, reflection on the past year and the need to create goals for 2015. Like them or loathe them we all end up talking about new years resolutions – have you made any, how many and will you keep them? Blah blah blah!

So it’s the 6 January 2015 and for most today it's the second day back at work after a festive break with family, friends and lots of celebration and good times. Spell….dismal and grey feelings….and that’s before the credit card bill comes and pay day is some way off…..

Following the blow-out we’ve probably just all had in terms of food and drink we may feel a little like we need to detox, diet, start that health kick, buy some silly celebrity fitness DVD but can’t quite muster the enthusiasm to do so and if history is anything to go by then we should save our money, because they generally get dusty and by Friday we’ve given up anyway!

The above may be a little clichéd but a quick poll around our office would generally agree that’s the consensus – so we’ve turned the focus on diets/healthy eating on its head (heck its still sometime before we are going to be hitting the beach/getting the body ready for summer). We decided its January, we all feel a little bit of post Christmas blues, the weather is cold, the days short and the purse strings tight and rather than trying to come up with a diet or skinny version of our yummy comfort food and handcrafted cocktails  we thought specially for you; we’ve decided to take 3 of our best-sellers, bundle them up and spread warmth and joy via a Bacon cheeseburger, skinny fires and our rather incredible Mojito and price them together for just £9.95! Wow – that’s a whopping 50% off.

This offer runs in all 6 bars, all day everyday now extended till the 30th of January – perfect for the much needed catch up with friends, post-work pick me up or chilled Sunday (and if you really feel the need then you can walk/run* to The Snug!

*delete as appropriate to us to get the exercise resolution done) – hey in our minds this is a far better way than purchasing the Geordie Shore lass fitness DVD

Enjoy January 2015 with us!

Christmas Shopping and Gift Ideas

With Christmas just around the corner everyone is rushing to the shops trying to find the perfect gift or browsing in the hope to have a last minute bright idea.

We've put together a small selection of gift ideas for you to shop online in the comfort of your own home. See the gallery below and click on the pictures for more information.

If you know someone who truly appreciates a great cocktail we recommend you offer them a cocktail class at The Snug for a lesson in the art of bartending with cocktail making and tasty appetisers to share.

If you're stuck for ideas you can also get one of our Gift Vouchers for someone as a gift. They can be purchased online and your friend will get a lovely e-mail with a voucher that can be redeemed for drinks and food at The Snug in the next year!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you don't get any socks (unless you want socks, they really are underrated as a gift)

Love,

The Snug

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You know it’s Christmas when you see mulled wine at the bar

The Christmas season is an abundant feast for all the senses. From the streets filled with twinkly lights and Christmas trees, the sound of Christmas tunes and church bells through to the taste of the turkey and mince pies. The aroma of Christmas is also quite distinctive – the sweet smell of cinnamon and delicious warmed mulled wine. The taste of winter! We are now serving mulled wine in all our bars.

When making mulled wine, selecting a good wine certainly helps but having the most expensive bottle of red you can find on the supermarket isn’t necessarily going to make it better than others, the balance between spices, sugar and water is key.

We chose a full bodied Shiraz from Australia to make ours as full bodied red wines have a rich and well-rounded flavor that lingers in the mouth. Light and Medium-bodied wines are not recommended, as they tend to be more watery which is not ideal for mulling. We are also only using three spices, as we don’t want the spices to overpower the complex flavor of the Shiraz.

Here’s what you’ll need to make our Easy Mulled Wine Recipe:

  • 2250 ml of a Full Bodied Red Wine (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec will do the trick)
  • 2000 ml of apple juice (not from concentrate)
  • 2000 ml of water
  • 3 whole oranges
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
  • 4 star anise pieces
  • 250 g caster sugar

Preparation:

  1. Start by studding a whole orange with the cloves and slice the other 2. The orange slices will be used for the recipe and also serve as the garnish when serving.
  2. In a pan, add the water, apple juice, cinnamon stick, star anise, sugar and orange studded with cloves.
  3. Bring it to boil and then reduce the heat, letting it simmer for 10 minutes. This is what we call the infusion stage. We are infusing the water and juice with the rich flavours from the fruit and spices and the sweetness from the sugar. If we were to add the wine from an early stage we would lose some of its alcohol and complex falvour when boiling it.
  4. The more you let it simmer the better infusion you'll get. After 10 minutes or more, if you have the time, add the wine and orange slices and gradually turn the heat up until it starts to steam.
  5. When it starts to steam and your kitchen is suddenly filled with this iconic aroma, your mulled wine will be ready to serve and you can turn the heat down.

We hope you enjoyed our recipe. There are plenty of them to choose from and while they might look simple the secret is all in the preparation, choosing your wine and balancing your flavours. If you have some Port at home you can also add it for a stronger taste. If you don’t have the time to make it at home you can also enjoy this recipe in any of our six bars. Who knows, you might be coming in for our Happy Hour of 2-4-1 Cocktails and suddenly change your mind and have a mulled wine, we’ve all done it before. There’s no better drink to brighten up a cold and dark winter night!

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Christmas Food Menu Preview Evening

Now that we are 40 days away from Christmas, the decorations are starting to go up, lights are being turned on and our Christmas menu is being launched. We wanted to make sure you would be as happy as we are with the quality of the food we created therefore we invited food enthusiasts to join us for a Christmas evening in November.

We laid the tables with our Christmas crackers, mince pies, candy canes and handed out prosecco on arrival for the full Snug Christmas Experience.

After trying to set the Christmas mood in November (we think we managed it) we began to serve our menu. First up were The Snug Festive Platter and The Snug Festive Veggie Platter, great platters to share with a few Christmas twists to compliment the season and our cocktails.

"The starter can only be described as AMAZING! The biggest sharing platter I have ever seen laid out beautifully in little pots and tins on a large wooden board" (What Katy Said, 2014)

We then took a break from eating to introduce our Christmas Cocktails, the Mince Pie Martini and the Candy Cane. We invited our guests behind the bar and showed them the ropes on bartending and how to make these.

"The mince pie one included brandy, cinnamon and apple schnapps and tasted so festive, it would be excellent to sip on a chilly winter night" (Musings and Makings, 2014).

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without the turkey. The Christmas Burger was another star of the evening, a 7oz beef burger topped with turkey, cheddar cheese, smoked back bacon, bourbon and cherry sauce with pickles and a pot of pulled pork served on the side.

"The pork had a distinctive flavor though and when I asked the chef he was pleased I had noticed as he had also added a shot of espresso – an odd choice but it worked somehow” (What Katy Said, 2014)

To round off the night and as we are giving away a Ski Holiday worth £1250 this year. We invited them to try our Snug Party Boxes. A box of props you can hire for free and use to add a bit of fun to your Christmas party photos.

"For me the real selling point is the ‘party boxes’ for hire. In exchange for a £20 deposit you can get a box of ‘alpine themed props’ for your table; a collection of hats, glasses, ski goggles, etc. which is bound to get the party started. A nice and very fun touch” (Eating St Albans, 2014)

 

If you want to check out the full reviews and more food and lifestyle tips please visit these blogs:

Eating St Albans http://eatingstalbans.tumblr.com

What Katy Said http://whatkatysaid.com

Musings and Makings http://musingsandmakings.com

 

We'd like to thank everyone for coming, we had a really great evening and can’t wait to provide the same experience to you, our guests. If you want to be a part of Christmas at The Snug this year, secure your date book now!

VAT Equality Day at The Snug - 7.5% off our prices

Following the success of the 2013 'Tax Parity Day', we decided to take part in the 2014 Tax Equality Day and will cut our prices by 7.5% across all bars on Wednesday, the 24th of September.

The initiative comes from the VAT Club Jacques Borel. Jacques Borel has a history of campaigning for lower tax rates across Europe, with success in Germany, Belgium and Finland to name a few countries.

His premise is simple. Why should bars and restaurants pay 20% VAT on food and drinks whilst supermarkets pay 0% on food?

By having a tax-free rate, food supermarkets are able to sell at disproportionately lower prices than bars and restaurants, which leads to fewer people eating out and supporting those businesses and the jobs created there.

Several economic studies show that a lower VAT rate would translate to a 10% increase in customers, which would then lead to additional staff being hired. The additional staff and customers would lead to the government recouping most of the VAT reduction via the income tax from new jobs created, increased sales and higher corporation tax receipts.

In conclusion, a lower VAT would mean lower prices and more customers through the door. More customers would then require more staff, which means new jobs would be created and more money would be available for wages, training and improving sites whilst keeping the trade fair between supermarkets, pubs and restaurants.

Over 15,000 outlets are expected to take part in this day, cutting their prices by 7.5%. Join us on Wednesday, 24th of September and help us create better conditions for both the industry and you.

 

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The gin revolution

Not too long ago, gin was just the old spirit at the bar, stuck in history, served rather plainly with a slice of lemon and Schweppes tonic.

Over the last few years we have registered an out-of-this-world increase in gin consumption in our bars, and with new exciting brands coming up every year we make sure our gin cocktails are always up to date, so that they include these new flavours. Beefeater - with the launch of Beefeater 24 - and Hendricks are brands largely accredited for the revival of gin, due to genius marketing and excellent communications and design.

Last week we went to the Beefeater Distillery in London, home to Beefeater, our house gin, to find out more about the history behind it and why is it so popular again.

Beefeater Distillery

Without going into too much detail, Beefeater is proud of sticking to the same original recipe from 1876. Beefeater Gin contains nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, seville oranges, and lemon peel. Unique to Beefeater’s production process is the steeping of all these natural botanicals for a full 24 hours prior to distillation.

After taking the tour, we had a gin tasting where we sampled many varieties of gin including Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay Saphire, Plymouth, Beefeater 24 and Hendricks.

A lot of interesting facts came out of this tasting: naturally, the big favourites were Beefeater, Beefeater 24 and Hendricks, all available at The Snug and used in our cocktails - but also Bombay Saphire was quite popular among a few of us. We were told this was because of the distillation process. Bombay Sapphire still uses a carterhead, meaning that the botanicals are not steeped; the neutral grain spirit evaporates and goes through them - what we call a vapour infusion. This results in a more floral and lighter taste meaning it’s a great introductory gin for someone who is not too keen on the regular ‘punchy’ kick from the juniper.

With the recent innovation in gin also came an innovation in tonics, but Beefeater still recommends the use of our house tonic Schweppes because different flavor tonics alter the taste of the gin rather than complementing it.

A great cocktail associated with the gin revival is the English Garden, a guaranteed crowd pleaser available at The Snug with Beefeater, apple and cranberry juices and elderflower cordial. Refreshing and fruity, it's an ideal drink to enjoy summer with (while we still can!).

English Garden cocktail

Want to know more about the history of cocktails and learn how to make your own? Book a cocktail class now.

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