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The best places for a gin and tonic at the Edinburgh Festival

With gin fast becoming one of Scotland's most popular spirits we pick out five of the best places to grab a gin and tonic during the Edinburgh Festival.

Published: June 30, 2017
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If you are looking to explore Scotland's burgeoning gin scene during (or outwith) the Festival then there are few better places in the capital than those included in our list.

Pickering’s Gin Distillery

( 1 Summerhall, Summerhall Distillery, EH9 1PL)

The best way to enjoy the freshest gin is obviously to go straight to the source and at Pickering's you'll be able to enjoy finding out about all of the processes involved in making this hugely popular white spirit before retiring to Summerhall's resident bar, The Royal Dick (named for a former veterinary school not annoying prince), to experience first hand how this wonderful spirit mixes with tonic to create something sublime.

Edinburgh’s first "exclusive gin distillery in over 150 years", Pickering's offers no less than three amazing core gins - traditional, navy strength, and Original 1947 - as well as a whole host of special editions, you'll be spoiled for choice.

The Jolly Botanist

(260 Morrison St, EH3, 0131 228 5596)

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

Located close to Haymarket, the Jolly Botanist is a bar for true gin aficionados (and don't worry, beginners too) as the experienced staff and filled to the gunwales gantry are the perfect way to explore the world of Scottish gin (and beyond).

With Victorian-inspired interiors, a quirky top-hatted logo, and comfortable leather furnishings, you couldn’t wish for more pleasant surroundings.

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They have  over 60 brands of gin on offer - meaning you're guaranteed to be able to find a few that fit even the fussiest tastes - and know there way around shakers, syrups and strainers meaning that when you get bored with G & Ts you can enjoy an expertly mixed cocktail, such as the delightful Edinburgh fizz, composed of prosecco, your choice of gin, and either raspberry, elderflower, or rhubarb and ginger.

Best of all when the sun is shining the frontage of the pub opens up to become a sort of pseudo terrace and sun trap, meaning you can catch a few rays while enjoying all of that juniper goodness.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery\Heads & Tales

(1A Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD)

Heads & Tales. Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

In case the thought of one distillery tour isn't enough to satisfy your gin thirst, then hopping across town gives you opportunity to check out the recently expanded Edinburgh gin.

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The eponymous gin is one of Scotland's fastest growing, and a tour at their Rutland place site (the Biscuit Factory in Leith doesn't do tours) is the perfect place to learn about the capital's "historic gin heritage" and sample some gin and tonics using the brand's amazing range.

From there, it's then time to chill out in arguably the city's prettiest gin bar Heads & Tales, for a few more of those wonderful G & Ts or even a perfectly curated gin cocktail from the extensive menu (or plucked from the minds of the artful mixologists behind the bar).

56 North

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

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

This crisply modern bar on Edinburgh’s South Side is a haven for gin-lovers.

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The menu provides a comprehensive guide to their never-ending list of gins, with more than ten handy categories such as ‘Scottish’, ‘Historic’ and ‘Robust’.

The menu also helps you out with a numbered list of mixers and garnishes so that you can have your gin just the way you like it, or maybe experiment a little.

Their gin master-classes have won a number of awards, so you can be sure of an exceptional afternoon of gin-related hijinks. You can choose from a “Journey with Gin” class, or a class focused on pairing gins and cheeses.

Also during the Edinburgh festival, make sure to check out 56 North’s Tanqueray Secret Garden, providing a summery oasis away from the bustle of the Fringe.

For a quick bite, 56 North is also ideal, as you can grab a hearty steak, or share a deli board with your friends.


(20 Princes St, EH2 2AN, 0131 652 7370)

Picture: Juniper

Perfect for escaping the Festival crowds, Juniper is a gin haven secreted away in the heart of  Princes Street that offers an amazing selection of gins, cocktails and of course stunning views of the old town from its panoramic windows.

Thankfully, the views on the inside are just as pretty and with its chic decor and delightful ambience you'll find yourself happily whiling away whole afternoons within its comfortable confines.

They create their own juices and infusions, to make sure that their drinks are the freshest on the block.

Some of their cocktails are spectacular, such as the Strawberries and Steam, which is made with strawberry infused Brokers Gin, Lillet Blanc, Crème de Fraise, and a whole bunch of other delicious treats.

Bonus offering:

 Arbikie at the A Club

(Friday 19th August at 7.30pm -The Merchants’ Hall on 22 Hanover Street)

One of those mysterious yet effortlessly cool tastings that people always speak of, Scottish gin producer Arbikie's visit to the A Club is one of the best events for gin fans to look out for during the festival.

Tickets include a gin masterclass and a live show (Hendrix and Me) and it's definitely one to put in your calendar, the only problem? Tickets go quickly so it's advised to get them booked as early as you can.

Let us know what you think


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