Edinburgh's best gin bars - here are 8 to choose from

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Whisky might be the national drink but the gin craze continues to sweep across the capital's bar scene.

From watering holes with their own micro-distilleries to trendy bars offering hundreds of gins with specific flavour profiles, there's something for every gin lover in Edinburgh.

The Jolly Botanist. Pic: The Jolly Botanist Facebook

The Jolly Botanist. Pic: The Jolly Botanist Facebook

Here's a selection of some of the best places to sip your gin and tonic or indulge in a gin-based cocktail...

56 North

With about 400 different gins stocked behind the bar, 56 North boasts one of the most extensive ranges in the country. The staff here know their stuff, and in 2017 the team scooped Gin Bar of the Year at the Scottish Gin Awards.

Despite the huge choice, the menu is actually quite easy to navigate, splitting the gins by flavour profile. Among the categories to choose from are citrus, oriental spice and teas, seaside, historic, floral and 'mad flavours,' which includes the likes of spiced chocolate orange or mocha.

Earlier this year, 56 North added a micro-distillery (two copper pot stills) to their modern bar, and staff will help you design and distill a gin (or vodka or rum) based on your specifications and requirements.

Visit: 2 West Crosscauseway, EH8 9JP, 0131 662 8860 fiftysixnorth.co.uk/

The Jolly Botanist

With Victorian-inspired interiors, a quirky top-hatted logo and comfortable leather furnishings, you couldn’t wish for somewhere with better surroundings.

The Jolly Botanist offers more than 65 brands of gin, so you can be sure of finding the perfect one for you. They've also produced an excellent gin menu which describes each gin, tells you where it's from and which tonic and garnish should go with it.

You might prefer an expertly mixed cocktail, such as the delightful Edinburgh fizz, composed of prosecco, your choice of gin, and either raspberry, elderflower, or rhubarb and ginger.

And if you're feeling peckish, why not sample their gastro-pub grub which includes dishes such as oatmeal crusted mackerel, cider braised pork belly and the jolly pie of the day.

Visit: 256-260 Morrison Street, EH3 8DT, 0131 228 5596 http://thejollybotanist.co.uk/

Heads and Tales

Located where the well known Edinburgh Gin is made, Heads and Tales has two operational stills so that customers can see the product being made.

There are about 80 gins to choose from, and you can also try out some of their recommended gin cocktails. Among a variety of interesting cocktails is the Caorunn Gin with calvados, lemon and Napolean Mandarin liqueur. More unusual mixes include Masons Yorkshire Tea Gin, Limoncello, breakfast tea and Cocchi Torino Vermouth.

Gin masterclasses are also available between Tuesday and Sunday at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm and you must book in advance.

Visit: 1a Rutland Place, EH1 2AD, 0131 656 2811, www.headsandtalesbar.com/

One Square

Housed in Edinburgh’s branch of the international Sheraton hotel chain, One Square has its own bespoke gin which they have worked on with local distillery Pickering’s. It's made with Mediterranean liquorice and orris root from far afield, as well as the familiar juniper and floral Scottish heather.

The bar itself stocks more than 100 varieties of gin, and exclusive gin tastings are available to help you find your match made in heaven. A gin expert will also teach you about the distillation process and you'll be able to wax and seal your own bottle.

In the restaurant, you can nab a table that overlooks the formidable Edinburgh castle while sampling the best in seasonal British cuisine.

Visit: 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR, 0131 221 6422, www.onesquareedinburgh.co.uk/en/one-square-gin

Panda & Sons

Barber-shop themed speakeasy Panda & Sons is all about the wonderful cocktails - but gin features heavily.

For an adventurous take on the classic gin and tonic, try their 'super tonic' cocktail which is made up of Star of Bombay Gin, Martini Dry Vermouth, almond syrup, lemon juice, Angostura bitters and tonic water. Other concoctions include the 'stars in your guise,' comprising Darnley's View Gin, coriander seed and grapefruit foam, celery bitters, kaffir lime, sugar and lemon juice.

More unusual cocktails include the 'shreddy to rock' - Sipsmith Gin infused with shredded wheat, Creme de Cacao, Lillet Blanc and whey syrup.

Visit: 79 Queen Street, EH2 4NF, 0131 220 0443, pandaandsons.com/

Juniper

It’s not just a gin bar. It’s a classy hotel joint with a whole range of premium spirits on offer, which can be whipped up into an elegant cocktail in the blink of an eye.

They create their own juices and infusions to make sure that their drinks are the freshest on the block. Some of the cocktails are spectacular, such as the Strawberries and Steam, which is made with strawberry infused Brokers Gin, Lillet Blanc, Crème de Fraise, cranberry juice, lemon, vanilla and red berry tea.

Located on Princes Street, you can also be guaranteed a delightful panorama of the city.

Visit: 20 Princes St, EH2 2AN, 0131 652 7370, www.juniperedinburgh.co.uk/

The Royal Dick

The Royal Dick was once the small animal hospital of the Dick Vet School, in case you you're wondering about the name. The interior of this bar is particularly noteworthy: beautiful wooden operation tables, antique furniture and cabinets full of interesting little trinkets are married with the latest modern design. There is also an on-site brewery and distillery.

Their classically elegant menu is only matched by their excellent selection of beverages. With Barney’s craft brewery and Pickering’s gin distillery just next door, you can literally get the finest Edinburgh-made gin on tap.

Visit: Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL, 0131 560 1572, www.summerhall.co.uk/the-royal-dick/

The Printing Press

This George Street restaurant and late night bar features a number of enticing gin-based cocktails.

The Printing Press has created its very own No.25 gin in partnership with Ray Clynick of Oro Gin in Dalton, Dumfriesshire. The drink is described as having the initial flavours of a traditional London Dry gin, while showing fresh crisp juniper combined with zingy Spanish citrus notes and balanced with delicate notes of French lavender and Italian violets, making it robust yet velvety smooth.

Among their cocktail creations are 'the devil wears principal,' a mix of their Principal No.25 gin, cranberry, lemon, sugar, raspberry, mint and peach bitters. Or you could opt for a gin-based fizzy cocktail - the Principal No.25 gin with lemon, Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne and lavender sprig.

Visit: 21-25 George Street, EH2 2PB, 0131 240 7177, www.printingpressedinburgh.co.uk/