So it turns out last years Cocktail Weekend was such a big hit that this years event turned into a week long affair running from the 15th-21st of October. There were over 80 bars around the capital involved this year’s festival, offering a variety of creative and unusual cocktails for only £4 each for wristband holders. There were also loads of other events going on around the city in relation to the Coctail Week such as a Pornstar Martini Party and a sleepover themed tequila party!
The main hub of the event is held in Festival Square on Lothian Road where there is a big marquee housing the Cocktail Village with 15 different pop up bars inside all offering a range of signature cocktails. The Cocktail Village provided a welcoming environment for socialising and meeting new people, and there was even live music and Djs playing as well as masterclasses and tasting sessions available.
We decided to go up and check it out on the Tuesday as it was my best friends 30th that week we thought this would be a perfect way to kick off the birthday celebrations! We got our wristbands from itison.com so they worked out at £4.50 each, slightly cheaper than the £6 on the official website (the weekend ones are £8). We arrived at festival square and were pleasantly surprised that the marquee was enclosed since it was of a bit of a cold and grey day in Edinburgh. The inside was all decorated in an Autumn Garden theme and looked so pretty with little swings and flowers everywhere, the perfect surroundings for chilling out with friends and sipping cocktails. We thought we would just work our way around all the pop up bars – but no we didn’t make it to every one!! We started at Poco Prosecco where I had an Amalfi – limoncello with prosecco and the girls had a Bellini.
As we sat down on the benches in the middle of the tent to enjoy our first cocktail we were asked if we were taking place in the gin tasting – why not! The gin tasting was by Rock Rose, they are the most Northern distillery in the UK based it Caithness near John O’Groats. We sampled 5 different gins and one vodka, all with different garnishes – my favourite was the Winter gin garnished with a slice of apple. This was included in the price of the wristband and it was more gin than I could drink at that time if the day (especially since all I’d eaten was 1 babybell the whole day!) but was nice to try the different flavours.
The next bars we sampled were Grey Goose and Porters Gin. I don’t drink vodka so the girls went for those and I tried the Porters Gin Morning Passion cocktail which had a light fruity and coconut flavour and was probably one of my favourites of the day since I love coconut. The other one they were offering was infused with avocado on toast – I also love avocado but not sure this sounded as appealing!
One of the most interesting bars was the Willy Wonka themed bar by the Pop Up Geeks. They are a rotating themed cocktail experience creating different and creative drink concepts. Obviously this one was all things sweet inspired. The one I went for was a chocolatey number made with real chocolate from a fondue they had on the bar! It was lovely. I also tried cocktails from Smokehead Whiskey and Cask Smugglers.
We didn’t actually make it to any of the bars outside of the Cocktail Village, 15 bars and a gin tasting session was more than enough to get us well and truly tipsy – ok, ok, steaming! Haha. But I will definitely be getting a wristband for next year and maybe skip the gin tasting and make it to some of the different bars and see what they have to offer – the one I really fancied trying was the Diam Bar Martini from Akva – an espresso martini flavoured with Diam Bar!
It was a brilliant day out and something a little bit different and I highly recommend checking it out next year – who knows it may have transformed into cocktail month by 2019!