As Edinburgh moves towards becoming a truly cosmopolitan capital – standing toe-to-toe with London – the strength of its mixologists is on the rise. Here are the best cocktail joints in and around the Scottish capital.
Another cocktail joint with an easily overlooked shopfront is the Lucky Liquor Co. on Queen Street. Its bright neon ‘Liquor’ sign at streetside directs customers downstairs into the retro-ish hangout below. This is perhaps a deliberate positioning away from the showboating and glitz of the majority of nearby George Street bars. There’s a more eye-catching sense of humility at work in the bar interior with its New York Lower East Side-inspired teal chairs, clean white tiles and Motown soundtrack overhead. Behind the bar are only 13 liquor bottles, used to create a menu of 13 cocktails. Even then, the line-up of bottles changes every few months to ensure little chance of repeat orders. Don’t leave before sampling the signature drink, the Lucky 13. It has bourbon, Amer Picon, apricot liqueur, lemon and raspberry syrup.
From the proprietors of the trendy and esteemed Edinburgh cocktail bar, Bramble, comes the Last Word Saloon, residing in subterranean premises in bohemian and hipster-ish Stockbridge. But any similarities to its sister establishment are quickly overturned by the shadowy and gothic decor, replete with Sherlock Holmes-esque open fire. Still, the same inquisitive attitude towards creating bold new drinks concoctions persists. Signature beverages are the adventurous Arnaud’s No.6 (Black Bottle blended whisky with Dubonnet, hibiscus syrup and orange bitters) and the Last Word (Fifty Pounds Gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino liqueur & fresh lime juice).