With the gin craze still in full swing, why not try one of these capital gin bars to celebrate International G&T day?

Scotland is one of the largest producers of gin in the world, it is no wonder our cities are opening gin bars left, right and centre, and Edinburgh is no exception.

Each of these bars offer a wide range of the spirit from Scottish-made to flavoured – to be enjoyed as a simple G&T or in a fancy cocktail. You can even see the Edinburgh Gin stills in one pub.

With International Gin and Tonic Day just around the corner,  here are our pick of the best in Edinburgh.

56 North

(56 North, 2 West Crosscauseway, EH8 9JP)

Edinburgh gin bars

Picture: South Loch Gin

With about 400 different gins stocked behind the bar, 56 North boasts one of the most extensive ranges in the country. The team have recently started their own distillery in the bar, and are creating South Loch gin, which is well worth a try.

If you’re a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of gins then don’t be afraid to ask the staff as they’re very knowledgeable and helpful, so much so that they scooped  Gin Bar of the Year at the 2017 Scottish Gin Awards.

Inside the gin menu you’ll find categories such as citrus, oriental spice and teas, seaside, historic, floral and ‘mad flavours,’ which includes the likes of spiced chocolate orange or mocha.

If you’d like something a bit different then 56 North host gin experiences, which include a gin and cheese tasting, distillery tasting and cocktail and new for 2020, a regional gin tasting.

One Square

(1 Festival Square EH3 9SR)

Edinburgh gin bars

Picture: One Square

Housed in Edinburgh’s branch of the international Sheraton hotel chain, One Square has its own bespoke gin from Pickering’s, named after itself, so you know they are serious about gin. Made with Mediterranean liquorice, orris root, juniper and Scottish heather.

Championing Scottish gins, and sporting an impressive collection of over 100 premium gins, One Square also recently launched their regular ‘Ginnasium’ gin tasting masterclasses (£35pp) that are perfect for both novices and connoisseurs alike.

If all this sampling of gin has you peckish then nab a table that overlooks Edinburgh castle and tuck into dishes that showcase the best in seasonal British produce.

Juniper

(20 Princes St, EH2 2AN)

Edinburgh gin bars

Picture: Juniper

With a name like Juniper you know you are safe hands when it comes to gin.

This hotel bar specialises in gin cocktails, even going as far as to create their own juices and infusions to ensure that their drinks are the freshest on the block.

Some of the cocktails are spectacular, such as the Strawberries and Steam, which is made with strawberry infused Brokers Gin, Lillet Blanc, Crème de Fraise, cranberry juice, lemon, vanilla and red berry tea.

If you’re looking for a simple G&T, the bar stocks over 50 gins, and the staff are passionate, knowledgeable and always available to make a suggestion for the perfect serve to go with your chosen gin.

As the bar is located on Princes Street, you can also be guaranteed a delightful panorama of the city.

The Jolly Botanist

(260 Morrison St, EH3)

Edinburgh gin bars

Picture: The Jolly Botanist

With Victorian-inspired interiors, this dedicated gin bar is located close to Haymarket train station and was named Edinburgh’s Best Bar in 2016.

Since then its won multiple awards for its gin and cocktail selection and is the perfect place to learn more about this popular spirit.

With over 60 brands of gin on offer, you can find out more about each one from the excellent gin menu which describes each gin, tells you where it’s from and which tonic and garnish should go with it.

If you’re feeling peckish, why not sample their gastro-pub grub? Dishes include oatmeal crusted mackerel, cider braised pork belly and the jolly pie of the day.

The Royal Dick

(Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL)

Picture: The Royal Dick Facebook

Summerhall is a gin hub in its own right with a gin distillery, drinks school, bar and even a drinks lab all housed within its walls.

The interior of this bar is particularly noteworthy: beautiful wooden operation tables, antique furniture and cabinets full of interesting little trinkets are married with the latest modern design

Named for the former veterinary school, the Royal Dick is the perfect old school bar in which to relax and enjoy a G and T or two, and should you feel inspired you can even pop next door for a tour of the Pickering’s gin distillery.

Heads and Tales

(1a Rutland Place, EH1 2AD)

Edinburgh gin bars

Picture: Heads and Tales

The home of the Edinburgh Gin distillery, Heads and Tales boasts over 80 varieties of gin and also houses two stills – Flora and Caledonia –  making it the perfect spot for any juniper enthusiast.

With an extensive cocktail list and about 80 gins to choose from, there’s also a chance to create your own with the ‘Gin-It-Yourself’, or ‘G-I-Y’ menu. Guests can select their favourite gin brand, flavours, mixer, garnish and even glassware to build their ideal tipple from scratch.

Gin masterclasses are also available between Tuesday and Sunday at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm with advanced bookings required.

The Printing Press

(21-25 George Street, EH2 2PB)

Picture: The Printing Press Bar and KitchenFacebook

Showing how serious it is about gin, this George Street restaurant and late night bar recently created its very own No.25 gin in partnership with Ray Clynick of Oro Gin in Dalton, Dumfriesshire.

The drink is described as having the initial flavours of a traditional London Dry gin, while showing fresh crisp juniper combined with zingy Spanish citrus notes and balanced with delicate notes of French lavender and Italian violets, making it robust yet velvety smooth.

Once you’ve tried this in a G&T, it’s worth checking out the gin cocktail menu which includes classics like a negroni or signature creations  such as the Raspberry Flair – No. 25 gin, raspberries, mint, cranberry, lemon, egg white.

Panda and Sons

(79 Queen St, EH2 4NF)

Recently named in the World’s Best Bars (as the only Scottish entry), Panda and Sons is one of Edinburgh’s popular speakeasy style bars.

Located in the basement (behind a secret bookcase door) of a red painted, vintage style Barber shop on the corner of Queen Street, Panda and Sons has been very popular since its opening in 2013, and serves an array of cocktails, craft beers and a great gin selection.

For an adventurous take on the classic gin and tonic, try their ‘super tonic’ cocktail which is made up of Star of Bombay Gin, Martini Dry Vermouth, almond syrup, lemon juice, Angostura bitters and tonic water.

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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