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Monteiths - Highland Park Cocktail Masterclass,
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Monteiths has been my favourite Edinburgh restaurant since I moved here seven years ago. The cosy vibe, especially in Winter, always draws me in. The staff are great, the food is unfussy but excellent, and the cocktails are really exceptional. So when I heard that Orcadian distillery Highland Park was hosting a cocktail night at Monteiths, I had to get myself on the guest list.

It was a lovely November evening - bitingly cold, with high winds and driving rain - and I couldn't think of anywhere else I would rather be than the bar area at Monteiths - it was only missing a log fire. The cocktails were all the creations of the bar staff at the restaurant, alongside canapes devised by the chef.

First up was the Kirkwall Kicker from the main cocktail menu, which combines Highland Park 12yo with lemon juice, orgeat and mead foam. Sounds bizarre, but actually had a great balance of sweet and sour, with the smokiness of the malt adding an extra depth. This was perfectly paired with smoked salmon and fennel.

A stronger drink followed - this time the Highland Park was chilled and served in a short cocktail with sour grape and lemon - the whisky really came through, but softened around the edges. We tried to sip it slowly with our venison carpaccio.


The last cocktail was my favourite and ideally suited to the weather outside - a hot combination of Highland Park, mulled wine syrup, pimento, Creme de Menthe and orange bitters, with mint matchmakers on top - Christmas come early. Hopefully this will make it on to the regular menu soon - alongside the delicious beef cheek and blue cheese cream canapes that were served alongside!

To finish, a dram of the whisky itself, the star of the show. Slightly peated with a sweetness from specially made sherry casks, it's the best of both worlds and definitely a crowd pleaser.

Unwilling to end a fantastic evening so soon, we stayed for a Rum and Raisin Old Fashioned(Brugal 1888 run, Pedro Ximinez sherry, Creme de Figure, cinnamon and Angostura bitters) and an amazing fillet steak, of which I devoured every last morsel. (D. Spencer)




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