Posts filed under The Local News

In which we aim for a BSc in vodkaology

It's been a busy little while at ednbrg Towers, what with trying to locate those missing vowels and all. Monday, for example, saw the 42 Below Vodka University roll up to the Voodoo Rooms to launch the 2010 Cocktail World Cup. Thanks to loveable kiwis Jacob and Marty, I now know that New Zealand is home to over 40 million sheep and has been - since 1996 - one of the few countries where home distillation is legal. I also learned that some people, no matter how hard you try, are never going to like a Feijoa-flavored vodka.

I really wish I'd taken some photos of the presentation. First of all, there was vodka tasting which is rarely on my list of top five enjoyable activities. We covered Russian style vodkas (Russian Standard, in this case), Polish style vodka (Belvedere) and what they called a new world style vodka (Ketel One) - meaning Western Europe/America, I'd guess - before moving onto flavored vodka (Zubrowka) and the 42 Below range of Passionfruit, Feijoa, Manuka Honey and Kiwi. While this was going on, there was an animated backdrop projected onto a screen behind Jacob that, at points, showed a giant, laughing Boris Yeltsin head.

After the tasting, we were shown a couple of videos from previous Cocktail World Cups. 42 Below have been hosting the events in New Zealand since 2004, doing things like throwing competitors off a bridge with a bungee cord and a cocktail shaker. The World Cup was described as "the hardest, and most fun" comp ever.

The brand guys then proceeded to the bar to make a mixture of signature cocktails and drinks that had performed well at previous World Cups - including one that had been engineered to taste like a traditional warm, English ale.

All in all, it was a cracking afternoon. There are always downsides, though, and in this case, it was the fact that I had to go to work pretty sharpish after the session.

So. That was Monday.

Posted on June 22, 2009 and filed under Media, The Local News.

The Local News: the loneliest city in Britain

A BBC-commissioned survey has reported that Edinburgh is the loneliest place to live in the UK. Apparently, we're 13% lonelier than we were in 1971, as calculated by the number of unmarried adults and one-person households in the area. Is it possible that - as a city - we're not lonely, we're just crap at hooking up? It's also worth nothing that second place went to London. Yes, the one with more than 11 million residents.


It's depressing news. Given our failure to connect to our communities, I guess the only thing to do is shine lasers into the eyes of airline pilots as they attempt to land, or leave unexploded WW2 bombs lying around in school grounds.

Yes, nothing is happening in this city. It's probably why it needs £600m to ride out the economic downturn. Here are some of the stories that didn't make the cut:

  • Baby protein 'could help bowels'.
  • Mine discovered in Forth blown up.
  • Keep an eye out for albino squirrels and other ghostly sights.

Because seriously, albino squirrels will break into your house and steal your Christmas presents. And your kids.

(Lonely Old House photo from Dingbat2005's Flickr photostream. Albino Squirrel from

Posted on December 10, 2008 and filed under The Local News.

The Local News: no Indy, no Ackroyd

Bar jobs have the unfortunate effect of entirely rewiring your calendar. It's like working a 9-5, but one that starts at 6pm with weekends running Tuesday-Wednesday. Essentially, my internal clock is running roughly on Pacific Standard. In the middle of next week. This is relevant because it means I miss a bunch of interesting things if they happen over what the rest of civilisation calls the weekend, such as a mysterious and possibly ancient artifact going on display just up the road from my flat.

For one day.

The object in question is one of the fabled crystal skulls, the handiwork of either an ancient South American civilisation or skilled forgers in the 1950s and the inspiration for both the most recent Indiana Jones movie and a new, frankly insane vodka fronted by famed Ghostbuster Dan Ackroyd.

In other news, a City Councillor has proposed to ease congestion in the City Centre by introducing a pedestrian 'fast-lane' on Princes Street, despite research that suggests a similar effect could be achieved by introducing capital punishment for buskers, mimes and charity muggers*.

Elsewhere, controversy reigns as the localpress proclaims Edinburgh to be the UK's greenest city - behind only five other cities, according to Treehugger.

Finally, coming soon to ednbrg, the return of posts about cocktails. Crazy, I know.

* There's a decent chance that this is a lie.

Posted on November 24, 2008 and filed under Links, The Local News.

The Local News: under review

After all of last week's electoral excitement, it's been a quieter week round these parts. It hasn't been a week without danger, but the threat of Edinburgh losing its World Heritage Site status has lifted with the news that "the overall state of conservation is absolutely fine." Other World Heritage Sites include the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the ancient city of Thebes and its Necropolis, all places characterized by their short supply of Buckfast and deep-fried Mars bars.

There hasn't been any real chance of Scotland losing touch with its heritage: just last year, our finest bartenders spent an evening beating the best England had to offer in the 2007 Liquid War. This year's final took place in Glasgow earlier this evening with North vs. South contests in flair and mixology. Results when they're posted, which will probably be when the hangovers clear up. Sometime in February, then.

In the meantime, if you wanted to infuse that hard-won heritage with a touch of international style, then Totty Rocks on Victoria Street can furnish you with a handbag. This handbag, in fact. For £3,250.

And finally, it's time to wish everyone at Bramble a very happy second birthday - they just announced their own bouncing baby blog! They're also clearly not getting a present, what with all the awards and international acclaim they've gained over the past two years.

Seriously, let someone else with something for once.

(Edinburgh panorama from George L Smyth's photostream on Flickr, under a Creative Commons licence.)

Posted on November 17, 2008 and filed under Links, The Local News.