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Corto Opening Hours After Lockdown — What’s The Plan?

Walking around the market today, it felt like everyone was a little less anxious. We chatted to Alan the Butcher and Dave Cheese, picked up a ton of plantains from the top grocers and a motherload of onions from the Burney’s. Spring’s coming. You can tell by the daffodils in their spring onion bunches, and the way that we don’t have to wear three fleeces anymore. Spring. Is. Coming!

What’s obvious in every conversation we have is that everyone is looking forward to the dates when lockdown restrictions will be eased. 

To remind you, here’s a really cool website we found.

The “roadmap” rules click into action on the following dates:

Stage 1a: March 8th

Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench” — we assume this also means you can have a beer if you like!

Stage 1b: March 29th

People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens.

You know what this means? BBQs!!

The “stay at home” rule is also set to end on this date, which means while it’s probably wise to stay as local as possible, we will be able to travel for walks. Hello favourite hills we’ve not seen in months! See you soon!

Stage 2: April 12th

On this date, all shops are allowed to open. That means we’ll probably be opening our door as a little kiosk again on this week.

Restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol. We don’t have any outdoor space, so catch us outside The New Inn or Beer Shack for a pint and a chat…

(Libraries also open on this date, so get finishing your books. Katie.)

Stage 3: May 17th

On this date, we can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

Picnics!

Six people or two households can meet indoors too, which means: the return of the dinner party!

Super excitingly, pubs can seat customers indoors at this date too. Now, we don’t know yet what sort of distancing or other safety measures will be in place, so we can’t tell you how it’ll work at Corto yet. What we can say is this: Corto will be opening properly as a bar sometime during the week beginning Monday 17th May.

(Also indoor sports classes start up again on this date. See you at Tessa Clemson Yoga!)

Stage 4: June 21st

The big one. All legal limits will be lifted.

We’re really looking forward to this one, because it means proper bar life. Standing at the bar. Having a bit of a dance. Enjoying yourself without worrying. We can’t wait.

Corto Progress: Update

We’re on track to open Corto as a craft beer, natural wine and cider bar in May.

A lot’s going on behind the scenes, and we’re really happy to be working with Castle Joinery who are making sure our former boutique shoe shop building becomes the super-trendy bar we want it to be!

For more regular updates and pics of the ongoing build, keep checking our Instagram.

We’ll also be sending out information on our opening dates via our newsletter first, so if you want to be the first to know all the Corto goss, make sure you subscribe.

We’re still running our Corto delivery service from the kiosk while we can’t open. We deliver beer, wine and cider for free within 6 miles of Clitheroe every Friday and Saturday, and we can deliver a bit further afield if you get in touch and let us know in advance.

Keeping It Fun, Keeping It Safe

We keep reminding ourselves that while we’re super excited to be finally opening Corto as the bar of our dreams, the pandemic is far from over. We want to make sure that we’re opening only when it’s absolutely safe to do so, and that all of our guests feel super comfortable here.

We will only open our bar if we are absolutely sure it is safe. 

Corto is meant to be a chilled place to enjoy a drink. We are going to make sure it’s chilled by working extra hard to make sure we have Covid-safe measures in place. Things like:

  • Table booking in advance made available
  • All latest government guidelines will be strictly adhered to
  • Hand gel on every table
  • Hand washing facilities available for all in our unisex bathrooms
  • Staff (Tom and Katie) will wear masks and guests will be asked to too, if legislation requires it
  • Seats will be appropriately distanced from each other, and separated with screens if legislation requires it
  • All tables, fridge doors, door handles menus, and everything else you can think of will be sanitised regularly

By the time it comes to the big Corto opening week, we’re sure many more different rules will be in place in order to keep us safe. We promise that we will take every single one of these rules seriously, and implement everything that’s relevant to a bar of Corto’s size and type. We want to keep you and ourselves safe!

So until then, take care and see you soon x

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Bandarra Vermouth – It’s Red and Delicious and You Need It

Are you a vermouth person? We love it. Nigella loves it too, and honestly, whatever Nigella says should be law. 

Red vermouth, or “rosso”, has this wonderful warming character that’s ideal for early spring, when it’s sunny but there’s a bite of winter chill lingering in the air. If you’re not familiar with the drink, you might expect it to be syrupy like port, or even hot with alcohol like eau de vie, and while it’s around the 15% ABV mark, red vermouth has a mouthfeel much more like a smooth-drinking sherry or rum. Sweet, but not over-sweet, and bitter too, gently bouncing with aromatics.

We’ve got some in stock now, and we wanted to talk about it a bit more because we don’t think it gets enough love!

What is Vermouth?

Vermouth is a fortified wine first made in Italy but now popular in France and in Spain, where it’s especially loved in Madrid and Barcelona. 

Red vermouth, known sometimes as “Italian vermouth” is an absolutely vital ingredient in some of your favourite cocktails like the Manhattan and the Negroni, and every Martini has dry white vermouth – the “French” style — in it whether stirred or given a good old shake.

Traditionally vermouth is made with upwards of 50 aromatic botanicals, including cinnamon, clove, bitter orange, liquorice, rosemary, chamomile, bay leaf, hops and ginger, and some even have wormwood in!

Over the years, and especially recently, makers have taken what they love about vermouth and tweaked it in their own directions, losing flavours they don’t care for and adding aromatics that better represent their locality or pair better with their cuisine. It’s really cool to see these adaptations being made, bringing modernity and global palates to a drink that’s often seen as old-fashioned, or just simply unfashionable.

Spanish Vermouth? Isn’t it Italian?

We’re currently stocking red vermouth, because that’s what Katie drank last time she was in Barcelona. Even though it’s historically Italian, she can’t separate that deliciously bittersweet aperitif from memories of the Gothic Quarter, pulling an olive from a cocktail stick, and snacking on plates of croquetas.

So then, we’re selling an amazingly nostalgic vermouth by Barcelona-based Bandarra Vermut.

Nostalgic how? 

Bandarra Vermut Red is a vermouth that emulates vermouth from mid-century Barcelona, looking away from contemporary takes on the drink and back to a time when sweet vermouth wasn’t cool or uncool — it was just enjoyed everywhere by everyone.

We like that vibe. A lot.

How To Drink Vermouth

We’d never want to tell anyone how to drink anything, however if you’ve never tried vermouth before, it might help to have a few serving suggestions.

On Ice, With A Slice

Grab your favourite lowball glass — go on, get the crystal out — and chuck a couple of chunky ice cubes in there. Add a twist of orange peel, or a whole slice, or a lemon slice if you prefer. Throw a couple of olives in there too. Enjoy.

Vermouth Spritz

Bye bye Apérol spritz (not really, we love you), hello vermouth spritz. Just pop equal parts vermouth and soda water into a highball or wine glass with ice cubes in it, and chuck an orange wedge in there. Eat some olives while you drink it. Delicious.

Negroni

Come on now, who doesn’t love a negroni? Last year we read they were both very cool, and very sad at the same time. Luckily, we don’t care. Pour equal parts gin, Campari and vermouth into a jug, with ice. Stir and stir and stir until the jug feels cold. Strain into a glass, add a fresh ice cube, and garnish with a slice of orange — blood orange if ya fancy. Invite us round to help you finish off the jug.

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UK Roadmap? What does that mean?

when is corto opening?

Yesterday we were feeling all kinds of nerves. The lockdown has been many things over the past 10 months (10 months!!), but in the not-to-distant future it’s about to be something we kindof felt like it might never be: OVER.

Staying safe has been our number one priority ever since we opened our little shop in December — the safety of everyone has always been at the front of our minds. Going into deliveries only territory was strange and unfamiliar, but if it meant people were safer, we were happy to do it.

Now the lockdown’s got some end dates, it’s a bit weird, isn’t it? It felt like it would go on forever. We all definitely want it to end, but now it’s going to be over we’re feeling a bit like — oh! What a surprise! Okay! Better get planning then!

So the first thing we want to chat about is our first opening dates. What does the UK Roadmap for lifting lockdown mean for Corto?

The rules, according to the BBC news explainer (which is super helpful for all aspects of life outside of lockdown btw), say the following:

  • 12th April 2021: All shops allowed to open
  • 17th May 2021: Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors

We weren’t sure if the law will allow “hospitality venues” to sell alcohol to take away after the 12th April. James from SIBA reckons it is though, and we trust him!

So, this means:

Corto will be open as a shop from April 12th 2021

We will be planning Corto opening parties to start from the week of May 17th 2021

So keep your eyes open for announcements in the coming weeks! We’ve got some stuff to share…

Pubs will be allowed to open up their beer gardens earlier than this, on the 12th April, but we don’t have any outdoor space so this doesn’t apply to us. No, we can’t put benches on the pavement (unless the council wants to close off the main streets to traffic for a little while for some continental vibes? Might be a shout?) 

So until May, see you in our shop, or out the back of The Swan With Two Necks with a pint of Lagonda!

Stay positive

We’re not silly. We know that things could change and dates could move, and that April and May are still months away. But for now, let’s be positive. The days are getting longer and the vaccines are working well. The end of all this is in sight. 

We’re allowing ourselves to feel a little bit lighter and a lot more excited today 🙂

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Vault City x Corto Virtual Tap Takeover

On Friday 19th February 2021 (aka. next week) we’re having our very first virtual event!

Andy Gibson from Vault City will be hosting a virtual tap takeover and tasting sesh with us, and he’s told us he’ll be happy to answer any and all questions about the brewery, the beer and how they brew it!

We’ve put together a tasting selection of four ace Vault City sour beers to drink-along on the night, some of which haven’t even been launched yet.

For £27.50 you get:

  • 1x Raspberry & Violet 7.1%
  • 1x Strawberry, Peach & Custard 10.4%
  • 1x Plum Bakewell 7%
  • 1x OJ IPA 7.2%
  • A pass to the Zoom event
The Corto and Vault City virtual tap takeover bag contains: strawberry peach custard, raspberry violet, plum bakewell and OJ IPA

We can’t wait – in fact we’re super excited about this. The fact that we’re hosting such a nerdy beer event locally seems really, really cool to us.

We thought we’d start off our first tasting session with a bang. It had to be sour beer, and we’ve loved trying all of Vault City’s beers from right at the beginning when they were brewing out of a kitchen! Now they’ve got a shiny new brewery we’ve been super jazzed to see what they come up with next.

Anyway. Join us! We can’t wait!

UNFORTUNATELY WE CANNOT SHIP OUR BOOZE NATIONALLY. Our Vault City virtual tap takeover bag will only be available via our normal local delivery routes.

If you live a little outside of our “6 miles of Clitheroe” delivery radius, get in touch. We’ll do what we can to reach you.

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Amazingly Delicious Ciders by Oliver’s, Find & Foster and Wilding Cider in Stock Now

Cider is having a moment, and we are really keen to push that moment as far as it can go. We love how diverse it is, and we’re so happy that so many of you have been trying and enjoying our ever-growing cider selection. It makes us smile!

Real, natural cider is a beautiful thing, full of gorgeous aromas, textures and flavours. One thing that’s really special about the cider we sell is that it’s made by cidermakers who are passionate and totally obsessed with producing the best possible cider from the fruit they grow, pick, find and forage (we’ll get on to that in a bit).

This week we’ve had a major cider update on our webshop, and we wanted to introduce you to some of the cidermakers and producers we’re now stocking. We know you’re gonna love them.

Oliver’s Cider

World renowned and highly regarded as one of the best and most talented cidermakers on the planet, Tom Oliver is as close to a cider celebrity as it’s possible to get.

On the Oliver’s Cider farm, cider is made from pure pressed apples and wild yeasts, and the whims of the cidermaker – we have Mayflower #3 for example, which alongside a blend of finely-tuned cider blends has dried fruit and ice cider added for complexity, deliciousness and, well, for fun.

Take a look at all the Oliver’s Cider bottles we have in stock.

Wilding Cider

Wilding Cider like to express the true flavours and energy of their local fruit in their ciders. Former restauranteurs from Bristol, Beccy and Sam Leach started Wilding Cider out of a love for heritage varieties, and you can really taste their care and attention in every bottle.

Now based in rural Somerset, they hand pick apples for every batch using techniques like keeving and stretched out seasonal blending to take in the changing flavours and tannins of the seasons. 

If this sounds like winemaking, you’re not wrong. Often people talk about cider as wine, just made with a different fruit. Mind = blown.

See our full range of Wilding Cider bottles

Find & Foster

Down in Devon, Find & Foster do exactly what their name suggests – find old and heritage orchards that have been lost, forgotten or just a bit ravaged by time and foster them into providing delicious fruit for the coming generations.

This eco-conscious approach and a total respect for the land and the fruit they use means each bottle of cider Find & Foster produce is as much about the place it comes from as it is the juice it’s made from. We just LOVE that.

Buy Find & Foster

Let us choose your cider!

Not sure what to pick? It’s difficult when you can’t pick up the bottles and have the time to decide – we know. Internet shopping is hardly the tactile, personal experience we’d hoped to be providing!

Our “What’s In-Cider There??” mixed bag is only £20, and gives you the chance to taste three fine ciders, delivered to your door. What’s not to love?
We’re here to help. We can offer recommendations via the chat box at the bottom right of the page there, or you can DM us on Instagram or Twitter. If you’re more of an emailer, we’d love to hear from you: hello@cortobar.co.uk

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We love growlers and you will too – fresh draught beer delivery

Corto growler fills are ideal for craft beer lovers!

Growlers of delicious draught beer delivered to your door! It’s almost like drinking craft beer in a pub. Almost.

Tom’s been busy hitting stuff in the cellar with a spanner and now we’ve got a state of the art growler filling station at Corto. How cool is that?

Our Growlers are filled using our counter pressure bottle filler, to make sure your beer reaches you in absolute tip top condition.

At the moment we can’t sell from the shop or do click and collect, so if you have a growler you want to use, please drop it off at the shop and we will deliver it sterilised and filled on our next delivery day.

How to buy

We have Corto growlers, which you can pay a deposit for when you buy your draught beer.

They’re glass and reusable, and you can either keep yours forever, or bring it back to be reused or have your deposit back. It’s up to you!

Real draught beer at home, plastic-free. We’re super proud of our growler fills and we know you’re gonna love them. A draught beer delivery service to keep you happy until the pubs open again. Ideal.

On The Taps

Right now on the taps we’ve got a couple of belters.

Rivington Brewery – Exterior Illumination (5.8% ABV) is a delicious double dry hopped IPA with Simcoe, Amarillo and Mosaic.

What’s extra-special about this beer is that we we’re pretty sure we have the first draught version of it outside of their tap room! SUPER COOL, RIGHT?

Drink it and think of sunny days at Tap Beneath The Trees. They’ll be back soon, promise.

BUY IT NOW!

Vault City – Pink Grapefruit Session Sour (4.5% ABV) is, as the name suggests, a sessionable sour beer, absolute sunshine in a glass bottle. Citrussy, sour and delicious. Ideal for these, er, cold days we’re having at the moment!!

BUY IT NOW!

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The Corto Home Delivery Service

We know that quite a lot of you would like to click + collect,  but unfortunately we’re classed as a “hospitality venue” and after a few conversations with various people in the know, we’ve closed the shop to customers. (Here’s some more info on that, if you’re interested.)

However, we’re still open behind the scenes! We’re getting delicious new stock in all the time, and you can get your hands on it in a number of different ways. 

Check out our new webshop for our full availability.

Continue reading The Corto Home Delivery Service
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Cosy Boxes! Take Corto Home and have a Cosy Night In

Like every hospitality business in the country, we’ve been pulling the most interesting faces trying to figure out how best to get our delicious drinks to you this week.

We’ve made a few changes to how the shop looks, and we’ve also made a few additional changes to make it a bit easier for you to pick some ideal things to drink for your Big Cosy Weekends In.

We might be back in lockdown, but we can’t let that beat us. We’ve had a bit of a yell and a bit of a strop, and now we’re ready to get back to spreading positivity. LET’S DO THIS!

Continue reading Cosy Boxes! Take Corto Home and have a Cosy Night In