The upmarket South American steakhouse chain certainly knows how to mix a drink
The first thing that comes to mind when planning a trip to CAU is usually steak, followed closely by a glass of silky Malbec. But we’ve discovered that the cocktails at CAU are well worth a visit in themselves.
Group head of bars, Alex McNeill and his team have come up with a range of drinks that are perfect for drinking before steak, after steak and even instead of steak. CAU now have twenty branches across the country including restaurants in Didsbury, Wilmslow and Media City. Although the bar areas in each venue vary in size, customers who prefer not to have a full sit-down meal are more than welcome to relax at the bar with a cocktail and a light snack. Most branches also have outside seating or a terraced area for enjoying a drink or two and watching the world go by.
We went along to the Wilmslow branch one afternoon to sample a few drinks from the Argentinean-inspired drinks menu.
This is a South American take on the classic Moscow Mule. It’s a fiery drink with a base of house Vodka topped with Fernet Branca, an Italian multi-herb liqueur with slightly bitter notes. This is topped with lashings of Fevertree ginger beer with an added hint of lime and apple juices. Refreshing in summer but warming in winter, we’d recommend this one all year round.
Pure Fresh Orange Juice
Sounds sweet and innocent but it packs quite a punch whilst also helpfully counting as one of your five a day. We’d call this lively one a ‘freshener’ and it makes a cracking alternative to the brunch-time favourite Bloody Mary. This long glass of citrusy sunshine mixes fresh chilled orange juice with Cointreau and Mondino Amaro (an Italian Liqueur similar to Campari.) Make sure to eat the caramelised orange slice garnish to experience the full rounded effect.
Bright Blue Sky
Pretty as a picture and cleverly on-brand. Those familiar with CAU restaurants will see where they’re going with this one which has been inspired by their cloud-like light fittings and sky blue walls. It contains all the ingredients of a sunny day on the farm with a base of Black Cow Vodka, an English brand amazingly made from milk. With that, they add an infusion of chilled chamomile tea and Cointreau orange liqueur. The distinctive colour comes from Briottet Blue Curacao Liqueur and the whole thing is garnished with a wispy sweet cloud of candy floss.
This indulgent cocktail could double as a dessert. It’s made using Aba Pisco – the national drink of Chile. Pisco is a clear spirit made by distilled grapes. Softer than Italian Grappa, it adds a smooth quality to this creamy drink which is also made with Belsazar dry vermouth, sweet agave syrup and double cream. The spirits offer some balance which stops it from being too rich or cloyingly sweet. The whole thing is topped with cocoa powder, dusted through a sunrise stencil.
The CAU Girl Martini
CAU have taken the popular Pornstar Martini and made it their own. This sweet and decadent cocktail could also double up as an after dinner treat. It’s made with Absolut vanilla vodka, passion fruit purée, apple, vanilla sugar and sparkling rosé – obviously not just any sparkling rosé, as it’s CAU, they’ve used a special sparkling Malbec, showing there’s a lot more to this grape than you think. If you’d prefer it straight up, CAU also sell sparkling Malbec by the glass or bottle.
Click here for CAU’s full cocktail list.
To see the full list of CAU branches click here.