Hurrah! The warmer weather is finally here. There’s nothing I love more when the temperatures rise to sup a refreshing g&t, so when I was asked a couple of weeks to go on Gin Journey, a brand new gin tour of Edinburgh… well, let’s say I didn’t have to be asked twice!
We were asked to meet at Bramble on Queen Street, where we met our “gin guardian” for the evening, Leon. He gave us a brief introduction before giving us all samples of the first gin of the journey, Caorunn.
All the stops throughout Gin Journey took a similar format – we would be asked to try a small sample of the gin completely neat before enjoying it within the context of a cocktail made by the talented staff at each bar. That way, we got an idea of what the gin tasted like before it was mixed in with other flavours, and we were able to give each fair comparison.
At Bramble, it made sense that we were given a…
… you guessed it – a bramble! This classic drink is one of my favourites, mixed with gin, lemon, sugar and creme de mure. I liked the fact the server actually poured the creme de mure right in front of you – a nice piece of showmanship there. Of course, the first cocktail of the night went down quite nicely.
We had a mini coach to transport us between our gin locations, which was handy as there was a fair bit of distance between some of them, and quick transitions meant that there was more time for gin quaffing!
We moved on to the Whistle Stop Barber Shop for our second tipple and a bite to eat. Food isn’t included in the price of the Gin Journey but it is highly recommended that you get something if you want to avoid a banging head in the morning.
Here we were served a strawberry blonde featuring Daffy’s Gin with Martini Rosato, strawberry and basil aqua fresca, lemon and soda. It was very sweet but incredibly moreish and it went down far too easy!
After I had munched down a wee bowl of chips it was time to move onto our next stop – the Pickerings Gin Distillery at Summerhall.
This was by far the most fascinating stop on the tour, as Paul from Pickerings talked us through the gin distillation with a real life distillery to use as a teaching aid! Along with the science lesson, we were given a taste of all their gin range, including the Navy Strength Gin at 47.1% which pretty much blew my socks off (in a good way) and given the chat about their oak aged gin, which has been aged in whisky casks from various regions of Scotland.
We were also given a long refreshing g&t made with the classic Pickerings Gin, Fevertree elderflower tonic and a slice of grapefruit. An oldie but a goodie 😉
We moved on to Stockbridge for a chilled out drink in The Last Word. Beside a roaring fire we were given the warming Fiddler’s Son cocktail with Darnley’s View spiced gin, Cocchi Americano, Aperol, Benedictine and lemon.
It was getting towards the end of the night at this point and I could feel the atmosphere relaxing a bit, so this was an excellent drink and location to suit the mood.
Our final stop was Hoot the Redeemer, where we were served a “Rocking and Rosing” cocktail starring Rock Rose gin, with cherry juice, peach bitters, cranberry juice, lemon, egg white (I opted out of the eggs for my one, though!).
I’m a huge fan of Rock Rose already, but I was excited to see that one of their reps had come along to meet us and tell us the story of this gin. Distilled in Caithness, they take advantage of their location by using a lot of botanicals that are local to the area. I am used to having my Rock Rose with a simple tonic and sprig of thyme, so it was nice to try something a little different.
I was on the first ever Gin Journey in Edinburgh, but the way it was run it felt like it had been on the go for a while. Leon had taken us to some of the best cocktail bars in Edinburgh and I was blown away by his knowledge.
To make the evening all the more sweeter, I won a bottle of Caorunn for my mad tweeting skillz (did I mention I am on Twitter, by the way?!). I can’t wait to crack it open – in my opinion, victory tastes sweetest served with a bottle of 1724 tonic and a wee slice of apple.
At the time of writing, Gin Journey tickets start at £20.00 and includes five stops with a drink at each (grub not included). To find out more or see the next dates available, visit the Gin Journey website (new dates will be added soon)!