I have such a love for Scottish gins, and even more specifically it would seem, ones from Edinburgh. A few years ago, in October 2014, an absolutely gorgeous boy who I had been dating for 18 months, took me on a little trip to go and see my other obsession…pandas, at Edinburgh zoo. While there, in the pouring rain, underneath a fake pagoda and standing by “a lovely bit of bamboo,” he popped a rather life changing question! Ring firmly on finger and with a massive smile on both our faces the weekend only got better as he surprised me with a wonderful visit to Pickering’s Gin distillery which is located in the Arts Venue at Summerhall.
The distillery was only established in 2013 with it’s first distillation in March 2014 so we were quite early to the Pickering’s party and at this point, also still relatively new to gin. When we arrived, we weren’t entirely sure we were in the right place, we had to walk through the arts venue and into a pub called The Royal Dick, which sits at it’s centre, then wait to be called. The place is amazing, it used to be the “small animals hospital” part of the Dick Vet School and the decor is a mixture of pieces from the old vet school and other trinkets from around the world. As we sat planning our future we were called through to the tour.
“Hello I’m Marcus Pickering…”
“…we’ve had a couple of cancellations so it’s just you two on the tour…”
WHAAAAAAAT?!? Could this weekend get any better? Essentially a private tour with one of the founders of Pickering’s gin, this was unbelievable, even thinking about it now still fills me with excitement. Marcus took us through to the distillery, which is located next door to The Royal Dick in what was once the dog kennels. At this point in our gin journey we knew absolutely nothing and Marcus was our gin guru, taking us through gin’s dark history, showing us Hogarth’s Gin Lane, explaining the distillation process and offering samples and tasters. We were in gin heaven. Once the tour was over, the three of us went back through to The Royal Dick where they have Pickering’s on tap. It comes via copper pipes straight from the distillery through to the bar. Marcus even stayed with us for our drink, this is the stuff that dreams are made of! We asked about the garnish for Pickering’s, he explained that the wives had sat down one evening set with the challenge of finding the perfect garnish. They worked their way through many and settled on pink grapefruit or lemongrass, both are winners in my eyes. A couple of gins later we bid farewell to Marcus and headed off, but that was not the end of our Pickering’s journey, it was only the beGINning. Sadly, we have had a laptop malfunction and our wonderful pictures from that weekend are currently trapped inside, plans are in place to retrieve them.
We got married less than six months later, in April 2015, and choosing a theme for our wedding tables was a no-brainer, our gin obsession had been growing, the tables had to be gin themed. It seemed only fitting that after our engagement weekend distillery tour, Pickering’s was our top table. It would also seem that Hubby and I had similar Pickering’s themed ideas when it came to wedding gifts. I bought him Pickering’s cufflinks and he bought me a gin glass and bottle of Pickering’s which we shared together on our minimoon in St Ives.
Christmas 2015 was celebrated again with Pickering’s. At this point they really excelled themselves by releasing gin baubles, yes, that’s right, Christmas tree baubles filled with our favourite tipple, the epitome of Christmas spirit! They had to be mine and as I was already on their website, why not buy a couple of stocking fillers for my gorgeous hubby. These came in the form of the Tripple Tipple Pack, which contains three 50ml miniatures and we all know how much i love a good giniature! There’s standard Pickering’s Gin, Pickering’s Naval Strength which comes in at a whopping 57.1% and Pickering’s Original 1947 Gin which has a spicier, more intense flavour. Needless to say Christmas 2015 was fabulous, from what I can remember…
Flash forward to April 2016 and our anniversary
honeymoon Buttonmoon to Australia. After a rather long flight to Sydney, we were parched and in desperate need of a gin…it may only have been 10:30am in Sydney, but it was definitely gin o’clock back home. Would you believe it, there was a pop up gin bar not even a 10 minute walk from our hotel…FATE! We headed along to Gin and It, this place was heaven and had literally hundreds of gins. Located on the streets of Barangaroo in Darling Harbour, Sydney, this pop up is sadly no longer open, thankfully it’s big brother, The Barber Shop still is, this place is a must for any gin lover visiting Sydney! Whilst perusing the menu, looking for something new and exciting to try, a certain gin popped out at us…PICKERING’S 1947, it seemed only fitting that the first drink on our Buttonmoon should be a Pickering’s. The lovely chaps at Gin & It then pointed out they also stocked the Navy Strength bottle, which for us was apparently the sensible percentage choice for 10:30am!
In another strange twist of fate, whilst broadcasting our gin picture to the world on social media, Hubby spotted a Pickering’s Gin competition to win two bottles, all you had to do was submit a photo. Later in the holiday hubby got a message through to say that he had won and there would be more delicious Pickering’s Gin ready for us on our arrival home…you can’t make this stuff up!!
Last October, 2016, we headed up to Edinburgh again. It would seem that things are a little different now and others have realised the sheer deliciousness of Pickering’s, and unfortunately the distillery tour was completely booked up weeks in advance. This didn’t stop us heading to The Royal Dick anyway for a quick drink, or two…and a celebrity sighting of the incredible Ian Rankin sitting at the next table softened the blow of not getting on a tour.
So here we are, exactly three years on from our wonderful, life changing trip to Edinburgh. A huge thank you to my gorgeous Hubby for sharing and creating such wonderful memories with me and thank you to Pickering’s for joining us pretty much every step of the way!
Slàinte mhar / Slange var!