Old Fashioned, Mojito or Margarita? Whatever your tipple Edinburgh Cocktail Week has a programme of events that includes everything from a tequila-themed sleepover party to a whisky escape room challenge.
Featuring some of the biggest names in the industry, the festival is set to run from October 15-21 at more than 80 participating venues around the city. Some of the city’s most legendary drinking holes are to take part too including Harvey Nichols, Tigerlily, Dragonfly, The Voodoo Rooms and The Grand Café.
And brand new for 2018 is the “Cocktail Village” at Festival Square on Lothian Road. This will act as the hub of the festival and include 15 pop-up bars from the likes Edinburgh Gin, Grey Goose Vodka, St-Germain, Johnnie Walker, Rumbullion Rum, Belvedere Vodka and Poco Prosecco. The new pop-up venue will also host live music, DJs, bars, cocktail masterclasses and tastings.
The full programme of events also includes a variety of booze-filled shindigs at venues around the city and will all kick off with a Porn Star Martini Party hosted by Absolut Vodka at 4042 in Grindlay Street.
Altos Tequila will also host a sleepover-themed tequila party at Tonic – the pyjama dress code is encouraged and teddy bears will be provided.
But for drinkers who would rather stay properly dressed there are also plenty of masterclasses, industry talks, distillery tours and tasting sessions to wet the whistle.
Chivas Whisky is hosting an Escape Room event at Nightcap, and there will also be a Secret Masterclass Hub and Bar on Queen Street.
And to keep with the festival vibe the Edinburgh Cocktail Festival is introducing wristband-style entry to the events, with prices starting at £6 for a weekday wristband and £8 for a weekend pass.
Organiser Gary Anderson says: “We wanted to give the event more of a festival feel this year, so we have introduced a much larger programme of things happening all around the city for wristband-holders to hop between on their cocktail adventure, as well as extending the event to seven days and increasing the number of bars taking part to spread footfall.
“As a city of event-goers we all love a pop-up space to hang out in, so the Cocktail Village is an exciting new development for the event and the city. It has been designed with an outdoor festival theme to make you feel like you are in an autumnal garden while being in the comfort of an enclosed marquee.”
Last year the event was criticised after a number of participating venues ran out of stock during the festival due to “overwhelming popularity”. However, this year Anderson confirms the festival has back-up stock to prevent it running dry.
He adds: “With this year’s expansion also came a lot of work with brands and distribution to ensure supply meets demand; a challenge some bars faced last year. New partnerships with brands and local distributors will ensure sufficient stock levels are in place with backup stock from local warehouses just a phone call away.”
So if you want to mix it with the best of them, it looks like Edinburgh is the place to be from next Saturday.