The Marcliffe

I’m a lucky boy. On a recent trip to Scotland for the Lonach Gathering, my family treated me to Sunday lunch at The Marcliffe at Pitfodels. Being a bit of a cocktail hound, I was keen to try one of the hotel’s own creations as an aperitif. Among the offerings was the signature ‘The Marcliffe’ cocktail. Clearly, this was the one I was going to try, but the ingredients list puzzled me: it contained both sugar and cassis. When the drink arrived, it was perfectly balanced, and I could not understand how the barman had pulled off a double-sugar drink without it tasking like a shot of reduced grenadine.

Being cheeky, I handed over a Nosey Chef business card and asked if I might have the recipe. The waiter was a little hesitant, and my mother quipped that there was no way I was going to be let into the secret.

Five minutes later, the waiter reappeared with the recipe and a wink.

Boom. Its a sugar cube soaked in cassis. This makes The Marcliffe a direct descendant of the original Champagne Cocktail that soaks a sugar cube in bitters and builds the rest of the drink in a similar way.

Was it good? Yes, and it is a lovely change to the original Champagne Cocktail. If you have some champers open, why not try both and see for yourself?

The Marcliffe

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Serves: 1
Cooking Time: None


  • 1 white sugar cube
  • 10ml crème de cassis
  • 25ml St Germain
  • 25ml brandy
  • Champagne, chilled



Soak the sugar cube in the cassis and place in the bottom of a champagne glass once thoroughly red.


Add the St Germain and the brandy, and top with the champagne.


Garnish with a little twist of lemon peel.


The balance of this drink changes as you drink it down. Some swirling helps it on its way.

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