There is something wonderfully Scottish about a piece-bagger. Just the name gives you a little frisson of excitement as you leave the house at 8am knowing you won’t be returning for at least 12 hours – and that’s only if it ends up a slow night. Girls will be fully prepared, wearing a day-to-night outfit and carrying more make-up than Debenhams Dior counter and boys will stuff an extra £50 into their wallets and… well, that’s it really!
All day at work the anticipation builds and as 4pm comes and goes you know you’re only a hour away from a the largest decision of the day… what cocktail shall I have first?! Tick-tock goes the clock counting down to the moment you turn off the computer, grab your coat and workmates and run faster than Rhona at a 5K as you hurl yourself towards the pub.
#TeamSmallCity did exactly this last Friday with the sole aim of getting drunk enough to comfortably ask Gary-the-new-boy all the questions that are nowadays deemed inappropriate for a workplace. Having heard about Rocablu’s new cocktail menu we made a beeline for the bar, heads buzzing with thoughts of martinis, zombies and Mr Tom Collins. Word on the street is that they have dumped the pre-mixed bases and are mixing top quality spirits with fresh fruit and dry ice to produce – and I quote – ‘the best cocktails in town.’
We arrive at 6pm to a big, warm welcome from Cameron, Rocablu’s mixologist and all-round cool guy. He regales us of stories from life in the Caribbean and learning his craft in a variety of Scottish bars and pubs and with the heady combination of chat, music and all-day-long-anticipation we agree to be wowed (I say agreed like there was any persuasion needed) by his choice of twelve different cocktails. (Nicki was on the mocktails – someone had to take notes!).
I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to good cocktails; the idea that you can use a pre-mix frozen sachet and top it up with cheap Glen’s vodka to call it a cocktail is not one I agree with. I’m with James Bond and Delboy on this matter. They should be mixed to order, using quality spirits, fresh fruits and umbrellas where required. I want the theatre of a skilled mixologist shaking my drinks, a quick taste test using a straw to make sure they’ve nailed it before pouring into a beautiful glass, serving it up on a tray and adding a final flourish of décor to make my heart really soar.
So, did Cameron bring us a cocktail A-Game? You’re damn right and he did! Dry ice spilling from cafetiers, huge glass skulls full of zombie drinks and popping candy atop bubblegum daiquiris – and that was just for starters!
A few drinks in and we were in full on party mode, love-heart shades pulled out of handbags and stories galore spilling out of us almost as quickly as Cameron was pouring the drinks. Most started along the lines of… “I remember this one time we were drinking pernod and water…” OR (everyone over 40 will know what I’m talking about)… “There was this bar called the Café Noir and they did a cocktail happy hour….”.
Squeals of delight went up (mainly from Holly and Rhona to be fair) as Cameron turned the corner with his pornstar martini and as everyone gathered round to share this GIANT glass of cocktail I caught up with him to chat about the new look cocktail list and to find out if I could still get a basic G&T in amongst the theatre!
“Absolutely! We’ve got a great selection of gins, beers and spirits and we’ve really gone all out on the quality. I think people are looking for something a little different when they go out now – things like table service for drinks and made-to-order cocktails are all part of the experience. It’s a bit like a Guinness – if you want something that tastes good, it’s worth the wait. We keep hearing that Perth isn’t ready for this but I think the opposite is true - people in Perth are choosy and they enjoy something a little extra special. It’s not just Edinburgh and Glasgow who deserve the best you know!”
With that he pours me another mocktail – elderflower with fresh berries and mint leaves – and gets to work on a pot of tea that contains Absolut Raspberry, Teichenne Peach Schnapps, strawberry puree and dry ice flooding from the spout. I’ve come over all Alice in Wonderland – the only question is, which of my cohorts is the maddest of the hatters?
Rocablu is open Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm to 12.30pm.
For your chance to win a night in the bar with cocktails for four of your friends, VIP entry to The Loft and prosecco to keep you dancing all night, click over and choose your favourite from our twelve night out cocktails. >>>