four and a half cocktails + a shot


also known as:
Celebrating  Turning 21 in Scotland Part 2
A Review of Three Cocktail Bars

As much as I enjoyed my classy birthday spending time with my parents and eating at fancy restaurants that give free Prosecco, I also wanted to celebrate my super-legal-ness in the more traditional (but not unclassy, of course) way – with alcohol. As a lover of cocktails, it comes as no surprise that I organized a cocktail crawl!

Starting from Teviot, we were planning to hit three bars that night: The Devil’s advocate, Dragonfly, and Lebowskis.

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First, Devil’s Advocate. Ironically, the first bar we hit was a bit of a last minute addition. Originally I had the Jazz bar as the first stop, but swapped that for the Devil’s Advocate for convenience – though I still plan to visit the Jazz Bar at some point! The Devil’s Advocate is hidden within Advocate’s close off the Royal Mile.

We were greeted (read carded) immediately as we walked in, handed menus, and ushered to the bar. After spending a couple moments deciphering the menu, I ordered the “Black Dog”  – a mixture of Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch, Cocchi Torino Sweet Vermouth, Smoked Strawberry, Lemon, and Charcoal with a dried/candied strawberry for garnish. What does that all mean? Essentially, it tasted like a strawberry whisky sour but significantly less sour. I really liked how they used egg white in this cocktail!

Intrigued by the idea of seaweed in a cocktail, Billy ordered the “Fisherman’s Folly,” which was surprisingly light and tasted vaguely like drinking the sea (in the best way). Charlie got the “Curiosity killed the Captain” which was kind of like a watermelon-lime jolly rancher? She didn’t finish it, and gave me the other half. Annie and Vanessa ordered rose and red wine respectively (classy af). Clara got a coke (she was feeling a bit ill).

Overall, the Devil’s Advocate gets a 3 from me. I LOVE the fact that all their drinks are taken from Scottish Folklore (e.g. the Kelpies inspired a series of “sea” ish drinks), so it might be a great place to show off to someone just visiting, and it IS a nice place (ambiance – intimate) especially for dinner, but the drinks were pretty expensive and they weren’t THAT good. Here, you can read my full Yelp review XD

Next we walked  down Victoria Street and through Grass Market to Dragonfly. Emily Dawson – my Edinburgh Buddy- told me about this place on our first buddy’s hangout, so I was really looking forward to visiting…

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and Dragonfly doesn’t disappoint. at all. This is a place that can DO COCKTAILS (not like a bar that also does cocktails on the side). Their menu is full of innovative mixes and they treat cocktails here as a form of art (read: they KNOW how to garnish). [Yelp Review]

I ordered a Raspberry Ripple (a classic at Dragonfly) which tasted sort of like a raspberry milkshake, but not too sweet. It’s got Absolut Vanilla, Absolut Raspberri, cream, milk, fresh raspberries and a hundreds and thousands rim that really pulled the drink together. Sigh… such nice composition.Emily ordered a Patna Daiquiri, which had Kwai Feh Lychee Liqueur and passion fruit; she can now confirm that passion fruit seeds are not edible. Billy got the Espresso A-Go-Go which has two shots of espresso; 16 hours later, he still hasn’t fallen asleep…. Alex ordered the Pineapple under the C (which just tasted tropical to me). Caroline ordered Botanist gin and tonic garnished with grapefruit (well done to both the drink design and the selection 👏🏼 ).

Round 2 consistent of the Ivan Drago: Absolut Citron, Kahlua, milk, cream, and poppy seeds and… a PROPER tequila shot – salt, lime, and the shot (it can’t be a 21st if you don’t take one shot right?) I think I did okay…. I mean no one’s injured, nothing was set on fire, and my clothes stayed mostly dry.

And the best part about Dragonfly? We broke cupcakes.

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Left to right: Emily, Billy, Annabel, Elizabeth, Annie, Charlie, Vanessa. Not pictured: Caroline, Alex, Clara

I bought a dozen or so cupcakes to celebrate (what’s a birthday without cake?!) and with cocktails in hand, we divvied up strawberry, chocolate, and red velvet cupcakes. Thanks @Tesco for making decent cupcakes.

Everyone sang happy birthday – BONUS Elizabeth, Charlie, and Billy are in choir, and pretty much everyone at the table had some musical training – so it was REALLY well sung and I even had a tea light to blow out to make a wish! #perfect. Somewhere on snapchat, there’s an adorable video of me blowing out the tea light, but blowing so hard that it popped out of the candle holder. Literally everything about this was perfect and the best birthday celebration I could have asked for ❤

At this point, we lost most of the group (not surprising as midnight was upon us!) After giving many many hugs and making people promise to message once they got home safe, we headed out to the last bar – Lebowskis.

If you’re googling “best cocktail bars in Edinburgh” as I have done many times, Lebowskis won’t always come up. It’s not because it’s not a good bar, but because it’s a little too niche. The only cocktails Lebowskis serves are variations on a “white Russian.” Lucky for me, white russians are my favorite cocktail so Lebowskis is the place for me; it comes in at a 4/5 [Yelp Review].

Here, I ordered the Walter (Classic white russian with chocolate milk and chocolate syrup) and Emily ordered the Brandt (Honey Vodka, white chocolate liqueur, and milk).. it was lovely. I probably would have ordered another one… but the bar was closing, we needed to head home, and I probably shouldn’t…

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If you’ve been keeping track – it’s been four and a half cocktails and a proper tequila shot – and even with all that, I still passed Charlie’s drunk test (so I wasn’t drunk right?).

I could not have been happier at the end of the night. Yes, the drinks were brilliant and it was a TON of fun exploring Edinburgh night life, but the best best part was the people. I am so honored and grateful to have such an awesome group of friends. Friends who gave me 4ish hours of their time to come celebrate with me. Friends who walked ~2 miles, while braving the Edinburgh wind. Friends who chose me over salsa, sleep, or school work. Friends who came out even if they were a bit sick. Friends who made sure I stayed safe throughout the night and made it back safe at the end. They truly made the night spectacular ❤



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