Once upon a time the discerning Edinburgh drinker saw cocktails as hideous blue things, with umbrellas and sparklers, fit for immature palates and the weekend disco-mating crowd – or something that only popped up in old movies. However, back in 2006, Bramble sneaked on the scene in its New Town basement: discreet, skilled, hip and staffed by enthusiasts. With its alcoves, distressed look, tea lights and relaxed, speakeasy feel, it was a slow-burning hit – the kind of place where peated spirit from the Glenglassaugh distillery in Aberdeenshire - too young to be sold as whisky - could be transformed into a sublime cocktail thanks to the ministrations of experts.
Glenglassaugh doesn’t supply that spirit anymore, but Bramble still does great drinks from a deft gin and tonic to complicated cocktails laced with a sense of humour. The venue opens just in time for the city centre crowd knocking off work, closes after midnight, and has DJs on Friday and Saturday.
Mostly Bramble takes itself seriously; a Brightside (gin, Aperol, lemon juice, rose water and sage) is sophistication in a glass. Fun is far from absent though. For instance, you can take gin, vodka, raspberry syrup, honey, yoghurt and granola milk to make a drink to start the day. The name? The Molly Ringwald in honour of The Breakfast Club star.