Iain McPherson, co-owner of two of Edinburgh’s top cocktail bars, Panda & Sons and Hoot The Redeemer, is one half of the duo who have brought a flavour of Leith’s past into the present.
He has teamed up with friend and fellow industry connoisseur Kyle Jamieson (formerly of Bon Vivant, Devil's Advocate and Panda and Sons) to launch the bar, where the concept is to champion Scottish liquor and produce, as well as the history of Leith.
Drawing on Leith’s trading heritage as a key port and taking inspiration from the spice trade, the gin craze, wine and sherry importation and the more recent whisky boom, The Nauticus has sourced almost 90 per cent of its menus from Scottish-made or Scottish-owned brands including Cross Brew coffee liqueur, made in Edinburgh, and Electric Spirit Co gin from Leith. Even the barstools are upholstered in Harris Tweed.
The cocktail menu delves into Leith's rich history, highlighting the importance the area had in terms of global trade. Iain explained that the new bar will have a timeline running all the way through their menu, with each chapter (there are four chapters in all) having drinks based on each era of Leith's illustrious past.
Kyle said: “The pub is a real celebration of the history and local community of Leith. We’re delighted to have the chance to be able to showcase and support so many local suppliers and we are really looking forward to seeing the reaction of our customers.”
Iain said he has never worked in a community pub before and has been bowled over by the welcome it has received from locals.
“Leith is the most evolving area of Edinburgh at the moment and we wanted to highlight seasonal Scottish food and drinks.
“We are surrounded by a good community and it’s been great meeting so many neighbours and getting really good feedback – some have even been in every day since we opened.”
Championing local suppliers, The Nauticus serves Scottish charcuterie from the East Coast Cured Meats Company on Restalrig Road, pork pies from local piemaker Pie Dolly and cheese boards from Old Town born IJ Mellis.
Iain said: “The whole way through our menu it is all Scottish products or Scottish-owned companies – that’s how we worked it.
“We have carefully sourced even our soft drinks so there is a Scottish link.”
"We are 90 per cent Scottish in terms of what we sell (wine was the real tricky part).
"Our house spirits are Pickerings gin, Glen Grant Majors reserve, Blackwoods vodka, Seawolf white rum and Cadenheads classic rum.
The pub’s wine menu will also feature links to Scottish producers.
Iain added that the Scotch layout will differ from other bars, instead of relying on the traditional whisky regions, which he explains are "getting a bit blurry now with smoky Speysides and non smoky Islay malts", Iain says The Nauticus have adopted ‘Light, Bold, Finish, Smoky and Other” categorisations.
The collection of 100 whiskies - curated by Royal Mile Whiskies - will also lean heavily on independent bottlings.
• Pictures courtesy of Laura Meek