Following its successful introduction to the Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend festival last year, the Cocktail Village returns to Festival Square from Monday 14 – Sunday 20 October, expanding in size and experience with a host of new experiences including a Cocktail Forest.
This enchanted space featuring a wigwam, fire pit, forest floor and canopy, pop-up bars, giant toadstools, twinkling star sky and mythical forest creatures - and invites festival-goers to escape the city and go ‘camping with cocktails’.
The Cocktail Village will again act as the social epicentre of the week-long festival, bursting with 19 pop-up bars, masterclasses, live music and entertainment.
It will be decorated in the style of an autumn garden with grass flooring, a clear rooftop, swings, picnic tables and floral installations by Dobbies Garden Centres – making guests feel like they are at an outdoor festival while being in the comfort of an enclosed marquee.
Entry to both the Cocktail Village and Forest is free with an ECW wristband (£6 weekday / £8 weekend) and all cocktails inside are just £4 each.
Pop-up bars this year include Edinburgh Gin with Brewhemia, Belvedere Vodka, Patron Tequila with 4042, Johnnie Walker, Highland Park, Eden Mill with The Raging Bull, Lindores Abbey, the Herringbone Horsebox, with more to be announced over the coming months.
In addition to cocktails, there will also be a beer and soft drinks offering as well as a new outdoor street food area covered by a stretch tent, creating a hangout space to enjoy some tasty dishes.
Another exciting addition to this year’s festival is the installation of Cocktail Domes on the rooftop garden of The Glasshouse Hotel (next to the Omni Centre) - creating a second pop-up site for wristband-holders to visit throughout the week.
This is the first time these fully transparent domes will appear in Edinburgh, offering festival-goers a unique opportunity to enjoy views of the city’s iconic skyline while snapping Instagram-worthy pictured and sipping on a menu of £4 cocktails (gin, rum, vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky).
Each dome comfortably seats 8-10 people and will be styled with sofas, cushions, blankets, rugs and fairy lights to create a super-cute and cosy setting for guests to relax in.
Demand for the Cocktail Domes is expected to be high, so a reservation system will be in place to secure private domes for groups of friends, while a number of domes will be kept available for walk-ins.
Between visiting the Cocktail Village, Forest and Rootop Domes, wristband-holders can also take a cocktail adventure around the city enjoying £4 signature cocktails from 70 of Edinburgh’s finest cocktail bars.
New bars this year include Cold Town House in the Grassmarket, The Raging Bull, Smoke & Mirrors, The Barologist, Camera, Damm 27, The Garden, Brewdog, Heads & Tales and Scott’s on Princes Street, along with returning favourites The Refinery, Harvey Nichols, Tigerlily, Tonic, Copper Blossom, The Voyage of Buck and Brewhemia.
This year’s printed ECW Guide will also include a handy map to help cocktail fans navigate between bars and pop-up spaces, which include about 70 of Edinburgh’s finest cocktail bars.
Organiser, Gary Anderson commented: "We’re excited to be expanding Edinburgh Cocktail Week across the city this year and further develop the experience for wristband-holders with the introduction of new features and pop-up spaces.
"The forest and street food areas are both exciting additions to the Cocktail Village and we’re delighted to be the first festival to bring cocktail domes to Edinburgh. The rooftop garden at The Glasshouse Hotel is the perfect setting for these and we’re working with fantastic partners to make the pods a really special space to enjoy cocktails and time with friends."
The Pop Up Geeks are also set to bring their themed magic to the cocktail week with a rum-fuelled offering in the Cocktail Village.
Posting on their Facebook page, they said: "Deep in the heart of Puerto Rico lies a temple, famed for the flavour of its Rum and we’re on a journey to unearth its treasures. Quench your thirst for adventure at Edinburgh Cocktail Week 2019 as we partner with Don Q in search of the Temple of Rum! From Monday 14 - Sunday 20 October you’ll find as at the ECW Cocktail Village serving up fortune, glory and rum cocktails for just £4 each!"
The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian Hotel will also be joining in the festivities this year by serving a special cocktail themed Afternoon Tea throughout the week for £29.50 per person (normally £57) in Peacock Alley.
Afternoon tea includes two cocktails each and a selection of savoury finger sandwiches, homemade scones, decadent treats and over thirty fine loose-leaf teas and herbal infusions to choose from, with vegan and gluten-free options also available.
Throughout the week there will also be a programme of events and parties across the capital as brands and bars collaborate to host bartender takeovers, educational masterclasses and tastings, parties and cocktail-making competitions. The full programme of events and experiences will be published in September, with those who have pre-booked wristbands online being given priority access to tickets.
With cocktail-enthusiasts travelling from as far as Australia and São Paula to experience Edinburgh Cocktail Week, the festival has partnered with Apex Hotels in Edinburgh to offer 10% off stays at any of their four city centre hotels (two are located at the Grassmarket, one at Waterloo Place and one at Haymarket).
Festiva-lgoers can take advantage of this offer by using promo code ECW2019 when booking online.
Apex Waterloo Place and Apex Grassmarket Hotels will be serving a £4 signature cocktail to wristband-holders, and the team are marking the 200th anniversary of the hotel with a collaboration with Eden Mill to craft a bespoke gin, aptly named ‘The 1819’.
Wristbands are on sale now at priced at £6 for a weekday wristband (valid Monday – Friday), £8 for a weekend wristband (valid Saturday & Sunday) and £13.50 for a week-long wristband.