It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Scotland’s national drink, ‘the water of life’. In fact some years ago, although I’m not exactly sure why, I was invited by the Scottish Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile to become an unofficial ambassador, which in essence means that when I have guests visiting, I encourage them to go to this quaint visitor attraction to learn more about whisky.
In fact I’m on a mission to encourage my friends and visitors to Edinburgh to try and appreciate Scotland’s national drink. Granted not all of them will like it but to me it’s about educating them that just three to four ingredients go into making a drink that is so complex and diverse that surely they will find one that they like.
So if you too would like to be educated about the finer points of whisky, then this five star visitor attraction, with ‘high-tech exhibits and a barrel ride’, located at the top of Castlehill near Edinburgh Castle, is a good starting point.
And whilst you’re there you may as well pop into Cannonball Bar, the stunning new whisky bar created by two long-standing family businesses, Ian Macleod Distillers, owners of Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Victor and Carina Contini, the long-established Edinburgh restauranteurs, who have joined forces.
Offering a selection of over 120 of the finest malt whiskies, including the full Glengoyne and Tamdhu collections, and a contemporary menu of lunch meals and light bites, Cannonall Bar is certainly firing on all cylinders.
In addition to the new bar, they’ve also created a private event space, The Glengoyne Room, which can cater for up to 40 people. Located on the basement level offering a wonderful space for bespoke events, including private whisky tastings, dinners and corporate events, this space has risen like a phoenix from what was formerly a gelataria.
As Carina Contini said: ‘Whilst it was a long held dream to open an ice-cream parlour to complement some of their other offerings, perhaps opening one in Scotland, with our less than fair share of good weather, wasn’t the best business idea.”
To me this partnership is a match made in heaven between my favourite whisky (try the Glengoyne 21 year old which is Christmas in a glass) and an established family business that put passion and love into everything they do.
Carina Contini said: “At Contini we are all about family and offering our customers a fantastic eating and drinking experience. We’re so happy to be collaborating with Glengoyne, who share our ethos and passion.
“In addition to the superb Glengoyne and Tamdhu collections, we offer a vast selection of whiskies from all over Scotland. So no matter your preference, you’re bound to find the dram of your dreams at Cannonball Bar.”
And I too challenge you not to find a whisky you’ll like too.
The talented team of chefs, overseen by Executive Chef, Susan O’Connor, have also developed some delicious Glengoyne tasting menus, which can be enjoyed in the Cannonball Restaurant and Bar.
You may have to wait until the Edinburgh Tattoo is finished though as they will be hosting various Tattoo dinners during August and are fully booked. It’ll be worth waiting as their views of Edinburgh Castle are stunning and possibly one of the best in Edinburgh.
If the canapés on offer at the launch night are anything to go by, which included: asparagus velouté, home-smoked pigeon breast with elderflower and rhubarb relish served on toast, Belhaven smoked salmon misted with Glengoyne, followed by salted Glengoyne caramels, Glengoyne truffles and cranachan on shortbread, served with some playful Glengoyne whisky cocktails based on the classic Rob Roy and a champagne cocktail, you’re in for a treat.
For the Glengoyne Tasting Menus, as well as other options, please see here.
Cannonball Bar will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am until late. A full list of whiskies on offer can be found here. They also have live music on Tuesday to Thursday evenings.