That evening: cocktails at Heads & Tales Gin Bar. Nestled in the basement of the Rutland Hotel, it’s the home of Edinburgh Gin; who have installed two actual working gin stills in the middle of the bar itself named Flora and Caledonia.


The bar was eminently photographable, and Colin kindly acquiesced to moving seats a solid 4-5 times so that I could get pictures across the entire premises. 😂

Spoilt for choice, we decided just to make our way through every single signature cocktail on the page.

The Imperial Haar (a delicious blind of jinzu, umeshu, plum & vanilla, cherry bitters and lemon & ginger tea) was the first cocktail we ordered but – failing to realise it was going to be this spectacular, I chose entirely the wrong moment to go the bathroom and missed it entirely. Thankfully Colin had recorded it for posterity!

The Spooky Bitch, which came out in a genuine bubbling cauldron.

I actually had to ask the barman to add some extra dry ice so that I could take a video of the Spooky Bitch in action…which was all fun and games until I realised the actual cocktail bottle had frozen itself to the side of the cauldron.

A coven of spooky bitches. I think they saw ours and got jealous.

Amazing bar, and highly recommended if you’re ever in Edinburgh.

Day third and final took us up to Calton Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to a confusing melange of disparate, vaguely Ancient Grecian monuments. Pictured: the Dugald Stewart Monument.

The National Monument of Scotland is a memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic War. Construction started in 1826 and, due to the lack of funds, was left unfinished in 1829. This circumstance gave rise to such nicknames as such as “Scotland’s Folly” and “Edinburgh’s Disgrace”; both titles that could have been applied to me that same trip.

Not pictured: me yelling at an idiot couple who’d almost murdered their dog two seconds earlier. They’d let him walk along the edge of the monument on the longest lead imaginable so that we he (inevitably) fell over the side, he was left hanging in mid-air by his neck; which is only marginally better than if they’d let him fall to ground and break his legs. It was the point at which the girl was about to pass the dog back up to her boyfriend that I lost my shit.

The Nelson Monument.

Ceramic graffiti is peak Edinburgh.

The City Observatory.

Finally trying the Greggs vegan sausage roll.

It tasted exactly like a sausage roll. B+

…which is more than can be said of the cupcake I was handed at Haymarket; 78% of which ended up indelibly embedded in and around my beard. A solid look.

And finally: a few more pictures from Colin’s phone…

…which, I think it’s safe to say, tell the real story of the trip.

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