Monteith’s Close in Edinburgh Feels Like Home – and Then There’s the Outsider Cocktail

March 13, 2019

Monteith’s Close in Edinburgh Feels Like Home – and Then There’s the Outsider Cocktail


OK, I’ll admit it, I’m picky. I travel a fair bit and want to be treated right at dinner. Whether it’s a hotel lobby bar/restaurant, a local comfort food classic like the Ensign Ewart in Edinburgh or a fancy foodie spot, I want to feel like the joint is glad I’ve darkened their door.

Monteith’s Close

Enter Monteith’s Close on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where I had the privilege to dine last month. Wow, do they know how to treat a gal!

Even though it was hard to get a table and very clear that the restaurant would be packed within the hour, I was greeted at Monteith’s Close with a smile and the sincere offer to have a drink at the bar before being seated. I declined and went directly to my table, but it was really nice to know they weren’t going to rush me.

Great food, welcoming staff, perfect ambience

Making people happy is the real product being served at Monteith’s. The staff is ready to consult on menu and drink choices to help you design the perfect dining experience.

The Outsider Cocktail Experience

I don’t usually have a cocktail, but when I asked for something unique to Monteith’s, the waitress beamed. She told me proudly that their bartender was in the Bacardi Legacy contest as a UK finalist, representing all of Scotland, with his creation, the Outsider Cocktail. He brought it to me himself, also beaming.

Ken Langenfeld and the Outsider Cocktail

“As a former chef at a Michelin star restaurant, Ken Langenfeld thrives on the creativity involved in bartending despite his mantra being one of simplicity. BACARDÍ Legacy 2019 marks his first time entering a cocktail competition, but his love of the outdoors and foraged ingredients have wowed the judges so far, coming together in his ‘The Outsider Cocktail’.”

eat, drink, sleep article, feb. 1, 2019

The Outsider Cocktail was a thing of beauty, and dangerously delicious, with dark rum (Bacardi, of course), lime juice, absinthe, black currant jam and something I’d never heard of, lime oleo saccharum.

The Outsider Cocktail

A 3-Appetizer Meal, All Scottish, All Good

The Outsider Cocktail was just the start! I had a 3-appetizer meal, chosen carefully with guidance from my lovely waitress, and was very happy with my selections. They were very Scottish, very foodie-worthy, and very good.

Haggis Bonbons with Bloody Mary Ketchup
Grilled Queenie Scallops with Chervil and Lemon Butter
Heritage Tomatoes with Burrata and Basil Oil

The Outsider Recipe

You can make this at home!

The Outsider Cocktail
By Ken Langenfeld

Glass: Nick & Nora glass
Garnish: Discarded lime zest
Method: Shake all ingredients with cubed ice and double strain into Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a discarded lime zest.

  • 50ml Bacardi Ocho Reserva Rum
  • 25ml fresh lime juice
  • 10ml lime oleo saccharum
  • 2 bar spoons of blackcurrant jam
  • 2 dashes of absinthe

The bartender / cocktail creator Ken Langenfeld can be found on Instagram at Kenyoushake, the Outsider Cocktail. The UK winner in the Bacardi Legacy contest will advance to the international finals, to be held in Amsterdam in May. Good luck to you, Ken!

Oleo Saccharum

So what is this “oleo saccharum” stuff, anyway? I’d never heard of it before my visit to Monteith’s Close, but if it was a part of why the Outsider Cocktail was so rockin’, I need to know about it! Online research revealed that it is a wonderful citrus oil and sugar concoction, and super-easy to make. Saveur’s online magazine provides a recipe and describes it as: “a complicated name for a simple concept: syrup loaded with citrus essential oils that give amazing depth to mixed drinks”.

A Happy Place – I’ll Be Back

I wasn’t the only happy person at Monteith’s Close. It’s a happy place.

So, the next time I get to Edinburgh, guess where I’m going for dinner? And guess which cocktail I’m going to order??

7 thoughts on “Monteith’s Close in Edinburgh Feels Like Home – and Then There’s the Outsider Cocktail”

  • Sounds absolutely heavenly. I have never had absinthe, nor do I know what it consists of, but I do know it was responsible for the death of the famous Moulin Rouge artist. I am not sure I have ever seen it here. The dinner and the treatment sounds outstanding though.

    • Hi Anne, you’re right, absinthe had a bad name for a long, long time. Green Fairy, it was called for a while, and Green Monster, too. It was blamed for many a death and many more crazy actions. The feeling about absinthe being a craven, rotting influence went viral even before social media (early in the 20th centruy). But it turns out that its power was the same as any other alcohol, and after being banned for decades, it came back ‘in’ in the 90s. New Orleans has a great – and little known- museum, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (see which has a great exhibit about absinthe and its ill-fated and undeserved reputation.

  • I’ll have to check this place out next time I’m in Edinburgh. It’s cool you got to try a potentially award winning cocktail too 🙂

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