Scotland’s bartending scene has seen quite a few new and rather exciting developments this year. Not the least of which is the founding of the SSPB – or Scottish Society for Professional Bartenders to you and me – which looks to form a hub for ‘tenders to get involved, share their knowledge and hear about other new and… well… exciting developments – such as updates on World Class (yay for me!), Tapatio, Grand Marnier and Wray & Nephew. It’s competition season, after all.
To date, I’ve observed one or two other groups nationally which have set out with a similar objective – Barmageddon in the North of England springs to mind – and with Martin Duffy of 56 North at the helm, I have no doubt that the SSPB will do just what it has set out to achieve. This has been a long time coming for Scotland’s ‘tenders. There is a ludicrous amount of talent in Scotland – not just for drinks, after all, we gave the world Lightbulbs, Bicycle clips, Telephones (shut it, Marconi) and more-importantly-than-all-that we gave the world Whisky without an ‘e’. Adam Elmegirab, whose range of Bitters have already spread far across the globe, has been instrumental in putting oil-centric Aberdeen into the global cocktailian lexicon. With all that in mind, and a population nationally that just about scrapes up to London totally, we pack significant clout. Gentleman Bartenders, who for all of our Tequila-shooting mischief, remain professional ‘tenders, to the end.
There’s a new project brewing on Thistle Street, very much in the city-centre hub where some of the very best talent in Edinburgh operates. Being involved and not wishing to tempt fate too much (licence in application, you see), a new off-sales and delicatessen with a bent towards high-quality spirits, exciting hard-to-find wines, with luck cocktail equipment, and in time, a potential training centre for hospitality staff. Sounds ambitious? Quite. Just what Edinburgh’s hospitality trade is crying out for, and frankly, I’m quite keen on the idea of an easily accessed location where one can obtain a decent bottle of Tequila without paying £50 and winding up stuck with Patron, since that’s what most retailers think qualifies. Watch the space at 51 Thistle Street, people, because exciting things are going to happen.
Oh, and in other news, I’m now doing some brand work for Martin Miller’s gin. Should you have any interest in some training events, gin cocktail masterclasses, or have a bar and want to know how we can help support you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.