The nights are fair drawin’ in, as the phrase goes. The perfect time, then, to seek out some of the city’s newest drinking haunts. Autumnal cocktails? The negroni is hard to beat. The christmas parties and associated indiscriminate drinking is (mercifully) still a while away. So in the meantime enjoy this fine fellow of grown up drinks. Its amber hues, complex bitter sweet tang, oily orange finish, and clinky ice cubes are perfect for slow leisurely sipping.
Bramble Bar and Lounge
Drinks International have revealed their annual list, and one capital bar has rocked up to a highly respectable No 10. Bramble’s a dainty little drinking den, tucked away down a staircase on Queen Street. Free from the imposition of any one particular type of crowd (yet crowded it always is) make your way downstairs to find a diminutive yet luxe den where the drinks are fresh, and the soundtrack is too. Specialising in classics with a twist, drinks like the celery sour are guaranteed to temper your thirst with its blend of gin, pineapple juice, lemon and celery bitters. With an ambitious, experimental but down to earth team behind the bar, Bramble is likely to be looking for more space on their awards-shelf for a long time to come.
Auld Reekie does a nice line in ‘old boozer given a new lease of life’ , and that’s exactly what you’ll find at this recently opened bar in the Tollcross area, The Blackbird’. Exposed stonework and cornicing, fireplaces, a little bit of padded leather mix nicely with specially commissioned fabric and wall prints and a rather intriguing ‘Looking for Alice’ mural complete with graffiti characters from the story. ‘Drink Me’ is the enticement from the cover, and the lengthy list promises all you need for a quiet session or indeed a Mad Hatter’s tea party if you prefer. There’s a quotient of cheesy pleasers and berry packed girly tipples, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you’re paddling mainstream. The Rose and Lavender Crusta is an elegantly balanced beauty, with just the right touch of the Turkish delights. Far from getting into a muddle, the bartenders seem to thrive on the expansive medley on offer. ‘The Dirty Housewife’, with a blend of Sausa Horintos, Aperol, grapefruit bitters and orange marmalade , hits all the right bitter citrussy notes. The coming winter months will no doubt draw a healthy crowd to this easygoing bar, but keep an eye out for lazy summer drinking next year. Their expansive be-decked beer garden will be hard to resist for a sunny afternoon’s quaffing.
52 Canoes Tiki Den
In a somewhat unlikely basement in the west end lies the perfect escapist’s beach shack. The tiki fad may be late to arrive on the city’s bar scene, but 52 Canoes’ South Seas inspired bar takes the best bits of those who have gone before, with the ‘rustic-round the edges’ feel as befits an indy newcomer. The cocktail list pays humble homage to the original purveyor of Tiki in the 1930s, Trader Vic himself. Kitsch florals, palm tree backdrops and vintage burlesque club flyers ensure a bright vibe, whilst the gantry’s myriad elixirs and mixers will keep any beach boy or babe happy. The bar team are relaxed and ready to fill a giant tiki mug or bowl with sunshine for your drinking pleasure. To eat, bright salads and bbq bites provide an upgrade to the usual bar snacks. On the drinks front, expect tropical coladas, incendiary garnishes, and a legendary ‘three-rums’ Mai Tai. Floral lei and grass skirts optional.
Upcoming event - Cocktails In The City
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Cocktails In The City will once again take over the gorgeous Mansfield Traquair on for one night only on Wednesday 28th November 2012. Promising ‘an evening of cocktail making and drinks enlightenment’, it harmoniously brings together bars, booze and thirsty bodies. If last year’s spirits-fest is anything to go by, you can be sure of night of cascading liquor and showcase demos from some of the city’s top mixologists. The magnificent former church is flowing with a ‘who’s who’ of Edinburgh’s best drinks emporia, ready to offer tips and tricks on shaking your own way to liquid legend. As you leave, it’s likely you’ll be doing a mental inventory of what’s currently in your drinks cabinet.
Written by Leila Arfa