Experience drinks in the clink and spells in the cells this autumn at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum

Drinks in the Clink are set to delight drink aficionados this autumn. Enjoy a night of drinks and nibbles like nothing you will have experienced before at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum.

There will be three ‘Drinks in the Clink’ events this autumn. Firstly, join the Cider Riot night on September 27th, at 7pm, to learn about the history of cider in Dorset, then on October 31st at 7pm, enjoy Spells in the Cells, with some spooky drinks any wizardry fan would be proud to imbibe. Finally, on November 29th, enjoy a Piratical Rum Night from 7pm with Lloyd Brown from Grey Bear Bar Co.

On September 27th, Nick Poole of the West Milton Cider Company will be discussing the history of cider, how it is made and drunk and the famous cider riots in Dorset during 1763 when Lord Bute tried to enforce a new duty on the drink. The talk will also look at the fascinating history of Dorset’s cider sheds – a uniquely Dorset invention for meeting and enjoying cider.

Kev Davis from Fuelled by Cider, who works with Nick to put on cider-themed events, said: “Especially around west Dorset, there’s a culture of cider sheds. It’s a place where a community gets together to drink cider a group of them have made together. It’s amazing, people will come in and swap some vegetables for cider. It’s a real taste of the past. They aren’t formal places, and you don’t pay to get in. The culture is particularly strong in Dorset.”

Then in October, as a special Halloween treat, there will be Spells in the Cells on October 31st at 7pm, featuring drinks mixed in a cauldron! Visitors will then get to try their hand at some practical magic of their own – using ingredients sourced from ancient magic textbooks, guests can chop, grind, and mix up concoctions such as the Transfiguration Tonic, which can then be drunk. Dressing up as witches and wizards to join in is strongly encouraged!

Finally, discover your inner pirate and learn about the history of rum with the Piratical Rum Night. Master Mixologist at Grey Bear Bar Co, Lloyd Brown, will be explaining about the drink’s historical origins.

Events Manager Harriet Still said: “We’ve had real fun looking at ways to link the history of Shire Hall with local artisanal drinks producers. Some links are obvious – of course, we had to look at the West Country revolting when their cider was taxed, and who could resist a night of rum and pirates! Others explore the playful side of the building, like Spells in the Cells. Watch this space!”

All evenings are for over 18s only. Booking for all sessions is essential and for more information and to book visit shirehalldorset.org.

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