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Every October, as the streets of Edinburgh recover from the festivities that have made the city renowned, a new kind of celebration emerges.
The Edinburgh Cocktail Week invites both locals and visitors to raise their glasses in eager anticipation. It's ten days of thrilling exploration through a world of exceptional cocktails, generously hosted by some of the city's finest bars and venues. Among these, one stands out – McGonagall's Gin & Whisky Emporium.
Nestled in the heart of the city, McGonagall's Gin & Whisky Emporium stands as a testament to Scotland's rich culinary heritage. A purveyor of fine malts and delicious botanicals, this establishment serves an ever-changing menu of excellent Scottish produce, prepared fresh every day. Whether you're in the mood for a carefully crafted cocktail or prefer something simple from the well-stocked gantry, McGonagall's offers a diverse range to please every palate. With an impressive selection of over 100 Gins and 120 Whiskies, McGonagall's dedicated staff can guide you through this vast array, helping you discover new and delicious spirits, whether you're a seasoned aficionado or a newcomer to the party.
But McGonagall's isn't just about the drinks; it's a place steeped in history and charm. Located just a stone's throw away from the resting place of William Topaz McGonagall, a poet famously known as one of the worst in history, the bar has a whimsical and playful connection to its namesake. Scholars have often debated McGonagall's inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery, but McGonagall's believes he may have been intentionally ludicrous. This connection to the poet sparks curiosity, and his name continues to crop up in literary circles from The Goon Show to Harry Potter.
One of the reasons McGonagall's is celebrated during the Edinburgh Cocktail Week is its close association with Caorunn Gin. The bar's staff, quick to recommend Caorunn products, ensures that gin lovers have the opportunity to explore new and exciting experiences. Caorunn Gin is a brand like no other, known for its unique approach to crafting exceptional spirits.
Since 2009, Caorunn Gin has been handcrafted in small batches at the Balmenach Distillery, nestled in the Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands. It's a region renowned for its whisky production, but Caorunn Gin shines brightly amidst the world of fine spirits, all thanks to a carefully considered name - Caorunn, inspired by the Gaelic word for 'Rowan Berry.' The humble rowan berry is just one of five unique Celtic botanicals that are at the heart of Caorunn Gin. To craft their genius recipe, they hand-forage the rowan berry, along with four other Celtic botanicals, all found within a short walk of the distillery. These are thoughtfully paired with six traditional gin botanicals, resulting in a gin that stands out as both clever and exceptional.
One of Caorunn's delightful offerings is the Caorunn Raspberry Gin, a playful and fruity twist on the classic. This gin showcases the artistry of their Copper Berry Chamber, extracting maximum flavour from their 11 gin botanicals while infusing the spirit with the refreshing essence of Perthshire Raspberries. The result is an extraordinary blend that takes the classic Caorunn Gin's slightly spicy character and infuses it with a distinct fruity charm.
For Edinburgh Cocktail Week McGonagall’s has chosen to incorporate Caorunn’s fruity bottling into a new cocktail called the Raspberry Twist. This cocktail features Caorunn Raspberry Gin, Jack Daniel’s Apple, Grenadine for sweetness, a touch of Lemon Juice for zest, and a bit of Foamer for the perfect finish. It's a blend of flavours that were a hit during the festival, celebrating both the love for mixing drinks and the unique distilleries that contribute to the experience.
In the world of mixology, just like in the world of gin-making, it's the unique and the exceptional that stand out. And as you raise your glass to toast to this fantastic week, you'll know that you're partaking in a journey that celebrates the very best Scotland has to offer - from the historic charm of McGonagall's to the inventive spirit of Caorunn Gin. Here's to Edinburgh Cocktail Week, where creativity and craftsmanship come together to create memories that last a lifetime. Cheers!