Edinburgh Cocktail Week is fast approaching. Don’t miss out – make sure you’ve brought your wristbands in advance.
Edinburgh Cocktail Week is back again for its second year, promising bigger and better things. There are 80 bars in the city taking part, which runs from 15-21 October. You can book your wristbands now to have a chance of sampling some of the wonderful libations, created by Edinburgh’s creative mixologists including my favourites at the Voodoo Rooms, Harvey Nichols and the The Voyage of Buck.
The new Cocktail Village
This year’s expanded format also sees the introduction of a new Cocktail Village at Festival Square, which is free to enter with a wristband. Enclosed within a marquee, the Cocktail Village will act as the social hub of the week-long cocktail celebrations, where attendees can meet up with friends and catch up over £4 cocktails from 15 pop-up bars such as Edinburgh Gin, Grey Goose Vodka, St-Germain, Johnnie Walker, Rumbullion Rum, Belvedere Vodka and Poco Prosecco, plus a very special ‘Golden Ticket’ themed bar from The Pop Up Geeks.
As well as lots of cocktails to try, there will also be live music, DJs and drop-in style masterclasses and tastings to keep revellers entertained.
Join in the masterclasses and parties
Between sipping, sampling and socialising around the bars and Cocktail Village, there is also a programme of events, masterclasses and parties for wristband-holders to attend throughout the week.
One place you’ll be sure to find me is at the Pornstar Martini Party hosted by Absolut Vodka at 4042, Edinburgh’s newest late-night venue. The ultimate modern classic, the Porn Star Martini only came to life in 2002 and is now famous around the world and is my new favourite cocktail.
Partying continues throughout the week as Altos Tequila host a sleepover themed party at Tonic with a menu of £4 ‘Agave Dream’ inspired cocktails to choose from. Entry to both events are free on a first-come basis and tables can be booked in advance by contacting each venue directly.
Thrill-seekers can join Chivas Regal for a whisky themed Escape Room at Nightcap. Designed for both experienced and amateur whisky drinkers, you’ll need to use your senses to guide you through a labyrinth of flavour, collecting whisky along the way to unlock and create your own personalised blend at the end of the challenge, before enjoying a complimentary cocktail in the Nightcap Lounge. As this bar, is on my way home, and a regular haunt of mine, it’s another place you might find me hanging out.
A new addition this year is ‘The Secret Spirits Study’ pop-up on Queen Street, which will be a masterclass hub by day and and underground by night. Hosted by Wemyss Malts and Darnley’s Gin, you can take explore ‘Mixed Drinks Through the Ages’ or take ‘A Liquid Journey, where you can sample six botanical spirits to discover how they react with one another to form the award-winning Darnley’s Gin range. In the evening ‘The Secret Spirits Study’ will transform into a hidden cocktail bar with a programme of bar takeovers with mixologists from across Scotland showing off their mastery in mixing fabulous cocktails for your enjoyment.
For non-cocktail lovers, try the beer and whisky pairing
If cocktails aren’t your thing, The Empress of Broughton Street are hosting a beer and whisky pairing with Jameson Whiskey and local craft brewers Barney’s Beer, or be the first to take a tour of the Sweetdram distillery in Causeway South, as it opens for the first time, exclusively for wristband-holders. Tour tickets cost £4 each and include samples of Sweetdram’s Escubac (described specifically as not a gin) and their Smoked Spiced Rum.
Food and gin pairings
Local gin producers Pickering’s Gin are collaborating with Brewhemia for a whirlwind of food and gin pairings, ‘How to at Home’ cocktail classes featuring Pickering’s new Pink Grapefruit & Lemongrass Liqueur, and there’ll be tastings and competitions in the Brewhemia Boudouir with Pickering’s co-founders, Marcus Pickering and Matthew Gammell.
And the fun and benefits of an ECW wristband doesn’t end there: you can enjoy a complimentary cocktail with beauty treatments at NOW by One Spa; promotions at the Official ECW Bottle Shops, Royal Mile Whiskies and Drink Monger; 50% of a ride with mytaxi; and free entry before midnight to Edinburgh’s top late-night venues, Lulu, 4042 and Shanghai.
Wristbands are on sale at www.edinburghcocktailweek.co.uk
Weekday (valid Monday – Friday) – £6
Weekend (valid Saturday & Sunday) – £8