Following a sold out run last year, the London-based pop-up Dram & Smoke is returning for a second round north of the border for The Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August with Talisker Whisky.
Within the dramatic setting of a former biscuit factory, the pop-up project is comprised of two ticketed experiences: a top-floor dining event with live music dubbed The Campfire Feasts and, on the ground floor, The Campfire Cocktail Experience with Talisker; the single malt Scotch Whisky Made by the Sea from the Isle of Skye. Both draw on the nostalgia, flavours and ambience of an adventure by the campfire where the culinary wonders of a fleeting Scottish summertime are celebrated, capturing the remote and rugged environment of the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye.
Created by school friends and Edinburgh natives Paul Ross and Nick Fulton, Dram & Smoke is all about the best of Scottish produce. Head Chef, Nick says “We create dishes that are inspired by our home country and we love bigging up the world-class ingredients found there. We are increasingly popping up in both London and Scotland and are delighted to be heading back to our hometown after an unbelievable summer there last year.”
Previously steelyards, sofa factories, leather tanneries and whisky distilleries have all played host to Dram & Smoke events and the vast Biscuit Factory in Leith provides a fitting backdrop for guests to be transported to a woodland hideaway for the evening where they can experience an element of adventure. Flickering camping lanterns, the aroma of pine and smoke, canvas bell tents and tartan blankets set the scene as guests are welcomed into the clandestine space with a Talisker whisky cocktail before being led to the top floor dining room that’s all candlelight, exposed brick, ironwork, glass cupolas and pallet gardens.
The £40 four-course Campfire Feasts menu will be served alongside upbeat tunes with diners sitting at reclaimed timber communal tables where breaking out your ‘spork’ and getting stuck in is the order of the day. As dishes arrive from the theatre of an open kitchen, mess tins, picnic hampers and a host of other camping paraphernalia bring the experience to life. A mix of individually-plated courses and ‘family-style’ elements feature such as the carve-at-the table main course of Pork Ribeye Roast and Venison Cumberland served with Campfire Beans, Rosemary Polenta Chips, Chargrilled Baby Gem & Arran Mustard. A take on a Ploughman’s Picnic with Cauliflower Cheese Soup, Charcoal Loaf & Beer Onions arrives in communal baskets with thermos flasks to be shared. Dessert sees a nod to the classic outdoor pursuit of roasting marshmallows over the fire and brings proceedings to an indulgent close – Barbecued Pineapple, S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich, Trail Mix Brittle, Raspberry & Talisker Whisky Syrup. Herbivores and carnivores alike are welcome as all dietary requirements will be catered for provided that previous notice is given.
Dinner lasts around two hours and thereafter late-night party vibes kick in on the ground floor with live music (including DJs on the weekend) and great drinks – including the full Talisker collection and an extensive cocktail menu. This space will also be home to The Campfire Cocktail Experience with Talisker, which sees a full programme of separately ticketed masterclasses run throughout the month. During these interactive sessions, which cost £10pp and include two drinks, guests will be tutored on the ins and outs of creating great whisky cocktails whilst rolling up their sleeves to put what they learn into practice. In keeping with the elemental spirit of the project, the emphasis is on the provenance of foraged Scottish ingredients and helps make this a place to stimulate both the palate and mind as the sea-salty, smoky and distinctive character of Talisker does its bit to transport guests to the rugged, windblown shores of Scotland.
Dram & Smoke Campfire Feasts will be open for one ticketed dinner service per night from Wednesday to Sunday with the ground floor bar area open for walk-ins throughout. The Campfire Cocktail Experience with Talisker runs multiple sessions throughout the week and is available alongside dinner or separately. No matter which session guests choose, or how crammed that festival schedule is, this slice of Highland campfire hospitality is unmissable for delicious scran, ample bevvy and a healthy dose of general flumgummerie this August.