Nestled in a corner of William St in the West End, is a quintessential neighbourhood bar – with a twist. *Disclaimer* This post may contain traces of alcohol related puns throughout, always read the label*
As I sat in The Voyage of Buck on a casual Wednesday last week for a post work cocktail (ok, we made it a double) I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of a relief. As much as I love the Fringe (I really do) it was refreshing not to see throngs of out of towners occupying all the tables, and being able to take two sips without being interrupted by overly enthusiastic PR reps. Instead, I saw friends catching up, work colleagues relieved that they’d made it through hump day and couples having an intimate date night. The glorious summer that we’ve been clinging on to may have gone but it sure felt warm in Buck’s place. Not in a hot toddy warm kinda way, but a whiskey neat kinda way. Smooth.
Nothing pleases me more than when I see a champagne cocktail, (gives me Gatsby vibes) so obviously I couldn’t see past the Summer of 75 menu. A delightful selection of gin-based cocktails pleasantly topped with Moёt, excellent old sport (if you didn’t pick up on the reference, pick up a book). The Rhubarb 75 made me feel like I was sitting on the lawn of the Buchanan estate while Jordan Baker practiced her swing. Made with Bombay Sapphire gin, Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger liqueur and of course, a lil sparkle.
The décor in this bar gives me gentlemen’s club vibes with a splash of contemporary simplicity. It feels decadent but not pretentious, classy, but not intimidating – which I love. It suits everyone, whether you’re there simply for a casual pint of carefully selected craft beer or you want to kick off your evening with friends and a strong Negroni.
This smoothly brings me into my next point – the menu. Each page in the menu represents a different Voyage, all the way from Delhi to Kyoto, Casablanca to St Tropez. Each cocktail has been carefully crafted to suit the flavour and feeling of each destination. My boyfriend had Negroni with a peanut twist – do me one favour and order this when you go – heaven.
At 8pm after being there just over an hour, a buzz filled the space. One of the barmen came over to our table to introduce us to an event that was being held that evening – a collaboration between our very own Edinburgh Gin and Mr Foggs Gin Parlour of Covent Garden London. The staff travelled all the way up from London town to serve an amazing collection of cocktails from their menu. Oh baby.
After speaking to the staff, Mr Foggs had a similar vibe to Voyage of Buck. Their building was once housed by Foggs’ Aunt Gertrude and after finding a diary of her travels around the world, the inspiration for a cultural gin experience came alive. From Brazil to Nigeria to the French Riviera, their menu prints her own handwritten stories of her own voyages and the people she met – who were to inspire their elaborate menu.
We Edinburghers (ok, I know I’ve only been here two years but I think I can count myself as one of you) know and appreciate our gin, but there is something magical about knowing that the cocktail its served in has been expertly blended and inspired by the ventures of 19th century go-getters. To me, that’s pretty bad-ass.
The next time you want to escape the crowds and enjoy and real drink instead of a standard G+T in the Spoons around the corner from the office, wander down the cobbled streets to the Voyage of Buck, you just don’t know what could be waiting for you there…
Bon Voyage mes amis,
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