Cuba comes calling


Bartender makes rum cocktails

The Rum Festival returns to Edinburgh to share some drinks, some music, some food, and some more drinks.

The UK’s first ever travelling rum festival has returned to the capital for another weekend of rum filled goodness. As promised, they offered rum enthusiasts two evenings of live music, free sampling, great cocktails and Mexican food.

This year is the second time The Rum Festival has been held in Edinburgh, with last year’s event taking place at the Assembly Rooms. Lucy Douglas, events manager and founder of the festival, explained why she was keen to return to Scotland.

“People love and understand distilling in Scotland because of the whisky culture. They understand products and are open to trying new things – and for us, people trying new rum is what we are all about. It’s great because people are interested and they embrace what we do.”

To spice things up the team decided to move the festival down to the Biscuit Factory in Leith. Although they had an amazing time at the Assembly Rooms, Lucy says the venue was “too clean and very proper” and this year they wanted to find somewhere “a bit cooler and a bit more Cuban”.


Steel drum band entertains the guests

An impressive selection of 109 rums were on show this year, with 15 different suppliers offering their expert knowledge, advice and tastings. One bar offered a variety of rum and mixers, whilst at another you could find a range of cocktails all made by an enthusiastic and talented team. The live music was typically Caribbean, only adding to the fun mood of the night.

The whole idea of The Rum Festival was born when Lucy realised there were not many places outside of central London where she could drink a variety of new and exciting rums. She decided this must change and in February last year she launched the UK’s first travelling rum festival.

With the recent surge popularity in gin and beer festivals, Lucy’s team of “rum’uns” are keeping up with the new trend. At the same time, they are offering their own original vibe, giving rum experts and novices alike an opportunity to get tasting in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

By Iona Young

Sip Away at the Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend

Cocktail lovers are in for a treat at the first ever Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend this 6th–8th October.

Following the Edinburgh Cocktail Festival back in August, it’s time for the inaugural Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend. Mixology and cocktail enthusiasts in the capital can join in for the price of a £6 wristband.

Attendees will have the chance to taste exclusive signature cocktails from all participating bars for only £4 each, as well as free masterclasses and tastings throughout the weekend. 07702 246823

Bartenders Georgi Lovie, Jamie Gibson and Rob Quinn showcasing their talents/Image credit: Neil Hanna Photography

More than 40 top cocktail bars and restaurants such as Opal Lounge, Tigerlily and The Black Fox have expressed their excitement in showcasing Scottish cocktail scene – and of course, showing off their skills.

Marco Airoldi, general manager of The Boozy Cow, said: “We love our cocktails so we thought why not get involved with ECW and try to create some brand exposure and showcase our awesome cocktail offering. It’s a really exciting weekend ahead and we’re really happy to be a part of it. Hopefully it’ll bring a lot of new faces to Boozy Cow!”

Image credit: The Boozy Cow Facebook

The event’s organiser, Gary Anderson, was thrilled by the great response: “It is an absolute pleasure to work with so many local businesses and celebrate the awesome cocktail scene we have here in Edinburgh. It really is a Cocktail Capital!”

Each bar will only be providing one exclusive cocktail and the reason for that was because Anderson wanted people to socialise and get to know the city better through the event: “It’s all about tasting your way around the city, discovering new bars and flavours, and feeling like you’re part of something exciting.”

Wristbands can be purchased from

Top five Christmas cocktails

With the arrival of Edinburgh’s annual Christmas market, and the magical lights that shine through the city centre, there is no denying that the capital is feeling very festive this winter season. Christmas food and cocktail menus are now on the tables of Edinburgh’s finest eateries and cocktail bars and if you fancy getting wined and dined in Christmas delights, you are not short of a option.

Here is EN4 News’s exclusive top five Christmas cocktails that will get you in the spirit for the festive season.

Apple Crumble Martini, The Dome

One of the cities iconic Christmas sites where golden lights run down its Corinthian pillars and its marble bar surrounds a beautifully decorated ten-foot Christmas tree. The bar is situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town on George Street; its lights make it hard to miss. The apple crumble martini is our Christmas favourite; Dewars Scotch whiskey, sugar syrup and butterscotch liquor, served in a quaint coup glass. Check out their official website.

Sage Against the Machine, The Blackbird

Located on Leven Street near the Edinburgh Links, this funky cocktail bar has just released its Christmas cocktail list. Including all things nice; cinnamon, nutmeg, root ginger and cold brew mulled wine; this is Edinburgh’s ultimate Christmas cocktail menu. From Chai Milk Punch to the Blackbird’s very own Christmas Old Fashion, the list shows imagination and taste. Our favorite is the Sage Against the Machine which pervades sage, roast chestnut, sugar and egg white. Check out their official website.

Chocolate Treacle, Sgyn Bar

For all you chocolate lovers, who could say no to this divine cocktail on Sgyn bars five-pound Christmas drinks menu. Brugal Anejo rum, chocolate bitters & apple stirred down with maple syrup; the cocktail will leave you in a heavenly state of bliss. Charlotte Lane in the West End is home to this hip bar, which hosts a resident DJ on Friday and Saturday nights. Check out their official website.

Taihoko Cocktail, The Voyage of Buck

This newly established bar is located on Williams’s Street in the West End. The quirky drinks menu tells the tail of a man named Buck and his adventures around the world. It incorporates the inspiring flavours he has tasted in Paris and Asia, to create an innovative cocktail menu. Our favourite was the unique Taihoko Cocktail which combines the festive flavours of roast cashew, orange bitters and cherry vermouth. Check out their official website.

Trambell Sour, Juniper

Situated on Princes Street with stunning panoramic vistas across the city skyline, Juniper is definitely worth a visit for a Christmas beverage. The cocktail will be made on it’s striking copper bar and can be enjoyed in the warmth of a armchair. Our Christmas favourite was the Trambell Sour infusing the sugar sweet flavour of agave with vanilla and maple smoke. Check out their official website.

Have we missed your favourite Christmas cocktail? Tweet us @EN4News2016

Header photo courtesy of The Blackbird

Five of the best hidden bars in Edinburgh


Are you sick of drinking in the same bars day in, day out? EN4 News has you covered for some cool new watering holes where you can sample some of the finest alcoholic cocktails Edinburgh has to offer (or alcoholic ice cream, if you’re so inclined).


Panda & Sons

Panda & Sons is not a bar. It’s a barber’s shop. Definitely a barber shop. What do you mean you saw bouncers on the door? Of course you did. All barbers have bouncers on the door. Ok, you got us. Panda and Sons calls itself a “prohibition-style speakeasy,” deliberately set up to look nothing like a bar.

Step through their secret bookcase door and into a cocktail lover’s paradise. Their strict no hen/stag dos policy means you’re guaranteed a loud but sophisticated night on the town.

Hoot the Redeemer

You’d be forgiven for missing Hoot the Redeemer on Hanover Street – a bar which takes “hidden gem” to new levels.

Down a flight of stairs just beside Bella Italia is the funhouse-themed bar, which succeeds at making drinking fun again. Sample their delicious alcoholic slushies, or indulge in their boozy ice-cream. Try the Buckfast and Irn Bru one. It’s amazing. No, seriously.


Heads and Tails

Have you met Flora and Caledonia? They’re Heads and Tails two gin stills. When was the last time you were in a bar with gin stills? Heads and Tails is an Edinburgh gin-lover’s paradise.

For those who don’t enjoy mother’s ruin, the bar offers a huge range of beers, spirits and soft drinks, all of which can be infused with their homemade infusions and syrups. Head down for a more refined drinking experience.


Halfway House

If you can’t stick the thought of having to pick something from a 47-page cocktail menu which comes to you served in a broken lightbulb in place of a glass, get yourself down for a wee ale in Halfway House.

You’ll have passed this traditional pub a hundred times on stoats from the Royal Mile to Waverley. They have a huge selection of real ales on offer, and a true old-fashioned pub atmosphere.


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Secret Arcade

If you’re a vodka drinker, Secret Arcade is probably what you imagine heaven looks like. Hidden down a lane on Old Cockburn Street, they stock over 100 different kinds of vodka and even offer a variety of Polish snacks from their bar menu.

If you’re one of those people who has a few Smirnoffs and thinks they’re Fatboy Slim, you’ll love Secret Arcade – they have their own dedicated DJ area, where you can show how musically versed you are about vodka, too.

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