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The best places to get a gin during the Edinburgh Festival

Let's face it with the riot of colours and sounds, constant leaflets being shoved in your hands and the endless crowds at the Edinburgh Festival you are going to want to take a break and possibly grab at gin at some point.

Published: August 8, 2018
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Edinburgh is one of the best cities in the UK for gin bars and during August, it takes it up a notch as the festivals come to town.

Here are some of the best places in the capital to get your juniper fix.

BARS

56 North

(56 North, 2 West Crosscauseway, EH8 9JP, 0131 662 8860)

56 North's Secret Gin Garden. Picture: 56North Facebook

The moment you see the gantry in 56 North, you'll understand why it bills itself as 'Scotland’s original gin bar'.

Not content to offer one of the widest ranges in the capital, they also provide some truly fun masterclasses and for that special day out, they also offer a tour of their very own in-house stills showing you how their exciting South Loch spirit is made.

And, don't forget if you visit during the Edinburgh festival, make sure to check out 56 North's Secret Garden, which has lots of Scottish gin brands on offers and provides a summery oasis away from the bustle of the Fringe.

Juniper

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

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.

Over 50 gins take up residence in their bar, and the staff are passionate, knowledgeable and always available to make a suggestion for the perfect serve to go with your chosen gin or create a cocktail that will best show off Scotland's trendiest spirit.

The Jolly Botanist

(260 Morrison St, EH3, 0131 228 5596)

This Victoriana themed gin joint lies 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 exciting spirit.

With over 60 brands of gin on offer, you can be sure of finding the perfect gin for you.

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The Royal Dick

(Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL, 0131 560 1572)

Picture: Summerhall

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.

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 wonderful Pickering's gin distillery.

One Square

(1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR, 0131 221 6422)

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.

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.

Heads and Tales

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

Picture: Trip Advisor

Relax with a cocktail or two as you watch Flora & Caley do all the hard work (that’s Edinburgh Gin’s stills and not the bar maids) in this excellent little bar

hidden away beneath the Rutland’s Hotel, which allows guests to get up close and personal with one of Scotland’s top gin production sites as well as sample some of the country's best gins and of course the excellent Edinburgh Gin range.

• READ MORE: 30 of the best Scottish gins including the Scottish Gin of the Year

Edinburgh's Nicholson’s Pubs

Nicholson’s Pubs are running their Gin Festival again this year all over the country, and in Edinburgh it’ll be taking place in:

The Conan Doyle, 71-73 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3JD

The Mitre Bar, 131-133 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SG

Deacon Brodies Tavern, 435 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2NT

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Rose Street Brewery, 55-57 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2NH

Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar, 30-34 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, EH1 2QE

There will be 40+ premium and limited edition gins on offer from the UK and the rest of the world during the festival. One of the key focus’ this year will be the celebration of a range of different gins including those produced by breweries. Gins from British breweries including Brewdog, Purity, Tiny Rebel and Adnams will all available throughout the festival.

POP-UP BARS AND DISTILLERY TOURS 

The Secret Garden at 56 North

(56 North)

The Secret Garden at 56 North is back with 16 amazing Scottish gins, beers, ciders, cocktails and even an Ooni pizza oven.

Holyrood Distillery

(19 St Leonard's Ln, Edinburgh EH8 9SH - Gin tours £22 per person)

Led by an expert guide, this experience will introduce you to the process behind gin distillation, the world of flavour-packed botanicals, and the particular approach of Holyrood in the production of their gins and gin liqeuers - don't worry you'll also get some samples to try.

Hendricks Journey of (Tini) Martini

(George Square Gardens)

Enjoy a theatrical journey into the whimsical world of Hendrick's - guided by three 'Tini tipples'.

The Journey of (Tini) Martini Enlightenment will be available at George Square every day from 2nd to 18th of August, in four separate time slots.

EVENTS

International Scottish Gin Day

(3 August, Mansfield Traquair, price: £22) 

International Scottish Gin Day 2019 (ISGD) has been set up by the tireless Gin Cooperative to help a global audience discover the world of Scottish Gin and aims to create a special day established to raise the profile of Scottish Gin and showcase Scotland as a visitors destination.

The team behind the popular Gin Fayre events have announced that they will be hosting their first event in Edinburgh as part of the celebrations.

The historic Mansfield Traquair will play host to a variety of Scottish Gin makers and brands such as McGin will be there on the day.

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Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea

(2-24 August, from 3pm, The Scottish Restaurant & Cafe, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL - Tickets: £25 per person)

If you’re a fan of gin and cake then head along to this Edinburgh Gin afternoon tea, hosted in The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant.

Refuel or escape the festival madness and relax over savoury bites, freshly baked scones served with homemade jam and petit fours created with Edinburgh Gin liqueurs.

As well as this, diners can enjoy an Edinburgh Gin G&T (and cups of tea) while soaking up the views of Princes Street Gardens.

The Smuggler's Tour

(1 1/2 hour guided tours cost £35 per person, Every Wednesday throughout August - Time: 21:45 – 23:15 )

Picture: Stewart Attwood

Real Mary King’s Close and Old Curisosity Distillery have teamed up to create a unique gin tour that will teach guests about the origins of gin production in the city, the adventures of local smugglers and the distilling innovations that led to Edinburgh's lengthy love affair with the juniper spirit - all while enjoying a range of exclusive and specially selected Old Curiosity gins.

‘The A Club’

(The Merchants' Hall, 22 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 2EP)

Scotland's own field to bottle gin specialists Arbikie are back in the capital this month with their kick ass live jazz, rock, folk and pop experience, that's the perfect place to grab one of their exciting gins and sit back and enjoy the show.

Summerhall Drinks Lab 

(Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL, 0131 560 1572

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxfgNVrgiql/

The newly minted Summerhall Drinks Lab team are offering not one but two excellent events during the festival.

The first Scottish Gin, Cocktails & Chocolate!, will see guests enjoy a glass of Prosecco, before enjoying three mini gin cocktails, each with a neat sample of Scottish craft gin, and paired with a different chocolate.

They'll then be given the opportunity to shake up their own cocktail to finish, all while learning about the fascinating history of gin, from its early origins to the current boom in the industry.

While Science of the Sesh 3.0 is an interactive two hour tasting featuring Scottish gin, whisky and rum cocktails and neat samples, where you'll become a sensory scientist and challenge your perceptions of flavour.

Learn how to become a better taster and how to make your own drinks perfect; through practical challenges, experiments and of course, good old fashioned drinking.

 

 

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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