My love of Gin is well known in these parts. I've now built up quite a collection of different ones, many of them Scottish. If 3/4 of your G&T is the tonic you need to use the best. Up until now that has meant going outwith Scotland. An invitation from Aberdeenshire's Summerhouse Drinks to an Edinburgh event with Tipples & Nibbles for the launch of a new Scottish Drink had the intriguing hash tag of #JUSTTHE. Could the missing word be tonic?
I always love the train journey south from Stonehaven to the capital, especially when the weather is good. Stunning scenery particularly on the coast. The Dundee and Forth Railway bridges are real landmarks along the route and at the moment there's the opportunity to view the progress being made on the second Forth road bridge. My accommodation for the night was at ibis Edinburgh Central South Bridge. This was a great location, less than a 10 minute walk from Waverley Station, just off the Royal Mile and around the corner from The Museum of Scotland.
Check in was friendly and efficient and my room was bright, spacious, spotlessly clean and very welcoming. The shower in the pod like bathroom was positively huge. Free wifi is essential these days. I really can't understand how some hotels still get away with charging for it. The room contained all the facilities you would expect whilst air con ensured the perfect temperature. There's a Tea/Coffee tray in the room and a Nespersso coffee machine in the foyer was an added bonus.
It's always good to catch up with fellow foodies and it was great to finally meet the blogger behind the fantastic Keep Calm and Fanny On. Big thanks to Fanny for being my plus one. We kicked off with a Popeye and Ginger Jack at Hula Juice Bar before it was time to head to the function room at Dragonfly Cocktail Bar to meet the newest member of the Summerhouse Drinks team.
My hunch was right and the new drink was indeed Scotland's first tonic water. In a departure from the existing Summerhouse Drinks branded range of Hint O'Mint, Misty Lemonade, Rasperry Lemonade and Lavendar Lemonade the tonic comes by the monkier of "Walter Gregor's"
The Rev. Walter Gregor was a 19th Century minister in the historic parish of Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire. A renowned academic, folklorest and plantsman, the botanics for his new tonic are now being grown in the garden of his former manse at Peathill. He is described in his biography as a 'cheerful, humorous man'. Perhaps he might have enjoyed a wee G&T himself?!
Walter Gregor's is an all natural tonic water with Quinine from cinchona bark, citric acid and a secret combination of infused botanicals. It has been developed in conjunction with Caithness's Rock Rose Gin and our welcome drink was a perfect serve topped off with Rosemary. The taste is crisp, clean and refreshing. It went down very well. This was followed with a further two Scottish Gin pairings. Walter, Hendricks and Cucumber and Walter, Botanist and Grapefruit. The promised nibbles to go with the tipples kept up the Scottish theme with a fantastic range of canapes from Fresh Food Express.
Bombay Potatoes from Angus & Whisky Chutney
Arbroath Smokie Pate, Summer Harvest Lemon Dressing and Local Beetroot
Great Glen Wild Venison, Trotters Wild Garlic Pesto & North St Dairy Cream Cheese Pinwheels
Hot Arbroath Smoked Salmon & Gin Soaked Cucumber
I had a great nights sleep in my ibis hotel room, nothing to do with the amount of Gin consumed but everything to do with my super comfy bed. A high tech bed base and matress, fluffypillows and a super soft duvet. The breakfast buffet offered a fantastic selection of both continental and cooked. A plate of bacon, tattie scone and haggis followed my initial selection below. I was very impressed with my fist experience of an ibis hotel. Next time I'm keen to experience an ibis styles hotel. Budget friendly and individually stylish. Perhaps even serving both Scottish Gin and Scottish Tonic.
Walter Gregor's is currently only available online through Fresh Food Express but will be coming to retailers and bars soon.
Disclosure - Ibis Hotels provided me with a complimentary stay and I attended Walter Gregor's launch event as a guest of Summerhouse Drinks. All views expressed are my own.