It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the capital and the perfect time to indulge in some delicious festive drinks.
Aside from the Fringe and Festival in August, the run-up to Christmas through to Hogmanay is the busiest time of the year for the city. It’s estimated that over 1 million visitors made their way to Edinburgh’s world-famous festive celebrations last year.
If you’re looking to escape the last-minute Christmas shopping frenzy and to take a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of the markets, here’s some tips on where to get the best drinks in the city:
Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar
There’s no better time of the year for warming whisky than the festive period, and there’s no-one that does it better than The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. You can cosy up in their wonderful ground floor bar, Kaleidoscope, which offers an exceptional range of the finest single cask whiskies money can buy.
Choosing whisky can often seem overwhelming, but at the Society all the bottles are characterised in one of their 12 flavour profiles, making it much easier to find your favourite dram.
Throughout the festive period they have a calendar of colourful events and intriguing whisky experiences, so be sure to get along and catch-up with other like-minded whisky lovers.
28 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JX https://www.smws.com/about/venues/kaleidoscope-edinburgh
Continuing on the winter whisky theme, here’s another bar that knows a thing or two about the nation’s favourite tipple. Perfect if you find yourself wandering around the Royal Mile, and not far from Edinburgh’s Christmas markets, the famous bar, restaurant and shop offers more than 300 varieties of whisky.
The relaxed environment plays host to whisky lovers and tourists alike, so whether you’re a malt aficionado or a dram novice you’re bound to find something memorable.
4-7 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LP
If you really want to feel like you’re escaping the crowds (and the winter conditions) then consider settling into the dark and intimate surroundings of this notorious underground bar. Recently crowned ‘Best bar in the UK’ (https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/edinburgh-cocktail-bar-named-best-in-the-uk-1-4749911), Bramble really is a cocktail haven. However, you’ll need to do a bit of exploring first, just look for the Queen Street venue’s mysterious staircase to discover something unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
16A Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JE
This cosy, intimate underground bar feels like a local secret. With a wealth of interesting cocktails and spirits, you’ll be spoilt for choice and the friendly staff can guide you to finding your perfect tipple. With levels of cellars, candlelight and a tasty American food menu, it’s a place you can happily lose an afternoon (or evening) in.
3 York Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EB
The Bow Bar
This iconic bar sits in the heart of the Old Town and is definitely one of the best whisky destinations in the city. They often stock more than 300 bottles of single malt, from fan favourites to real rare finds. Their selection is ever-changing as new releases are brought in, ensuring there is something for everybody and the whisky exploration never ends.
The traditional pub is simply furnished with wooden fixtures and fittings, a beautiful mahogany gantry displaying their collection and old memorabilia on the walls, making it the ultimate authentic Edinburgh watering hole.
80 West Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2HH