Things to do | Posted 29 Jan 2020

Fancy a tipple? While bonnie Scotland may have a long-standing love for whisky, Edinburgh’s gin industry is booming. And with a plethora of fabulous gin distilleries and bars dotted around Scotland’s glorious capital, it’s little wonder that Auld Reekie is a great place to kick back, relax, and enjoy the UK’s favourite spirit in style.

Here we explore the best gin distilleries in Edinburgh, as well as some of the city’s most charming bars to enjoy a gin-based drink or two.

Pickering’s Gin

Perhaps the most well-known Edinburgh gin distillery of the lot, Pickering’s is a must-see for any gin lover. Crafted using a secret family recipe from 1947, legend has it that it was scrawled on a piece of scrap paper which travelled from India. Whether that’s true or not is the subject of speculation, but one thing’s for sure – the Pickering family has kept tight-lipped on the recipe that’s made them millions, for over 60 years.

The distillery itself is actually tiny (it fits into the Old Animal Hospital Dog Kennels) and welcomes tour groups of 20 people at a time. What’s their signature blend? Smooth, with warming tones of clove and cardamom.

Edinburgh Gin

Exactly what it says on the tin (or bottle). The award-winning Edinburgh Gin distillery is located in the city’s bustling West End, is overlooked by the castle, and tells the fascinating story of mother’s ruin in Auld Reekie – starting from the gin-soaked 1700s right up to the present day.

Step into the Edinburgh Gin distillery and sample an eclectic selection of mouth-watering gins, including their famous Navy Strength Cannonball Gin, which packs a zesty punch of juniper and lemon. 

Old Curiosity Gin

Venture to the Pentland Hills towards the edge of Edinburgh and you’ll discover the enchanting Old Curiosity Distillery. With a touch of old Scottish magic and a whole lotta delicious ingredients, Old Curiosity guests can enjoy watching flowers being picked, pressed, and distilled to create some of the world’s most tantalising gins. We recommend trying the Apothecary Rose pink gin, with its fragrant notes of lavender – you won’t be disappointed.

The flowers themselves are grown in the distillery’s Secret Herb Garden (we did tell you it was magical!), which grows over 600 varieties of herbs.

Firkin Gin

With tempting bottles of London Dry Gin finished in whisky oak casks, Firkin distillery is an absolute treat for gin connoisseurs and newbies alike. Traditionalist will love their famous Naked range, a light, non-aged gin that’s just the ticket with a crisp tonic. Or if you’re feeling particularly daring, try their whisky-infused Islay line to really ramp up the flavour during your visit.

56 North Gin

Penned as ‘Scotland’s Original Gin Bar’, this distillery-come-bar boasts one of the widest varieties of gin in the country. Book a tour to see for yourself how their in-house blend, SouthLoch, is made or why not try your hand at a gin masterclass? Pair your creations with melt-in-the-mouth cheeses and chocolates and enjoy a fabulous afternoon with friends. Fancy a few drinks in the bar? Grab a cocktail and head out to the Secret Scottish Gin Garden to experience why locals and tourists alike visit 56 North for a tipple.

Gin Bars in Edinburgh

No visit to Scotland’s enchanting capital would be complete without sampling a few gin bars. In recent years, Edinburgh has become as famous for its nightlife as it has for its kilts and castle, so there’s no shortage of places to let your hair down – gin cocktail in hand.


If you’re searching for your next ‘oh my God, you have to try this’ cocktail, Juniper is the place. Located on Princes Street, they’re famed across Scotland and beyond for their delectable fresh ingredients and to-die-for gins. Fancy trying something new? Order their signature cocktail, Juniper2, for a zesty yet delicate tipple, with notes of kiwi, apple and lemon.

Or if you’re really looking to make an entrance (you only live once, after all), try the Tokonoma. You’ll see why.

The Jolly Botanist

Looking for a classically casual spot to enjoy a gin? The Jolly Botanist prides itself on being inspired by traditional pub-style venues – think a cosy interior and extensive drinks menu to boot! Here you’ll discover more than just a drink or two: these guys know their tipples and scour the globe for the very best ingredients so that you can enjoy a taste of something magnificent.

Panda and Sons

Mix a 1920s speakeasy with a vintage backstreet barbershop and what do you get? Well, we don’t know entirely but we reckon it would come pretty close to Panda and Sons. Rustic, unique, and oh-so-quirky, this bar is not only a great place to get some fabulous Instagram photos but also try some of the best gin cocktails the city has to offer. Peruse their extensive list of gin cocktails – we love the mouth-watering Milky Bar Hero. 

So, there you have it, the very best bars and gin distilleries in Edinburgh. While you’re here, why not make a weekend of it? Book a room at Jurys Inn Edinburgh and stay right in the heart of this fascinating city. Plus, it’s located in the city centre, so you won’t have to pay a fortune on a taxi after a few gins. Bottoms up!

Alternatively, if you’re visiting both of Scotland’s most iconic cities during your trip, Jurys Inn Glasgow is the perfect place to lay your head after a long day of exploring the Dear Green Place.

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