Gin distilleries and tours in Edinburgh
The UK is experiencing a gin renaissance with Scotland accounting for over 70% of the nation’s gin production. Edinburgh’s love affair with the tipple dates back to the 1700s and is as alive today as ever. The city has seen a proliferation in the number of new distilleries opening in recent years, so we’ve whittled the list down to five of the best gin distilleries in Edinburgh that you can visit next time you’re in the city.
Pickering’s is a small but perfectly formed distillery nestled within one of the city’s most popular art venues at Summerhall. Originating from Bombay, their gin recipe is engineered from nine botanicals with a focus on fragrant spices and fresh citrus fruits.
The Pickering’s tour includes a tasting of three core gins and a complimentary 'Pickering’s and tonic' in the Royal Dick, Summerhall’s resident bar.
Pickering's Gin Jolly: £10 per person, 1hr
Pickering’s Gin, Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL | t: 0131 290 2901
Frequently ranked in the top 20 of Edinburgh Visitor Attractions on TripAdvisor, the Edinburgh Gin distillery is located in the city’s west end, near the shopping area of Princes Street. They produce a wide range of drinks including a navy strength Cannonball Gin, a Seaside Gin inspired by the east coast beaches and some deliciously flavoured liqueurs such as the Plum & Vanilla and Apple & Spice blends.
Tours are available daily and advance booking is highly recommended, especially if you plan to visit at the weekend. You will discover all about Edinburgh’s gin heritage and explore this working distillery, or if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try the hands-on gin making experience where you will craft your very own gin to take home.
Gin Discovery Tour: £10 per person, 45m
Gin Connoisseur Tour: £25 per person, 75m
Gin Making Experience: £100 per person, 3hrs
1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD | t: 0131 656 2810
The Old Curiosity Distillery
Based at the Secret Herb Garden on the foothills of the Pentlands, Old Curiosity distills an eclectic mix of gin flavours using naturally grown, chemically free herbs.
From distilling to bottling and labelling, everything happens on-site at this unique gin garden which is home to over a thousand juniper bushes and a huge variety of herbs and florals including roses, geraniums, irises and scented lemon verbena.
On a tour of the gin garden and distillery, you will discover the different types of botanicals used to make their gin. You will also witness the hand-picking and drying of the garden's plants and flowers before tasting all six gins which are available to buy in the adjoining shop.
Gin Garden and Distillery Tour: £15 per person, 1hr
The Old Curiosity Distillery, 32A Old Pentland Road, Edinburgh, EH10 7EA | t:0131 285 6833
Port of Leith Distillery
Lind & Lime is the very first spirit to be produced by Edinburgh’s Port of Leith distillery. Paying homage to Dr James Lind who discovered that citrus fruits helped to prevent scurvy, Lind & Lime is crafted from healthy doses of lime to create this crisp, fresh spirit.
Tours last approximately 75 minutes and include a history of the distillery’s journey so far, a gin and tonic and a glass of sherry. Currently gin tours are held in their stillhouse in Leith which apparently can be quite chilly (the plan is to move tours to a new whisky distillery at some point in the not too distant future) so the advice is to dress warmly for the occasion.
The Stillhouse Tour: £20 per person, 75m
The Tower Street Stillhouse, 53 Tower Street, Edinburgh, EH6 7BN | t: 0131 554 6469
Photo source: 56 North Facebook profile
56 North was Edinburgh’s first dedicated gin bar now serving a collection of over 400 gins from across the globe, including many leading Scottish labels.
In 2018, they acquired their first copper pot stills and this year launched South Loch Gin, named after the distillery’s proximity to the Meadows. This leafy park once provided Edinburgh’s drinking water and was the water source for local distilleries and breweries.
There are some fun and varied gin experiences on offer including a Scottish Gin and Cheeses tour or the Distillery Tasting and Cocktail tour which is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about the gin production process.
Scottish Gin and Cheeses: £29.95 per person, 90-120m
Distillery Tasting and Cocktail: £24.95 per person, 60-75m
56 North, 2 West Crosscauseway, Edinburgh, EH8 9JP | t: 0131 662 8860
Are you a gin-lover and interested in visiting one of these distilleries? Or have you discovered any others that aren't on our list? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below. Given the rise in popularity of this well-loved tipple, we're sure the number of small craft distilleries will continue to open and flourish in our capital city.