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The Last Word Saloon
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The Last Word Saloon
44 St Stephen Street,
EH3 5AL,
0131 225 9009

The Last Word, situated in St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, is the latest venture from the guys that brought you (and still bring you), that wonderful establishment, Bramble. From the outside you could be forgiven for thinking not another cocktail cellar bar, not another dark, forbidding drinking den, not another place just to be seen b eside the wannabes and the almost theres. You couldn't be more wrong.

Sure, it's dark with most of the light coming from naked flames, sure, it's a bit austere with its dark greens and rusts and its lack of ornamentation and sure, the mix 'n' match old furniture would be out of place elsewhere. But here, well, it just works. A veritable speakeasy in the heart of Edinburgh. And the staff complement this persona, being laid back and welcoming, knowledgeable and unpretentious and, above all, they just make great drinks.

 So let's get to the drinks. The menu is small; you get the feeling deliberately so, compared to some bars, and has been chosen to provide fantastic drinks that can be made quickly. But it's not actually a fast drink joint. Time has been taken to create the collection and to create some of the ingredients. Therein lays the secret.


On our first (and definitely not our last visit) we started with a Dukes Martini (£7.00) and a Last Word (£6.50). For lovers of very dry, strong martinis (i.e. D), the Dukes is heaven. Poured at the table, you get a spray or two of vermouth into the glass which is then followed by a pour of a gin straight from the freezer and a twist of lemon. All with the blessing of Alessandro from Dukes who created the drink.


And the Last Word is one of those old, almost forgotten, drinks (created in the1920s) that, once you try, you wonder why more bars aren't serving. A marrying of gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse and Maraschino that was sweet, herby and sour all at the same time with the occasional hint of liquorice sneaking through. A great aperitif.


We also tried the Who Dares Wins (£6.50) and the steel aged Six Cylinder Cocktail (£7.50). It's very seldom I think my second choices are better than my first but in this case they were.

I'll let you discover for yourself the beauty of steel ageing, suffice to say, it ain't easy to mix gin, sweet and dry vermouth, Cherry Heering, Campari and Dubonnet and come up with a drink that a hardened Negroni drinker finds exquisite. And the Who Dares Wins? Well please don't get D started on how good it was. Go! (M. Earl)





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