Ahh Scotland. You surprised me with your looming mountains and snow covered hills. And yet you shouldn’t have really. My family is from Yorkshire – we’re used to wide open spaces, wild moors and hills.
By contrast Edinburgh you were all class. Tall elegant buildings, butter coloured stone and the castle. The latter always feels like an afterthought. As if someone was creating the city and then decided ‘oh yeah, we need a castle’ and plonked one down.
But you also have this.
Yes, it’s a book case. A rather crammed full one, but perhaps the poster next to it will give you a clue? No?
Perhaps if I tell you that the bookcase, much like that in Evans & Peel, this bookcase shifts away to reveal a bar, in this case one of the top 50 bars in the world, hidden behind a barbers shop frontage.
Say hello to Panda & Sons, for behind the book case lies wood panelling, brass fittings and leather, almost a dark Victoriana air to the place – think traditional Sherlock Holmes. But the cocktails on the other hand are all modern, even though they may take their influences from things much older.
I’m pleased to heartily recommend the Super Tonic which combines Caorunn Gin, almond syrup, lemon juice, Martini extra dry vermouth, Angostura Bitters and Fever Tree tonic water, created originally for London Cocktail Week 2013.
The Shanghai Paloma too floated my proverbial boat. Smoky Tapatio blanco tequila, lemon, Limoncello di Capri, celery bitters and black pepper is topped with Ting, creating something pretty, lightly spicy and staying on my permanent favourites list.
And a Boulevardier, bastard child of a Negroni and a Manhattan, featuring Rittenhouse 100 proof rye whiskey, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Campari and a barrel aged Byrrh Grand Quinquina blew my tired little mind. So much so, that despite sampling Boulevardiers elsewhere, none have lived up to this pretty. Yet.
Panda & Sons, I’d love to blame the poor photos on too much booze, but sadly my visit was too short. Next time, however, I won’t have that excuse.
With thanks again to Caorunn, whose invitation meant I could stop by and sample some Panda esque delights.