They come in every colour under the sun and their flavours can include Honey, Cardamom, Plum, Butternut Squash and Cloves; presented in a range of delicate glassware with accompanying plumage that would put a peacock to shame; Heads and Tales Bar is the place for gin cocktails in this city.
It was bitterly cold outside, but the cosy décor of the bar, the buzz of the bartenders swirling and twisting the bottles and making cocktails, the chink of glass and the presence of Caledonia and Flora (the gin stills) peering out from behind their glass frontage make you feel welcome and right at home.
Our server was super friendly and certainly knew his gins. We were presented with a list of all their gins (I think there are approx. 100 of them), the cocktail menu and the ‘make your own’ cocktail menu. We thought it best to order a cocktail from the list and then peruse the ‘make your own’.
We ordered the most popular cocktail the Daisy Cutter (£7.50)– grapefruit infused Edinburgh seaside gin, blood orange reduction and citrus. This certainly has the ‘sook your cheeks in’ element to it. The citrus is sour and then sweet. I like my cocktails slightly sweeter, but my cocktail partner in crime loves citrus. Perfect choice.
I had the West Side Story (£8.50) – West winds sabre gin, elderflower, peach, plum, mint. This was one of my favourites of the night. Quite fruity (obviously), slightly sweet and you couldn’t really taste the alcohol in it.
Edinburgh Gin have kindly shared their West Side Story Cocktail recipe with me so here it is:
50ml Edinburgh Valentines Gin, 25ml passion fruit juice, 15ml passion fruit syrup, 10ml of fresh lime juice. Shake ice cubes and the 4 ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a glass and add a passion fruit wheel for garnish!
Next up we decided to ‘make your own’. You choose your glass (rocks, martini, champagne flute or highball), choose a gin (they have 8 different gins available on this menu each week) and then choose your flavour (honey, watermelon, cherry, cardamom, star anise, orange blossom, plum, butternut squash and cloves); and then several minutes later – vuala cocktails are delivered to your table! All ‘make your own’ cocktails cost £9.
Here’s what we ordered. Glass – Highball. Gin – Ungava Gin. Flavour – Orange Blossom. This unfortunately wasn’t to either of our tastes and was exceptionally strong. We waited until the ice melted slightly hoping that it would mellow the taste but it didn’t. But that’s the chance you take. It didn’t stop us from ordering more though.
Glass – Martini. Gin – Edinburgh Seaside Gin. Flavour – Cherry. This hit the spot for me but I love most things cherry flavoured. Very drinkable. Loved the sprig of rosemary which you smelt each time you lifted the glass to your lips. A lovely combination.
Whilst drinking these delicious concoctions we ordered some food. We started off with the Scottish Charcuterie Platter (£8) which consisted of a selection of British meats, pickles, balsamic onions and crostini.
The salami, beef and ham were tasty thinly cut slices of meat that complimented the balsamic onions and chutney perfectly. Crostini provided the super crunch and an ideal vessel to pile high with the platter treats.
The balsamic onions were exceptional! Other platters were available including the Seafood Platter (£11) with Edinburgh Gin Cannonball Gin cured smoked salmon; the Mezze Platter (£7.50) with chargrilled vegetables or the Individual Baked Camembert with sourdough (£12).
We also sampled the light bites and ordered 3 dishes from this section of the menu. The Haggis Bon Bons with grain mustard mayo (£6), the Mac & Cheese bites with bloody Mary ketchup (£5.50) and the BBQ ribs (£6). These are the perfect things to order during and after a few cocktails. Haggis Bon Bons were nice and peppery, the mac & cheese balls were a little underseasoned for my taste but dipped in the ketchup made for a nice bite and the ribs were tender and fall off the bone. My preference is the platters and next time will definitely be ordering the Seafood Platter.
On the cocktail front, next up with the Purple Emperor (£8) and another Daisy Cutter. My friend decided to stick with what she knew to be good!
The Purple Emperor usually comes in a teacup but I received mine in a martini glass. They were quite popular on the night and I think all the teacups were in use. The Purple Emperor consists of Heads and Tales gin, Butterfly Syrup (I really hope no butterflies were harmed in the making of this!), triple sec, vanilla and citrus.
Your beautiful rather hypnotic purple drink arrives at the table with a shot glass filled with citrus. The idea is to add the sour to the sweet. As you add the citrus shot to the clear purple liquid it turns a pale shade of pink and transforms the taste completely. Difficult to describe – so just go have one for yourself! It’s good!
Lastly we ordered another ‘make it yourself’ gin cocktail. Glass – martini. Gin – Haymans Old Tom. Flavour – watermelon. The watermelon flavour really shone through in this cocktail and the fresh cucumber smell from the garnish made it even more delicious.
We thoroughly enjoyed our night at Heads and Tales and will definitely be back for more cocktails. Thank you to Heads and Tales for the invite to review. 2 cocktails and the platter were courtesy of Heads and Tales, but as it was all so good we decided to stay on and continue to eat and drink.
Heads & Tales Bar, Featuring the Edinburgh Gin Distillery. 1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD Tel : 0131 656 2811 firstname.lastname@example.org
My spoon award : Silver