High spirits as cocktail scene takes off in Edinburgh’s New Town

The Bon Vivant, Edinburgh has been awarded a coveted worldwide drinks award for their cocktails. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
The Bon Vivant, Edinburgh has been awarded a coveted worldwide drinks award for their cocktails. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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Over the last ten years, Edinburgh’s cocktail scene has gone from strength to strength – gaining global recognition. New Orleans-based cocktail event Tales of the Cocktail has chosen the city as a destination for 
its Tales on Tour event this April for a second year running.

Events will be centred around The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square and will gather some of the biggest names in the drinks industry.

Iain McPherson, award-winning mixologist and director of Panda & Sons

Iain McPherson, award-winning mixologist and director of Panda & Sons

Neal Bodenheimer, co-chairman of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, says: “We’re so excited to get back to the beautiful city of Edinburgh in April. The cocktail scene is very impressive, and after our visit recently, we couldn’t believe how close the bar community is over there.

“This event is for anyone with an interest in drinks, whether that’s making them or drinking them.”

Edinburgh’s New Town has been revolutionised by independent cocktail bars such as Bramble, Panda & Sons and The Bon Vivant. With their cocktails and understated décor, these bars have helped Edinburgh to become one of the hottest cocktail locations in the world.

Recently opened bars in Edinburgh, such as The Permit Room, hidden away in the basement at 3a St Andrew Square, beneath Dishoom, have also brought with them a fantastic range of innovative cocktails, making a further impact on the city’s cocktail culture.

Gary Solomon Jr and Neil Bodenheimer

Gary Solomon Jr and Neil Bodenheimer

The quest to drink less but drink better has spread around Edinburgh’s nightlife. Rather than having five pints at the pub, the search for a top quality drink in a cocktail bar has been a trend in recent years.

Excellent cocktail bars are now open late, including The Permit Room and Nightcap who serve expertly made cocktails until 3am.

The drinks trend has now developed similar aspects to that of the ‘foodie’ trend; guests now really care about the ingredients that go into their drink, so bartenders need to be particularly knowledgeable about the drinks they are making.

Tales of the Cocktail on Tour

Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail has grown from an annual walking tour of historic New Orleans cocktail bars into a global cocktail festival. Tales on Tour Edinburgh 2018 is a four-day gathering of international specialists in the spirits industry, with tickets available to everyone. The event is designed to educate, illuminate and entertain cocktail enthusiasts from the city and beyond.

Tickets & location

Tickets are on sale to the general public, with a 15 per cent discount for Edinburgh based attendees, and can be purchased online for $65 (£46.85). Events will be centred around The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square. With the introduction of a per-seminar ticketing system this year, event attendees can curate an experience tailored to their interests.

Attendees can expect to see, and taste, world-class brands such as Aperitivo Select, Bacardi, Havana Club, and El Guapo Bitters with more sponsors being added weekly.

SEMINARS

Spritzer: From the Italian Classic Aperitivo to Low ABV Cocktails

Discover the evolution of the modern Italian aperitivo and how the classic Spritzer became the 21st century worldwide trend. We will take you through a journey that will reveal where everything began; how the recipe changed across the years and made its appearance to the cocktail world, until it finally became part of our aperitivo culture. Hosted by Italian drink expert Giuseppe Gallo.

Breaking the Mould

This seminar looks at some of the most progressive and innovative beverage programmes in the world, and explores what goes on behind the scenes. Join Joe Schofield, Matt Whiley, Mimi Lorandova and Vasilis Kyritsis as they discuss their systems and thought processes to push away from the confines of trends and conservativeness.

Against the Grain

How does grain translate into whisky flavours? Does the choice of grain matter, and if so how? How does distillation shape whisky flavours? Let Canadian whisky authority, Davin de Kergommeaux, and glassware expert, Kevin Vollebregt, lead you through a one-time-only tasting of newly distilled rye, wheat, barley and corn spirits in this master class in distilling, flavour generation, and how best to enjoy it.

The Dollars of Diversity

Join New York mixologist Elayne Duff for a session packed with immediate-action tips to boost ALL diversity – gender, race, age, country of origin and even social class – both behind and in front of your bar.

Sound Advice: Better Bar Music

In the rush to design brilliant spaces, many are neglecting their music, and failing to stimulate the most powerful sense of all. Music is the most important way to create an instant atmosphere in your venue. Join moderator Jacob Briars, along with panelists Sly Augustin and Metinee Kongsrivali to learn about the latest technology, how to promote your music offering, how to manage it, and what might be the best music to drink to.

Tales of the Cocktail on Tour Edinburgh 2018, 7-10 April, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, 38 Charlotte Square EH2 4HQ Tickets priced at $65 (£46.85) at https://tot18.solomongroup.com/p/schedule

10 per cent discount for those who purchase three seminars, 15 per cent discount for Edinburgh-based attendees (enter post code manually on the ticketing site where it asks for “promo code”/only one discount code will be valid per transaction).