In celebration of the Apex Waterloo Place’s 200th birthday, the food and beverage team created ‘the 1819’, a bespoke Scottish dry gin, in association with St Andrew’s distillery Eden Mill. I went along to an exclusive press launch to find out more and to sample some exclusive cocktails paired with some small but perfectly formed plates.
This historic building has seen some celebrities pass through its doors over the last 200 years, including Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and American botanist, Asa Gray, who was the inspiration for this gin, which has been created by the bar staff at the hotel, following a trip to Eden Mill.
This new gin is very exclusive with only 12 bottles created so if you want to try it and some of the bespoke, celebratory cocktails, created by the staff, you’d better be quick. With names inspired by celebrities of old, who have graced the rooms of the Apex, there’s the Dicken’s Delight, The Leopold, Earl’s Martini, The Botanist, and Origin of the Species.
The gin is an exciting floral blend with rosemary and Allspice and Rory Rorison, bar manager at the Apex Waterloo had created some inspired cocktails for our supper.
Everyone started with salmon belly with balsamic vinegar and fresh berries, although my salmon was substituted with beautiful, morsels of succulent chicken. This was paired with a cocktail made with the 1819 gin, fraise de Boise, creme de cassis and lemon tonic. Served without ice, with a garnish of lime and a strawberry rose, it was sweet and smooth and complemented the small plates and the fresh berries perfectly.
This outstanding dish consisted of a flat Isle of Mull Cheddar and Leak Scone, with tarragon mustard, topped with grilled beef and chives. It was paired with the 1819 Gin, Dubonnet, Cherry Brandy, Malbec, Cranberry, Angostura Bitters, Creme de Cassis and garnished with rosemary. It might seem a strange mix but the oakiness of the Angostura bitters, the dryness of the wine and the sweetness of the liqueurs, worked perfectly with this dish where both the cheese scone and beef were the stars of the show.
Very enticing and playful, the final cocktail was a take on a shot and had been designed to complement little chocolate cups, filled with cream and mousse, served on a spoon. These tiny mouthfuls were ‘knocked’ back with a shot of the 1819 Gin, served in a test-tube, which was layered with lemon, honey and ginger ale, creating the taste of a lemon meringue pie when all the flavours combined in the mouth. It was very Alice in Wonderland, and you couldn’t help be tempted to ‘Drink Me’.
If you want to try ‘The 1819’ gin, get yourselves along to the Apex at Waterloo Place. Be quick though – as I said, they only created 12 bottles!
Apex Waterloo Place
23-27 Waterloo Place
Edinburgh EH1 3BG
Tel: 0131 523 1819
Photographs – Copyright – Sandy Young