The month of August is a celebration of art and culture in the city of Edinburgh, but you will no doubt be in need of some liquid refreshment along the way!
With gin’s popularity showing no signs of waning, we’ve put together a selection of the top five gin activities in Edinburgh happening this summer.
Real Mary King’s Close, Underground Gin Tour
Ever wanted to discover the real origins of gin and its connection with Edinburgh and its famous underground streets?
Real Mary King’s Close, located underneath the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh, is opening up for a series of late night underground gin-tasting tours with local herb and gin experts – The Old Curiosity Distillery.
Visitors will get the chance to explore the life and times of Edinburgh’s first plague doctor Joannes Paulitius, to learn the fascinating history of herbs being used to try and fight the deadly plague epidemic, why he wore the distinctive beaked mask and the illicit trading and Edinburgh’s love affair with the sprit.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to three Old Curiosity gin pairings, with herbal botanicals including apothecary rose and lemon verbena. Transport yourself back in time and enjoy a new and specially developed cocktail Lavender and Echinacea, inspired by the plague doctor and his work.
The 1.5-hour guided tour costs £35 and will take place every Wednesday in August and every Saturday in September. Booking essential. https://www.realmarykingsclose.com
Edinburgh Gin, Gin Making Tour
If you’re looking to create your own personal gin, you can now visit the Edinburgh Gin Distillery and bottle your own custom creation using their famous miniature copper stills.
After receiving expert tuition from Edinburgh Gin’s Head Distiller and his recipe secrets, you can choose your flavours from a selection of aromatics and botanicals for your own concoction.
The experience includes a guided tasting of the Edinburgh Gin range and you can take your personalised gin home with you in a branded Edinburgh Gin bottle as a lovely keepsake from the day.
Daily tours offered at 12.15pm, for over 18s only, lasting three hours and costing £100 per person. Please note this tour can only be booked online.
56 North, Paired Cheese and Gin Tasting
Gin and cheese might not be an obvious pairing, but just a short walk from George Square at the heart of the Fringe, 56 North has created a gin masterclass which pairs the two for a gastronomic delight.
Perfect for filling a gap between shows in the city centre, the 56 North bar team will be giving expert tuition on distilling, mixers and choosing the perfect garnish for a range of Scottish gins. There is also a delicious cheese board provided for munching while you drink.
With a focus on Scottish gin producers, you can sample eight different gins from across the country. Their gin masterclass runs for approximately 90-120 mins and you’ll learn more about which you prefer and how gin is created.
These eight gins will be from well-known favourite brands as well as small craft distilleries from across Scotland, each with different characteristics and botanicals. Impress your friends and family at your next gathering by being a gin bartender and cheese pairings expert.
Tickets cost £29.95 and can be booked here: https://fiftysixnorth.co.uk/masterclass/
Edinburgh Whisky Academy, Gin Diploma
If you think of yourself as a gin scholar, have you ever heard of a gin diploma? If you’ve ever wished to embark on a career in the drinks industry, or want to learn more about the historic spirit, then The Edinburgh Whisky Academy has the answer.
Their Gin Diploma is a one-day course at Botanic Cottage. You’ll enjoy informative lessons on distillations, botanicals and a blind tasting, with each attendee taking a short exam to gain their diploma – recognised by the Scottish Qualifications Awards.
This full-day course costs £280. There are limited spaces still remaining for 16th August, taking place at The Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. https://www.edinburghwhiskyacademy.com/gin-courses/diploma-in-gin
Red Bus Bistro, Gin Afternoon Tea around Edinburgh
For a gin fuelled afternoon tea with a view, hop on board this vintage red double decker bus. Enjoy the changing views as the bus tours the capital, looking out for Edinburgh Castle and the magnificent Arthur’s Seat while you enjoy a glass of prosecco and a “pot-tail” of gin.
Serving Gin Bothy cocktails, topped with pretty edible flowers, you can enjoy a sophisticated afternoon sight-seeing tour with tasty treats including Scottish smoked salmon blinis, scones with whipped cream and jam, finger sandwiches and quiches. This tour will certainly entertain both foodies and history enthusiasts alike. And you’ll never look at travelling by bus the same way again.
The Afternoon Tea has two “sittings” at 12pm and 3pm, lasting approximately 90mins and costs £44.95 per person, over 18s only. https://www.redbusbistro.co.uk/bus-tour/edinburgh-tours/edinburgh-afternoon-tea-gin-tour/
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