Edinburgh gin joint is just the tonic

56 North in Edinburgh is a gin bar offering masterclasses, food and - of course - plenty of gin
56 North in Edinburgh is a gin bar offering masterclasses, food and - of course - plenty of gin

We all get lots of those annoying emails from marketing companies urging us to buy a new set of garden furniture or a half price meal in a new restaurant.

While the majority go straight into the bin, there is the odd offer that appeals.

And a gin tasting and afternoon tea at an Edinburgh bar I’d been desperate to try was one that survived my morning email cull.

56 North in West Crosscauseway, close to Edinburgh University, is a proper gin bar with over 200 of the juniper berry based spirits on offer.

The masterclass is led by the director of 56 North, James Sutherland, and it’s clear he has a real passion for mothers ruin.

Despite having taken the class hundreds of times, his enthusiasm never waivers and he happily answered all questions, giving a brief history and tasting notes of all eight gins included in the class.

He urged everyone to taste the spirit neat, then with various tonics added and the class was broken up – or our stomachs lined – with a light afternoon tea in the middle.

As well as telling the class about the background of each gin, James also told anecdotes and fun facts throughout. Like, did you know 70 per cent of the world’s gin is made in Scotland with brands such as Gordons, Tanquery and Hendricks produced here?

And the biggest consumer of gin is Spain, who are favouring the tipple over their traditional rum mojitos?

The tasting gins change each class but there is always a good mix of well known brands and smaller producers.

56 North also make their own gin and flavoured versions which we tried in addition to the tasting.

We followed the class with a meal in the bar - and more gin. The drinks menu helpfully includes the recommendations for which mixer works best

My friend went for the assassin burger, a huge patty served in a brioche bun with spicy peppers, served on a wooden board with chunky chips and I had nachos and calamari, a strange combo granted.

The food was delivered promptly, considering how busy it was and was fresh, tasty and beautifully presented.

Tickets to the masterclass sell out quickly, and there are no classes on during the Fringe. Instead, the bar will host the Tanquery Secret Gin Garden from August 3-31, transforming land into an oasis for food and gin lovers.

In the lead up to Christmas 56 North will also launch two new master classes, matching cheese and chocolate with gins that complement.

Visit the website for information and to book.

The food was great, the service efficient and we left knowing we’d be back soon.

After all we still have at least 188 gins to work our way through.