I’m sat in the window seat of a fourth floor tenement apartment on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile; following a day of glorious sunshine, the sky has returned to it’s usual sullen self, with dusky blue clouds dancing slowly beyond the skyline. From here I can see the whisky shops lining the Mile and, with my albaphile head on, I’ve decided that this is the perfect time and place to write up my review of the latest addition to Stamford’s night scene, The Single Cask, a bar that specialises in single cask Scotch whisky (premium whiskies which have been bottled from a single ageing barrel instead of being blending together from different casks).
Owner and whisky aficionado, Ben ‘The Whisky Daddy’ Curtis, sources the very best whiskies from a number of family-owned and independent distilleries, which are then bottled under his own whisky label, ‘The Single Cask’. Ben, who is based in Singapore, has been importing some of the best single cask whiskies to South East Asia for years (he also owns a whisky bar there) and decided to open up a second bar here in Stamford, closer to his nearby family.
Located on St Mary’s Hill, The Single Cask opened it’s doors for business in March, offering locals an intimate, grown-up venue to enjoy a stiff drink. With restrained masculine decor, The Single Cask feels like a sophisticated highland bothy; low ceilings, dark walls and amber lighting cast against the walls like candlelight, give the bar an inviting, snug feel, perfect for cosying down and igniting the furnace within with a flight of whisky.
Enthusiasts can choose from a staggering selection of over 300 whiskies, with member’s lockers to store a favourite bottle in, ready for you to pour as you please when frequenting the bar; whilst whisky-based cocktails are the call of the day for those who can’t handle the water of life neat (myself included).
The preparation of each drink is like theatre in action, with mixologist Guy expertly marrying whiskies with an array of ingredients to make both classic and experimental cocktails (all £10), my favourite of which is the Whisky Sour, which was definitely the best I’ve had and blew my socks off (the drinks here are potent), followed closely by the Espresso Martini, the complexity of which changes significantly with the substitution of vodka for whisky- it was recommended to me by a Stamford Foodie follower and these two cocktails, in my humble opinion, are the most quaffable things in town- they are outrageously good.
Fortunately, The Single Cask also serve food, in the form of burgers and fries, paninis, salads, ‘hearty bowls’, nibbles and cake. I opted for the trio of sliders (£9) and fries served with a fantastic whisky bbq sauce. The food is freshly prepared by chef Liam; the burgers were really tasty and perfect for soaking up some of those whisky drinks!
The Single Cask has got this incredibly grown up vibe to it (I guess whisky is an acquired taste and perhaps wouldn’t draw in younger drinkers?) nevertheless, the atmosphere is always inviting, Tom (manager) and Guy are great fun to chat with, the drinks are fab, as is the food, and some really decent music (obscure tracks I have on my Spotify playlists that non-one else seems to have heard of apart from Guy).
The Single Cask is just a few minutes from my front door, which kinda makes it my local and I am thrilled to be able to call it that- if you haven’t been already, get yourself down there; if whisky’s not your thing but you want to see what it’s all about, then worry not, because Prosecco and gin-based cocktails are available.
The Single Cask,
16 St Mary’s Hill,
01780 753 389