I’ve always enjoyed a good gin and tonic. Refreshing, crisp, and totally encompassing everything that is British summer. But it wasn’t until our little trip to Edinburgh that I truly acknowledged the greatness that is gin. Unbeknownst to me, Edinburgh is very proud of its gin culture (how did I miss this last year?!); almost as much as whisky. Okay maybe not… but I don’t like whisky so that doesn’t excite me. Gin does.
On our first night out we stumbled across a place called ‘The Jolly Botanist’, a gin bar which had only been open two weeks and was everything that I look for in a drinking establishment. Kitsch furniture and rustic décor, quotes on the walls, and haggis scotch eggs. HAGGIS SCOTCH EGGS. I’m very ashamed to admit that I didn’t get the chance to taste these bad boys, but reading it on the menu made me realise that this place is my life. And then we come to the gin menu… pages and pages of different types of gin, along with the tonic water that would be most complimentary. The bartenders (sexy bartenders with dimples) even advised us on how best to drink each type of gin.
So of course we had to revisit our friends at The Jolly Botanist. Having had discussions with a gin-dealer-man-type-person on the Royal Mile about Edinburgh Gin and the best flavours, we returned to order a Rhubarb and Ginger special which apparently should be served straight. Not only had we become gin connoisseurs, we were now straight gin drinkers. Oh hello classy. And it was absolutely fabulous. Then there was the elderflower, the raspberry… too many gins to describe. We were in there so much that on our last day dimples man said to us: “how many times have you been in here now?!” Hey, we were staying round the corner, it became our much loved local.
After gin o’clock we got a bit confused about where we were located and ended up doing a tour of Irish pubs. The Guinness wasn’t bad and accompanied by some wonderful old man cover bands to which we did lots of dancing. They actually played uptown funk. And we actually did our dance. We met people from all over the world who shared our love of Irish shenanigans, and many men dressed as superheroes. The one thing I will say about Scottish drinkers… they are most definitely chair-hoggers. As soon as we spied an available seat in the bar someone had rushed over there to claim it, proceeding to sit with a smug face for the entirety of the evening. It’s fine, we enjoy standing by the bar… just encourages more slippery nipples!
Of course we did partake in a lot of touristy stuff too (nothing better than sightseeing on a gin hangover). We saw the castle (the outside obvs, no point paying..), we went around the National Museum of Scotland where we blew kisses at fake camels and played with strange musical instruments, we did a tour of The Real Mary King’s Close and heard (semi) scary stories, and we did A LOT of walking. Enough walking to burn off the copious amount of Scottish foods we inhaled. I’ve come to the realisation that Haggis is not a food that should be eaten everyday. As glorious as it is, sheep’s insides cannot be an overly healthy bodily intake. Tatties on the other hand definitely should. All of the mash. And all of the shortbread. And then there we are back on all of the gins.
The best thing that came from our evolution into gin connoisseurs was our business plan. Oh yes now we are also gin entrepreneurs. Once our financial advisors come through with their financial advice, Gin Today (GT – geddit?) will be up and running with all of the gins, speciality shots (slippery nips and jam sandwiches), beautiful bohemian décor, cheesy music, guilty pleasure snacks, and bartenders in cable knit jumpers. Oh wow. It’s a foolproof plan I know.
Edinburgh and its gins provided us with endless entertainment and I’m sure we will be back before too long. It’s probably my Scottish roots but there’s nothing better than having a drink whilst sitting in a tartan char wearing a tartan scarf. So tarTAN. Although sitting in the airport wearing our new Scotland Rugby shirts and attempting to sober up with yet more haggis was a very sad moment, reflecting on the hilariousness of our weekend made us love life. Here’s to the next trip and all the ridiculous gin moments that it will entail.