It’s beginning to look a lot – as the well-worn song suggests – like Christmas.
Bells are ready to jingle, halls are being decked and Jack Frost is well and truly nipping at our noses.
And with all the festive fun comes the perennial yuletide dilemma; what on earth do I buy this year?
Some organised so-and-sos will have already done all their Christmas shopping before the nights even began to draw in but, for those who are still in a quandary as to what procure for presents, here are a few booze-based suggestions – all with an Edinburgh pedigree.
Strictly speaking these would be a pre-Christmas gift – even if it’s just a gift to yourself – since they are designed to adorn your Nordmann Fir alongside the temperamental fairy lights, decades-old strands of tinsel and those boring, run- of-the- mill ginless baubles.
Each one in the pack of six is filled with 50ml (that’s a double measure to you and me) of piney, spicy Pickering’s Gin and is mercifully made of plastic, should they the shaken off their branch in the night by a unruly pet or a sherried-up Santa.
Just be sure to hang them out of reach of underage fingers.
After last year’s entire stock sold out in less than a minute-and- a-half, Pickering’s have upped their production significantly this year but supplies are still very limited.
• Orders can be placed online here.
If Bankhead-based Edinburgh Beer Factory were a person they’d still be in nappies, having only popped into existence some two years ago – yet already their output has garnered them numerous brewing awards.
This year they have fashioned two box sets of beer, each one containing a branded glass, beer mats, artwork, a bottle opener and a trinity of bottles.
The first is a celebration of their award-winning Paolozzi lager – a crisp yet malty Munich-style beer named after Leith-born artist Eduardo Paolozzi.
The second showcases EBF’s passion for experimentation, with the first of their new BUNK! range.
Named after a groundbreaking lecture given by Paolozzi in the fifties, the BUNK! initiative seeks to champion lesser-known beer styles to a new audience with this first release made up of an intriguing cherry saison, a gently smoky wheat beer and a richly-
flavoured ‘Edinburgh’ brown ale.
• Gift boxes can be ordered online here.
The success of Edinburgh Gin seems to know no end, with the company having to open a big new distillation site in Leith to cope with demand.
For the festive period they’ve turned to those OGs of gift-giving – the three wise men – for inspiration, producing a spicy, warming gin which includes frankincense and myrrh among its botanicals.
The 43% abv allows the flavours to flourish even in a long G&T but this gin is equally at home in a Christmas Negroni, with the sweet
woody notes from the myrrh marrying particularly well with bitter Campari.
• Bottles can be found at Edinburgh Gin’s online shop here or in reputable bottle shops throughout the city and beyond.
Another Edinburgh stalwart to hop (pun absolutely intended) on the Three Magi train is Innis & Gunn, whose own three wise guys Ken, Dougal and Fergus have brewed a golden ale “matured with gold, frankincense and myrrh”.
The beer has flavours of toffee popcorn, red fruits and buttered toast and is a cockle-warming 5.8% abv.
• Available online here or at the Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchens throughout Scotland.
Tucked away amongst the modern developments of Fountainbridge is Lochrin Basin – the terminus of the Union Canal but the starting point of a two-hour gin cruise on the Lochrin Belle narrowboat.
The Juniper Gin cruise from Solid Liquids has already proven to be incredibly popular, showcasing five high-quality craft gins alongside some sumptuous nibbles courtesy of the Inside-Out-Chef.
The cruises begin again in March 2018 but the tickets are already on sale and are expected to be gone well before the Hogmanay bells chime in the New Year.
• For more information and to purchase a gift voucher, visit the Solid Liquids site here.
While Pencaitland might be casting the net a little further afield than the other suggestions on this list, Glenkinchie is still proud to be called the Edinburgh Malt.
Since the mid-1800s they have been producing soft, honeyed single malt whisky in the gently rolling East Lothian countryside. Several online outlets are now offering an engraving service, allowing you to personalise your gift with a message.
For some added festive cheer, go for the Amontillado sherry cask-finished Distiller’s Edition with wonderful Christmassy hints of marzipan, fruit peel and cinnamon.