Milroy’s meets Waterford: Soho’s most exciting mixologist creates a whiskey cocktail



Martyn ‘Simo’ Simpson recently reinstated Milroy’s of Soho – the capital’s oldest whiskey bar – to its former glory. The night before our shoot, he was celebrating the fact that The Vault, the secret speakeasy underneath Milroy’s, had been named Soho’s best cocktail bar in the Time Out Love London Awards.

Here, Simo creates a whiskey cocktail exclusively for Waterford.

Reimagining the history of Milroy’s

How do you go about reinstating a Soho institution back to its 1960s glory? We caught up with Simo, who shares the story of Milroy’s.

Live. Love. Toast. : Hi Simo, can you tell us a bit about the history of the place?

Simo: “Milroy’s of Soho was established in 1964 by Jack and Wallis Milroy. They used to go up to Scotland and bring Scotch back in their vans.

“After they made their first big sale, they bought two big Bentleys and used these Bentleys to transport it. They were pioneers – they gave birth to the whiskey revolution of the 1960s and their name is still synonymous around the world with whiskey.

“They are big characters – I think Jack has died three times. But he’s still alive today!

“In the 1990s, though, they sold to big corporations. It was losing its Soho feel and there was no face to it. They used to supply my old restaurant, the Coal Vaults and it broke my heart a bit.

“I saw an opportunity, got some investors and took over at the beginning of 2015.

“I wanted to take it over and reinstate it to its 1960s glory. So I refurbished the shop and put a cocktail bar (The Vault) in the basement. Milroy’s is back to being a proper Soho institution.”

Last night was a good night for you, we hear?

“Yes we won Time Out Love London Awards for best cocktail bar in Soho, so we are pretty chuffed.”

Can you tell us about Milroy’s today?

“Our vision is to  give an interesting selection to our customers. Whiskey has the largest taste profile of any drink in the world. We have more than 450 whiskeys here in the shop and all of them taste different! Many are exclusive to us, there are a lot of single cask independent distillers, so we think we offer something pretty new and intriguing.

“My favourite whiskey is a Kilchoman, an Islay whiskey. It has a lovely peaty note on it, a sea-salty air. Puts hairs on your chest!”


For a taste of whiskey, Simo-style, mix this cocktail over ice, strain and serve over ice.

East India Trading Company

  • 40 ml Amarut whisky
  • 7.5ml of Barolo Chinato
  • 5ml Campari
  • Kümmel wash in the glass (Kümmel is a liqueur flavoured with caraway seed, cumin and fennel.)


Milroy’s of Soho is at 3 Greek Street, London W1D 4NX. Telephone: 020 7734 2277. The Vault is open Tuesday – Thursday 6pm to 11.30pm and Friday and Saturday 5pm – 11.30pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.


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