A wild garlic margarita has been served up in a bar in Stirchley with locally foraged garlic

There’s so much to love about Stirchley and its transformation from a drab high street to a cool urban hub.

The gorilla on top of the carpet shop, the community hub in the former Victorian swimming baths, its location on the edge of Bournville.

But it’s the creativity of the thriving food and drink scene that is really getting folks talking - from its independent award-winning breweries and cocktail bars to restaurants hailed by top national food reviewers and its own artisan bakery.

It’s come a long way from a place where shopkeepers deserted - no wonder its declared itself the Independent Republic of Stirchley. It’s great if you live south Birmingham way - a great alternative to the Moseley, Kings Heath and Harborne haunts.

But on a recent trip to Stirchley, we came across a whole new experience in a glass - a wild garlic margarita. I mean cocktails often have crazy names don’t they - Sex on a Beach, Fuzzy Navel, Duck Fart, to name but a few. But I’ve never come across a wild garlic margarita before.

It was the first time I’d visited Bar Ikigai in Stirchley. I’d been to the concept when it was above 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter, where I’d enjoyed a flashing cocktail inspired by the Tokyo underground system, but this was another level for me!

My pal however was awestruck at the opportunity to try something so new in south Birmingham - he had been out of the country for a while!

It arrived at our table, bright and green, with a leaf floating on top and green moss like foliage around the edge of the glass. My friend seemed quite happy with the taste as he took his first sip.

Intrigued, I had a try. It was wet and sour. The foliage stuff certainly added a texture. It didn’t smell garlicky. It didn’t taste that garlicky either. But it was definitely not sweet. Apparently the wild garlic had been foraged locally - so a big tick for sustainability.

Not sure I’d order a whole one for myself. In fact, it doesn’t look like they’re on the menu any more. Bar Ikigai regularly updates its drinks to offer customers a unique experience for each visit.

Unlike some of the independent bars in Stirchley, it is quite a spacious spot, with plenty of tables for friends to meet.

Contemporary and modern with cool lighting its a great place to chill. Thai street food heros Budda Belly from Digbeth Dining Club have opened next door.

Of course, the wild garlic margarita wasn’t the only cocktail on the menu. There were at least a dozen to choose from - most with a nod to Birmingham landmarks.

I chose the more conservative option of Kodo, which was featured next to a picture of Cadbury and was inspired by Japanese incense appreciation. It was lovely to learn about the legend of agarwood and how Samurai warriors burned incense to purify their minds and bodies.

My drink included mezcal, laphroi, yellow chartreuse, siello, chamomile tea, citric acid, agave, saline and Ms Better’s Wormwood Bitters. It was richly, deep tipple with a warm chocolate glow. I’m glad to see it’s still on the menu - and I’ll be back to try out some more.

2023-06-02T14:58:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd