I recently embarked on a cocktail tour of St Andrews. Four prime cocktail locations were selected and off I went! My friend Sophie and I were excited to see what The Vic, Forgans, Hotel du Vin and the Westport had to offer.
First up was The Vic
The Vic is always busy, especially on Saturdays so we started here to get a good chat with Steven, the manager, about the new drinks menu before it got too full. The menu in The Vic has always had plenty to choose from but now we’re spoilt for choice! Plus there was new gins to the already extensive gin list like The Botanist and Tanqueray No 10 which was voted the best clear spirit in the world for four years running.
As well as more traditional cocktails to pick from there is everything from gin based cocktails that come with that come in a little teacup and saucer set to skinny cocktails if you are on a diet or you can mix your own punchbowl for £13.50.
We were given what Steven thought was the best four drinks on the menu to showcase the new menu changes and they certainly showed how varied the new menu is!
First up was the Pineapple and Black Pepper Margarita
And yes, it was as good as it sounds and looks! This was your traditional margarita but with a punch. Although don’t worry it wasn’t too spicy as I really can’t anything to spicy! I really liked the twist The Vic put on a classic cocktail and it gave the always tasty frozen margaritas at The Grill House a run for its money!
Next we got the Basil and Vanilla Berry Cocktail
This is quite possibly the healthiest tasting cocktail I’ve ever had. It just tastes like a smoothie, although you probably shouldn’t drink it first thing in the morning as the healthy elements were balanced out with some vodka!
The Swizzle Spice arrived in a very cute miniature milk bottle
The milk bottles are designed to be the cocktail answer to a single spirit – mixer. Something a little different but still around the same price range at £3.50. This one was very different, having a bit of a Christmassy kick. This definitely came from the Sailor Jerry Rum mixed with Amaretto but had a fruity edge with the lime and cranberry juice.
We finished off with a gin variation- the Garden and Tonic
You can pick your choice of gin to go in any of the variations to add your own twist to it but I think we had Tanqueray. I must admit I am not a gin fan… I just don’t like a G&T, but even after I confessed this to Steven he assured me I would like it and he was right. This is the first G&T I’ve ever liked, it tasted so summery! Although it wasn’t your classic G&T it had elderflower, mint, cucumber and lime in there as well. It was absolutely lovely!
Next up was Forgans.
Forgans was really busy, but they managed to squeeze us in at the bar. Forgans’ speciality is cock-ales, where they add ales to their cocktails instead of the usual lemonades or juices. There are four to pick from which are between £5.50 to £6.50 and don’t worry it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a pint!
We firstly had the Bitter Fruit Cock-ale
This contained the most delicious liqueur: Aivy Pear Strawberry and Mint Vodka. So delicious! It was paired with St Germain Elderflower liqueur, some cranberry juice and topped up with Schiehallion ale. It was another summery drink and had it tasted just like home made lemonade- sweet but sharp.
Then we had a Pearberry
The Pearberry was such an interesting cocktail, more things should really have a pear flavour! The pear flavour came from Xante, a pear cognac, and was mixed with Chambord, lemon juice and some sugar syrup then this time topped up with Deuchars IPA.
Afterwards we headed to the recently re-opened Hotel du Vin on The Scores.
Hotel du Vin has jut undergone a massive renovation so it was great to pop in and see how it looks – and tastes!
We were given three cocktails to sample, two from the main bar’s menu and one from downstairs in Ma Bells. And just a reminder – 2 for 1 cocktails have started again in Ma Bells on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays!
From the main bar we had a each bellini, with the very grand name “Hotel Du Vin Bellini Royal”. It contained champagne, Briottet peach liqueur and some peach puree. It was nice and fruity and tasted very luxurious, which you would expect with the champagne in there! This was the most expensive cocktail we sampled at £12, but it would be a lovely treat.
The red coloured cocktail was the El Diablo which you can get for £10. This contained tequila, lime juice and ginger beer; this combination means it was fizzy and spicy with a fruity twist from the fresh raspberries. It was really enjoyable, not quite as fizzy as the bellini so a little easier to drink but the ginger beer gave it a nice kick!
The star of the cocktail show from here had to be our sample from downstairs- the Double Barrel. The Double Barrel is a gin based cocktail (and a nice gin at that- Hendricks) and was lovely. There was some nice cucumber and lime flavours throughout and it was perfect for summer. The great think about this was it wasn’t too gin flavoured- like at The Vic before hand.
Finally we went to The West Port. Where although it was really busy Nicky, the bar manager was really helpful and managed to have a sit down with us about the cocktails on offer.
Unfortunately it was really dark at our table so the photos aren’t the best since I pulled a stool out to a harshly lit corridor to get the photos. The cocktails looked and tasted great, and my photos don’t do them justice!
When I think classic cocktails I tend to think the Westport- so I was really looking forward to sampling them, and they didn’t disappoint. If you like them as much as I did you should like them on Facebook to get a cocktail card for some exclusive offers on them!
First up was the French Martini. I loved this fruity raspberry take on the classic martini. There was raspberry in every element of this cocktail and it provided a really deep flavour- the vodka was Absolut Raspberry then it was topped up with Chambord, lime juice, pineapple juice then fresh raspberries. It was really fruity tasting, almost like smoothie or raspberry ice cream! This was also partly due to the foamy layer on top which Sophie and I made sure to scrape off with a straw to get all of the cocktail!
Then we had the Sloe Gin Fizz. Sloe Gin always reminds me of my Granny as she makes it, but this tastes really modern and fruity! Gordons Sloe Gin was added to Hendricks, Lemon juice, soda and lemonade. It was a really refreshing drink, still quite tart but very summery. I could imagine sipping it outside in their beer garden on a nice day!
Since we ended the night at The West Port it seems appropriate to mention that you can also start the day there- they serve breakfast from 9am every day of the week!
Thanks to everywhere that hosted us on our cocktail, we had a great night and came away with some new cocktail favourites!