With the Edinburgh Festival Fringe taking over Scotland’s capital this month, drinks brands are lining up pop-up bars around the city and even taking to the stage.
An interactive film festival offering a taste of the Wild West is promised by Buffalo Trace Bourbon at The High Noon Theatre & Saloon which will be held at Lucky Liquor Co bar in Queen Street from August 8 to 14. Guests will be encouraged to come along in costume and be greeted by actors in full western gear. At key points during the screenings, the actors will interact with the films, including the classic saloon scenes when Buffalo Trace cocktails will be served to the audience.
Screenings will include The Magnificent Seven, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Blazing Saddles, and The Hateful Eight. Each £15 ticket will include two cocktails, bourbon samples and popcorn during the screening, and the western theme will continue with saloon-style service in the bar afterwards.
Edinburgh Gin is returning to St Andrew Square and two other locations for pop-ups, offering an escape from the hurly burly alongside a range of Edinburgh Gin signature serves. The Edinburgh Gin Garden (pictured) in St Andrew Square, with its own summerhouse, is already open, running until August 31 while the Edinburgh Gin Fizz Terrace will be in Rutland Place Terrace, next to its distillery, from August 5 to 31. It will also have a pop-up in East Princes Street Gardens beside The Scottish Café in partnership with Contini’s restaurant and Ian Macleod Distillers from August 5 to 29.
Free music and entertainment can be enjoy in St Andrew Square on the Edinburgh Gin stage which is being managed by Fringe specialists The Stand Comedy Club. Throughout the festival Edinburgh Gin ambassadors will hold impromptu tastings from their bespoke Edinburgh Gin summerhouse in the garden across the brand’s full range which includes Cannonball and Seaside Gin.
Also back by popular demand is The Famous Grouse House which offers live music from established and up-and-coming bands and musicians alongside a bar serving up drinks with the scotch whisky. It opened yesterday (August 3) and runs until Saturday August 27, popping up in George Street in New Town, open daily from 11am to midnight. Highlights include the new Famous Fridays headliner where four winners will perform after being chosen from hundreds of videos submitted in a competition.
Kansas Smitty’s, the London jazz and julep bar, is popping up in Edinburgh for a month-long residency at the Fringe. Opened on Monday (August 1), it can be found at The World’s Greatest Imaginary Jazz Bar until Sunday August 28 at Leith’s Biscuit Factory in Anderson Place. Run in partnership with Alba Events, it will feature performances from the hottest talent on the UK jazz scene and beyond. The bar’s signature Julep cocktails, made with Jim Beam bourbon, will be available from a dedicated cocktail bar along with beers from Tempest Brewery, classic American soul food, talks, tastings and late-night jazz raves. It will be open from 10pm to 3am each evening. Visit www.edfringe.com for more details.
The Fringe itself features shows for spirits fans, including the return of The Thinking Drinkers, Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland (pictured below). Following their previous sell-out Fringe shows, they will be performing their new drinks extravaganza, Around the World in 80 Drinks, throughout the festival until August 28. They promise to take the audience on “a euphoric, elbow-bending global adventure featuring hooch-loving Hindus, singing penguins, Al Capone, Miss World and a whole lot more”, with five drinks included in the price of the ticket. They are at the Underbelly Med Quad in Teviot Place. Visit www.edfringe.com for more details.
Also as part of the Fringe festival, Pickering’s Gin will be opening the doors of its distillery at Summerhall and its curvaceous stills, Gert and Emily. You get to sample the full range of gins, metres from where they were made, and enjoy a free Pickering’s and tonic straight from the gin tap at the Airstream Cocktail Bar. The Pickering’s Gin Jolly runs several times a day for most days of the festival. Visit www.edfringe.com for details.
Rounding off the Fringe will The Gin Whore Tour – a one-woman show devised and led by Kate O’Neil which explores the history of gin from the first gin craze to the modern gin renaissance. Including a tasting of four different gins, it takes place on August 27 and 28 at the Devil’s Cut at The Angel’s Share in Hope Street. Visit www.edfringe.com for details.
If you are in Edinburgh and need an escape from the festivals, take to the water for a gin or whisky cruise. Solid Liquids, the consultancy and events company, is continuing its programme of barge trips on Edinburgh’s Union Canal. The Whisky Cruise explores the history and production of the Scottish spirit plus a few drams, including one paired with chocolate from Edinburgh chocolatier Coco Chocolate. The Juniper Cruise covers gin, including samples, a cocktail and complementary food. At time of writing, them were selling out quickly. Visit http://www.solid-liquids.co.uk/cruise-tickets.
Many of the pop-up bar and event operators at the festival are using epos systems from Intelligent Point of Sale, the Scottish start-up that developed the UK’s first cloud-based iPad epos app. It expects to see more than £4m and 750,000 transactions handled through its software during this year’s Fringe, with more than 80 terminals using its app, Intelligentpos. Paired with a chip and pin device, Intelligentpos can easily process credit cards, contactless, Apple and Android Pay transactions, with more in-depth reporting and synchronised editing across all terminals in a business.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe opens tomorrow, August 5, and runs until August 29.