We were super excited to hear about a new gin school launching in central Edinburgh and when we were invited along to take a look at what it’s all about, we naturally accepted pretty quickly.
Sip Antics is the brainchild of Gary Bradley, who we met previously when we attended one of his gin tasting sessions at 56 North. While he still serves up an awesome selection of gins there, he has branched out and opened Edinburgh’s first independent gin school – Sip Antics – tucked away in a basement room below The Cumberland Bar.
Just to clarify what we mean by independent, the school is not linked to any gin distillery, which we think makes it unique as far as Scottish gin schools go.
Gary has many years experience in the bar industry and his knowledge of every aspect of gin is incredibly impressive. When we visit him at Sip Antics, he talks excitedly and passionately about the Scottish Gin industry and the creative process behind gin-making.
The ‘classroom’ itself is quite small, but really well laid out and you can appreciate the intimate and friendly nature of the gin-making classes. Each workstation is equipped with a shiny mini Portuguese copper still and jars of wonderful botanicals line the shelves.
We were welcomed (as are attendees of the school) with a G&T of Gary’s own creation and Gary talked us through what pupils st the gin school can expect.
After the welcome G&T and introductions, you get the chance to sample 4 of his gins, these are Spicy, Citrus, Floral and Herby and from this, you get an idea of the kind of gin you want to create. Gary has created his own botanical chart (reminded us of being back in chemistry class, as it looks very like a periodic table) and you choose your key botanicals from that. Gary is there to help and guide you if you’re unsure or overwhelmed by the choice.
Once you have chosen your botanicals, you measure them out and fire up your mini still. The actual gin production takes around half an hour, during which time you can relax with a gin cocktail and chat about the gin making process.
Once your gin is ready, you sample it, then bottle it in a recycled 70cl glass gin bottle, choose a name and label it, before taking it home in a little goody bag to share with your friends.
When we visited, he had just finished a session with 6 customers, who left very happy with their experience and their very own gins. The classes run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and generally last for around 3 hours.
As far as fun days out in the capital go – we think this is right up there, we’re looking forward to returning and taking a class very soon and we’ll be sure to share the experience with you all (but not the gin!).
Visit the Sip Antics website to find out more and book your place.