Review: Potion Making 2.0 at The Cauldron

Megan Amato takes her cocktail ‘potion making’ to the next level at The Cauldron in Edinburgh.

EDINBURGH’S magic aficionados, fantasy lovers, and cocktail enthusiasts alike may have experienced magic meeting science with the Cauldron’s molecular cocktail making sessions. However, the Cauldron Edinburgh – along with its six other locations – has launched a new and improved “Potion Making 2.0” that aims to heighten each wizard and witch’s experience.

Press and friends were invited to its cosy Fredrick Street location, nestled in a dark but definitely not dingy basement and decorated with objects inspired by many of classic fantasy books lore. I had been to the Cauldron once previously and had immensely enjoyed the experience, so I was keen to discover what new concoctions the magicians had conjured up for us.

Inside The Cauldron in Edinburgh

After American co-founder David Duckworth, who describes the Cauldron as an entertainment company, introduced the new experience format and the thought that went behind it – and the Cauldron Edinburgh’s manager, Neil Fisher, explained how that would translate to the Edinburgh branch – we were allowed to pick one out of four potions to brew and settled on the warm-sounding “Time Transfixed”.

The Cauldron in Edinburgh - potions

While we waited for our materials, we were invited to pour aperitifs straight from the horse’s – or, in this case, dragon’s basilisk and another beast that I couldn’t immediately identify – mouth. As per my previous visit, we were given the choice between a non-alcoholic drink, cocktail and draught before being whisked back to our seats.

My guest and I sipped the same lychee-based cocktail, our eyes widening a little as our “Potions Master” brought us a complicated-looking contraption, along with six unmarked vials in a small crate. Turning to our potions book, we read over the instructions a few times before feeling confident enough to start.

The Cauldron in Edinburgh - potion book

Feeling like we were back in high school, we filled our hourglass with what we hoped was the right vial, added a funnel, mixed in fresh spice and summoned our potions master for the “Pit of Hellfire” – aka a Bunsen burner.

The Cauldron in Edinburgh - bunsen burner

After we watched our brew boil up to the top of the hourglass, we added another vial asked our positions master for a mysteriously sounding and dubious looking “owl pellet”. Once we poured our drink over the pellet and into our glass, however, “oohs” could be heard as dry ice poured from our glasses. The drink itself was perfect for the colder Edinburgh evening, full of citrus and spice and quite boozy.

While we picked one of the more complicated spells – we watched our table-mates make a bubbling “Blood Boiling Curse” that took half the time – I was delighted to have gone through the interactive experience. Duckworth spoke the right words: you don’t come to the Cauldron for a drink (or not only); you come to be entertained, as we thoroughly were.

Along with the new experiences, the Cauldron has also launched an ever-changing “Wizards Around the World” drinks menu, inspired and created by each of its seven locations in the UK and US. The Cauldron Edinburgh’s contribution is the “Cauldron Stiff Tea”, a gin-based cocktail along with an alcohol-free satsuma lychee punch.

Visit its website for more information.

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.

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The Cauldron in Edinburgh