Before saying a teary goodbye to Edinburgh and boarding the plane back to London town, we had the pleasure of one last night in the city. This meant we had the chance to visit one of Edinburgh’s newest bars, and one that’s been on our radar for a while. Situated within a stone’s throw from Haymarket station, we decided to pitch up at the Voyage of Buck.
The Voyage of Buck review: Who IS Buck?
Named after their fictional traveller, the eponymous philanthropist, polo player and traveller, William ‘Buck’ Clarence was a character. That much is obvious. He was a traveller. A rogue. A 19th Century wanderlusting explorer. And that’s exactly what you’ll experience from the menu. You can select over 60 cocktails based on the cities and countries our make believe explorer Buck visited, from Paris to Taipei, from Cairo to Chile. Each location is based on a flavour. You won’t be surprised to find Paris cocktails are full of sparkling wine and champers, while Havana is all about the rum.
Given how much we love to travel, the menu based on Buck’s travels really struck a chord with us. And the venue itself is dotted with artefacts and curios from his travels across the globe. Many of the cocktails have a story behind them too.
The Voyage of Buck’s Anna May Wong
Take our first drink, the Anna May Wong. She was the first Asian-American actress who took it upon herself to challenge stereotypes, puzzling journalists and critics who couldn’t understand how a woman with jet-black hair, ivory skin and dark, almond eyes could be *GASP* American. HOW CAN IT BE?! She was excluded from high society and those glitzy ‘you aren’t welcome unless you’re white’ Hollywood parties but conducted herself with poise and elegance regardless. There were no scandals, no. And with Tanqueray, Plum Sake and a preserved Lychee, that’s exactly what the cocktail exhumes. It looks as gorgeous as Anna May did, and tastes as powerful as she sounded.
The Mummy’s Curse lives with Carter and Carnarvon
From Taipei to Cairo, we stumbled across one of our favourite cocktails ever. Full stop. A bold claim I hear you say. the Carter and Carnarvon – two English explorers who discovered the tomb of the Egyptian Pharoah Tutankhamun (and whose deaths started the rumours of the Mummy’s Curse – is based on a fig-infused Monkey Shoulder and comes in the most stunning little bottle. You can pour as much or as little as you like, and trust me, it’s one you’ll want to savour. After chatting with the bar staff, it’s little surprise it’s one of their favourites too. It’s the best twist on a classic cocktail – a Negroni in this case – we’ve had. Smooth, strong and sublime. Rather like a featherweight body builder covered in baby oil. Scrap that. Sorry for the terrible image. But seriously. It was great.
Making Bacon with Daisy
So how do you top something like that? With a cocktail topped with a slice of bacon of course! The Hot Pepper Daisy – another flavour from Cairo – blends Cointreau with grilled pineapple syrup, and is dressed with a cured rasher of smoked bacon on top. Does this go too far in the name of a funky cocktail? We don’t think so. That’s how far cocktails have come.
Although we didn’t have food for our flying visit, you can grab a bite to eat if you want something to soak up all the (very delicious) spirits. Ranging from light bites to juicy steaks, it’s a beautiful place to unwind after a hard week at work. Or for meeting friends. Or for a first date. OK so it’s pretty great for any kind of occasion. If there’s a cocktail with a slice of bacon on it, do you really need an excuse to visit?
We would compare Voyage of Buck to London’s Three Six Six. It’s one of those places that isn’t afraid to push boundaries and create drinks that wow and inspire new flavours and concoctions. With actual potions and a grand array of spirits available, we absolutely, 100%, definitely would recommend everyone pays a visit.
Voyage of Buck | 29-31 William Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom | 0131 225 5748 | Facebook
*update* Head bartender Mike McGinty took part in the UK national Patron challenge in London in November 2016. He did rather well – he won!