Tales of the Cocktail: The cream of the mixology world comes to Scotland

As the Tales of the Cocktail tour heads for the capital, Cocktail expert and blogger the Mixolosopher gives us a guided tour of the hottest events to check out.

Published 30th Mar 2017
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

If you’re out on the town in Auld Reekie at the start of April, you may be in for a few surprises.

This Saturday sees Edinburgh becoming the first city in Europe to host cocktail symposium Tales of the Cocktail On Tour.

The world’s premier cocktail festival first drew breath from the hot sultry air of New Orleans – home of jazz, poker and (arguably) the modern cocktail.

It began as a tour of The Big Easy’s most historic drinks and drinking dens back in 2002 and soon morphed into a global gathering for those who earn their crust in the making, mixing and marketing of spirits and cocktails.

At its heart, Tales is very much a festival by professionals and for professionals with countless seminars, demonstrations, training sessions and network events taking place over its five-day span. Imagine an accountancy conference, just with fewer PowerPoint presentations. And infinitely more fun.

There wouldn’t be a cocktail industry, however, if it weren’t for Joe and Josephine Public so to speak, so there are special events popping up across the city that are open to everyone, involving some of the brightest stars and biggest names in mixology – think the celebrity chefs of the cocktail world.

Some highlights include:

Saturday April 1st

An evening of Southern hospitality at Hoot the Redeemer with Southern Comfort 100 Proof and Edinburgh’s own Jellyman’s Daughter providing the music.

Darnley’s View Gin launching a brand new expression and pairing with some incredible meat dishes at Chop House, Market Street

New bar with Scotland's largest collection of rum to open in Edinburgh 

Sunday April 2nd

Bryant & Mack will be tackling ‘The Case of the Missing Buffalo and the Dynamic Duo’ with the global ambassador for Sazerac (and New Orleans native) Jason Coleman.

The art of bar sustainability will be showcased at the Lucky Liquor Company

The Devil’s Advocate are joined by Jack McGarry from Dead Rabbit, New York (named the world’s best bar in 2016) for two events – one focussing on Irish whiskey and the other on low- to no-ABV cocktails.

Monday April 3 rd

The Voyage of Buck are collaborating with Stockholm bartending legend Jimmie Hulth to talk pickling and Patron, offering tasty Swedish treats paired with even tastier tequila tipples.

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Another New York notable – Jan Warren from Dutch Kills – will be hooking up with Brooklyn Gin at Bramble with a very special guest DJ Jazzie B from Soul II Soul.

Ian Burrell (Global Ambassador for Rum, regular expert on Sunday Brunch and owner of the biggest smile in bartending) will be at The Last Word to discuss all things Appleton Estate, with an exclusive look at an as-yet- unreleased bottling.

Tuesday April 4 th

Campari are coming to Nightcap where a London/Edinburgh team-up are looking to twist the Negroni to within an inch of its life.

Panda & Sons is being taken over by Cuba (in a good way) as Havana Club join forces with BlackTail NYC for a night of Latin American frivolity.

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Many of these will be one-night- only, blink-and- you’ll-miss- them events so our advice is to have a look at the Tales of the Cocktail website for a full rundown of the events and check with the bar in question whether you need an invitation. And maybe not blink…

Iain Meldrum (aka Mixolosopher) has over a decade of experience at the top of the drinks industry as both a bartender and trainer. He is passionate about all things alcoholic - though in a responsible and philosophical way, of course.
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