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I think it’s safe to say that Scotland is known for its love of drinking. Responsibly, of course!
But we are also renowned for making some of the best alcohol in the world. Primarily whisky, yes, but did you know that we have some fantastic gins on the market too?
One thing that I really love doing when visiting somewhere new is taking part in a distillery tour and it really doesn’t matter whether or not you consider yourself to be a big drinker because it’s such an interesting process that varies between each distiller and location that really gets to the heart and passion of the area and of those that create it.
We have chosen to highlight some of our top gin distillery tours in Edinburgh. It seemed a good place to start. It is the capital, after all!
Below, you will find our recommended gin-tasting experiences and gin distillery tours for your enjoyment. These range from 1 hour to a full day, so we hope that you will find something to pique your interest or suit your needs!
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Pickering’s Gin – Summerhall Distillery
Pickerings Gin Jolly (I love that name, it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it!) Tour at the Summerhall Distillery runs from Thursday-Sunday and lasts for around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
It does require a standing time of approx 30 minutes for those that may be concerned about mobility and the majority of the tour is indoors.
I would absolutely recommend that this tour be booked in advance, in part as it only runs on particular days but also because it’s very popular. It is very likely to sell out.
To begin the Gin Jolly tour, all guests are greeted with a specially poured gin and tonic at the Royal Dick pub before meeting the tour guide and moving on to the old workshop to learn more about the history and story behind Pickering’s Gin.
From there, the tour will move through to the working distillery where you can watch the distillers at work, learn more about the process of making the gin itself and even see the two working stills, Gertrude and Emily.
The tour concludes with a tasting experience with four neat samples of the gin and you even get a complimentary miniature 5cl bottle of the award-winning Red Top or Orange Top to take home with you.
There is something very cool about Summerhall Distillery. It is an experience aside from just being a working distiller, they have their aesthetic and branding down to a T.
Book your Pickering’s Gin Tour Tickets
Avoid disappointment and book your Pickering’s Gin tour tickets in advance
The Holyrood Distillery Gin and Whisky Tour could be a great option for lovers of both, lovers of opposites and those that may not have the time to experience two different tours.
This tour is run daily, and runs for approximately 1 hour. There is step-free mobility access and lifts available within the building, should they be required. Do check with the company to ensure that these are in working order prior to booking though, as they are not at the time of writing!
And what is it with Edinburgh Distilleries these days? They are all very aesthetically pleasing, is this what they are like in the city? Or perhaps this is the new norm. The Holyrood Distillery is set within the older part of Edinburgh city, surrounded by history and with glorious views towards Arthur’s Seat.
I think it’s a great location as there is a big sense of history and tradition within the brand and how they operate but also a keen interest in innovation and in trying new things, and you get a sense of this within the building as well as with the product.
Anyway! I digress. The tour is a hands-on sensory experience where you will visit both gin and whisky-making distilleries and learn about the process behind craft distilling.
There will be plenty of opportunity for tasting, questions and nosing throughout.
If you visit on a nice day, they do have a courtyard bar and beer garden where you can enjoy a flight of gin or whisky afterwards!
Book your Holyrood Distillery Tour Tickets
Avoid disappointment and book your guided Holyrood Whisky and Gin Distillery tour tickets in advance
56 North Distillery
Lastly, another beautiful location. Edinburgh’s 56 North has Scotland’s oldest dedicated gin bar with over 300 gins to choose from. Those are a lot of sampling options to choose from!
The tours tend to run Monday-Saturday, with the occasional Sunday. Tours run for between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes and I am sorry to say that they do not have disability access. If you require additional assistance, do check with the team prior to booking.
You will be greeted with a South Loch Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic before taking part in the tour where you will learn all about the production of the South Loch Gin from botanicals, distilling, the equipment used and the bottling process.
During the tour, you will have the opportunity to sample 3 gins which are made with their beautiful copper stills.
The tour ends with a wonderful sparkling cocktail which is made using one of the distillery’s limited editions!
Another thing that I want to mention about 56 North but is not a part of the gin tour price, is the market menu (or the set menu for larger groups). They offer some really delicious options for brunch, sharing, starters and mains. As well to this, there is the children’s menu so although they cannot take part in the tour, there are alternative ways to visit and enjoy an experience at 56 North Distillery.
Book your 56 North Tour Tickets
Avoid disappointment and book your 56 North Gin Distillery & Tasting tour tickets in advance