Bottles bearing the letters EG are ubiquitous across Scotland. Discover why Edinburgh Gin is the first name in juniper in the country on a tour of its Rutland Street distillery. You’ll learn the distillation process and the history of gin in Edinburgh, which dates back to the 1700s. A tasting session is included, so you can sample the length and breadth of Edinburgh Gin’s massive collection – from the refreshing coast-inspired Seaside gin to warm strawberry and pink peppercorn liqueurs.
Beneath this swanky cocktail bar in Edinburgh’s Southside, there’s a hidden basement-level distillery, with a vibe similar to the speakeasy days of Prohibition. Tasting sessions take place in the lab, where an expert distiller and bartender guide you through the finest pairings of gin, mixers and garnishes. Alternatively, take a tasting among the copper stills themselves as they gurgle away making juniper magic, and find out about the process from start to finish.
In an old railway shed near Holyrood Park, this gin and whisky distillery offers a peek behind the scenes with guided tours and tastings. Holyrood Distillery’s state-of-the-art visitor’s centre is kitted out like a science museum, with a dedicated nosing room, the tallest copper stills in Scotland and a lab-like gin experience room. Hit the outdoor courtyard bar where you can sample your favourite spirits in a heady cocktail mix.
In the historic docklands of Leith, once Edinburgh’s thriving hub of whisky and spirit trade, the Tower Street Stillhouse embraces the area’s boozy heritage. This cavernous distilling warehouse offers tours that show off its garden shed, branded as the “Global Headquarters”, and the copper stills that brew Lind & Lime Gin. Learn about the origins of this botanical experiment, as well as the grand plans to develop a whisky and expand its operation into striking new premises at Ocean Terminal.
Summerhall, usually bustling with festivals, gigs and art shows, is also home to Edinburgh’s first dedicated gin distillery in more than 150 years. In 2014, Pickering’s Gin opened at Summerhall, uncorking the modern Scottish gin craze. The kennels that once held the small animals for the University of Edinburgh’s old vet school now house copper gin stills. Pipes connect the distillery to the Royal Dick Bar, allowing you to sample craft gin straight from the tap. Learn about the engineering-obsessed founders on a guided tour and see some of their crazy inventions, such as a gramophone that mixes your martini or a vintage fire truck with gin-spilling hoses.
Outside North Berwick, between the coast and endless fields, the NB Distillery is a small, family business run out of old farm cottages. Get an insight into the fascinating birth of NB gin, a rags-to-riches story told with passion. Enjoy a gin tasting with Scottish canapés and views of rural East Lothian from the tasting room. Scheduled drop-in tours run three times a week, or book online for the full experience with a tasting.
Once abandoned scrubland on the outskirts of Edinburgh, the Secret Herb Garden has been carefully curated into a verdant green space by wine merchant Hamish and his wife, Liberty. With a garden teeming with ancient botanicals and forgotten flowers, such as apothecary rose and lemon verbena, it was only natural that Old Curiosity Gin blossomed into being. Tours of the distillery take in every stage of the process, from handpicking the flowers and distilling to labelling.