The windows don’t cast a great deal natural light in here, but that’s okay, the gloom is comforting, especially if you’re hiding from the temperamental Edinburgh weather. If you hide yourself in a corner somewhere, you can almost imagine yourself in a 1930s speakeasy at the height of prohibition in the USA, but way more slick, and well, nothing like a speakeasy in fact.
I’m in my favourite Edinburgh cocktail bar, Bond No.9.
There are plenty of tables, but I prefer to sit at the bar, particularly when it’s quiet so I can pick the encyclopaedic cocktail brains of the friendly staff that are insanely enthusiastic about their art; that’s what it is, art.
More importantly, they love what they do (at least, if they don’t it’s well hidden), and there’s an intrinsic talent for ingredients – booze geek paradise. These guys really know their stuff, and every time I order they prove it – I’ve never had a bad concoction yet.
I started with a Whisky Sour, one of my favourite drinks, and it was an eye opener when the whisky used was Auchentoshan Three Wood. A rich and slightly sweet single malt.
It was damn near perfect. Sharp and creamy, with the richness of the whisky happily lounging in the foreground.
I wasn’t sure what to have next so I simply asked for something similar.
What I got was a Maple Old Fashioned. This could possibly be my new favourite cocktail.
Buffalo Trace bourbon, maple syrup, orange bitters, a spot of cherry juice, and just to be different, apple juice.
Weighty sweet apple, rich spice and rich orange stab from the bitters. It really works.
When you get to the bottom of the glass the syrup has settled slightly giving you a lovely texture to the last mouthful, kind of like a prize. A seriously tremendawsome cocktail. Yes, I had to make up a word, so sue me.
“Something similar please…”
Blood & Sand – this will put an instant smile on your face especially with the perfect use of Auchentoshan Three Wood and Lagavulin 16 year old.
Sweet cherry at first followed by acidic orange juice and a sweetening but not overpowering hug from the peaty whisky.
You can smell the Lagavulin at the start but it’s beautifully mellow and a stunning after taste like the earth of a freshly watered flowerbed with a slight sour touch throughout.
Another excellent cocktail.
I’d highly recommend any of these, or in fact all three.