There are a number of cities in the world which are real drinkers’ cities and Edinburgh is one of them.
From ancient howfs hidden down dark closes to the shiny cocktail emporiums of George Street, the capital offers an entire drinks cabinet of boozers – most of them within easy wandering distance of one another.
New Edinburgh bar
The latest to join the happy throng is The Lucky Liquor Co which is about to open its doors to the public at 39a Queen Street, the quirky, little space which was previously home to the short-lived Drinkies.
While Bramble and The Last Word are both basement bars which come into their own later in the evening, The Lucky Liquor Co is a lighter, brighter affair with large windows looking out to Queen Street Gardens.
After work drink
If Bramble is the sort of dimly-lit joint where you might go for the final few nightcaps of the evening, The Lucky Liquor Co is more the sort of place where you might head for a civilised after work drink.
According to co-owner Mike Aiken, it’s perhaps a little bit more grown-up. The music is less intrusive and a number of the cocktails have a relatively modest alcohol by volume rating.
The sensible ABV of many of the drinks is partly down to the summer season. Dark, heavy, alcoholic drinks are perfect for a Baltic Edinburgh February but less welcome on a light, airy, June night.
Seasonal cocktail list
Which brings us to one of the core principles of The Lucky Liquor Co: the drinks list is seasonal. Last night, I drank a summery Happy Moments made with Bowmore whisky, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth and the bar’s own passion fruit syrup and orange liqueur. It was refreshing rather than likely to knock your socks off.
The idea is that each quarter, the bar will post a new cocktail menu of thirteen drinks. These will be made from a back bar that consists of no more than thirteen, different, commercially available spirits which will also change each quarter.
While Bramble’s back bar has hundreds of different bottles, The Lucky Liquor Co will rely on thirteen well-chosen spirits plus the liqueurs, spirits, tinctures and bitters which they make themselves.
As you may have guessed by now, the lucky part of the bar’s name boils down to the recurring thirteen theme.
With the help of Alechemy brewers, they will also be serving their own red rye ale, a hoppy number with a slightly, smoky malt flavour.
Along with a small cellar bar, The Lucky Liquor Co will seat around 45 and the aim is for it to be all table service. They also intend to offer a keenly priced off licence service until 10pm.
As ever, looking after the customers will be key. ‘We tend to employ career bar tenders rather than people who want to do it part-time,’ explains Mike. ‘They are people who are passionate about the drinks they make. They love it when customers ask them about the drinks and want the customers to enjoy them.’