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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

Become a Gin Genius at Sip Antics Gin School

Gary Bradley

As the mercury falls to sub-zero, the alcohol I am distilling reaches 78 degrees and the hydrometer measuring the strength of my gin shoots to 45%.

Don’t panic though, all is above board as I am distilling my gin under the licensed supervision of Gary Bradley who runs Sip Antics micro-distillery and gin school in a cosy, downstairs room at the Cumberland Bar in Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town.

Gary has been General Manager at the popular 56 North Bar in West Crosscauseway for more than a decade but as a fun side project educates willing pupils about Scotland’s juniper revolution.

Book this drinks experience with Sip Antics and you can expect a G&T, gin cocktail, gin tasting, three hours of fun and educational chat and for the grand finale *drum roll* you get to make your very own bottle of gin to take home.


The experience encompasses history, chemistry, botany, cookery, and taste. I particularly like the Gin School Botanical Chart which is laid out like the Periodic Table. As with the gin bottles that line the walls of the private room, the botanicals are categorised by their flavour profiles: floral, herby, citrus, pepper, unusual and spicy. There are 77 botanicals in total and Liz and I are challenged to detect some of them in a blind tasting of three gins.

After our (somewhat poor) efforts we enjoy a freshly shaken White Lady cocktail before progressing to our next task of choosing botanicals for our own recipe (along with the key ones of juniper, coriander, angelica, and citrus) for our signature bottles of gin.

Gary has several mini stills and once Liz and I have sniffed and selected 7-10 botanicals we infuse all the ingredients and wait for the alcohol to boil, cool and vaporise.

Freshly distilled Beira Gin

We then add water and pour our very own Mother’s Ruin (mine is spicy, Liz’s more delicate) into bottles. We name the gins Gin Genie and Beira (Scottish goddess of winter).

As the wax seals cool on our bottles three hours have flown by. This experience would suit all types of groups and is full-on gin-fuelled fun.

Sip Antics – The Cumberland Bar, Cumberland Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6RD. ​

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