Tag Archive | Cider

Spring into Summer 2021: Holyrood Distillery Courtyard Bar & Bistro opening again for safe, socialising fun in the sun.

Holyrood Distillery’s Courtyard Bar, which was a fantastic success last summer, will open again on Monday 26th April on the day when Scottish hospitality can welcome thirsty and hungry folk for a welcome drink or meal out.  

Holyrood Distillery staff ready to launch the Courtyard Bar, July 2020

The image above shows the team of friendly staff getting ready to launch this innovative and very popular venue in July 2020 when bars and restaurants opened up again after the first lockdown.

Opened in 2019, Holyrood Distillery is the first single malt whisky distillery in Edinburgh for almost 100 years, after Andrew Usher’s Distillery closed in 1925.

Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh

Located on St. Leonard’s Lane, beside the Queen’s Park in the district of Newington, the patio area outside the distillery will be transformed into a spacious, safe outdoor bar and bistro.   

This year, the improved and well-designed Courtyard will be the place to be and be seen, whether rain or shine, due to the creation of sheltered seating with heaters.

Service will initially be table-service only, with contactless orders via an online app. Tables will seat a maximum of six people, with an overall capacity of up to 120.

Refreshing, thirst-quenching beers, cider, wines, G&T and cocktails et al

The opening of the Courtyard Bar also gives the timely opportunity to launch the Holyrood Distillery’s new HolyXXXX Gin, crafted with just one botanical and two other unusual ingredients for a very distinctive flavour. The Gin Craze has no sign of disappearing any time soon – more than 80% of gin consumed in the UK is made across Scotland from Ayrshire to Shetland.

In order to support local independent breweries, the Bar will serve Draught pints such as Pilot Leith Lager, Barneys Sherbet Sour Ale and Braw Tropical from Cross Borders.  Beers in a can include Stewarts’ Session IPA, Hoppy Botanist from Campervan and Citra Pale Ale by Newbarns. 

Perfect summer time tipples for all tastes – Prosecco, White and Red wines, Thistly Cross Ciders and Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer (for grown ups only). All favourite Soft drinks too: Pellegrino lemonade, Mineral Water, Irn-Bru, Coca Cola.

As well as tasting and testing the new HolyXXXX Gin, you can buy a bottle to take home from the Distillery shop, as well as other Holyrood Distillery spirits.

There’s a selection of other exciting Scottish gins too at the Bar from local distilleries, Electric Spirit and Port of Leith.  

Whisky lovers can sample Sanaig from Kilchoman, Nc’Nean’s Organic Single Malt and Dream to Dram, from Kingsbarn 

Plus a range of daily Gin and Whisky-based cocktails to jazz up your boozy Picnic in the Courtyard. 

Holyrood Distillery has partnered with Hickory, the award-winning Edinburgh Catering and Event management company, which is renowned for a cooking up posh nosh for private parties, Festivals, buffets and banquets, corporate dinners and glamorous Weddings. Catering for any style or size of event, their logo says it all, “We’re Good to Go.”

In smart casual fashion, the tasty, tempting menu at the Courtyard Bar is all about alfresco gastro pub-grub: gourmet sandwiches such as Nacho Libre (Beef patty, guac, salsa, nachos, cheddar, jalapenos), and the Epic Veg (Herb & spinach falafel, cashew feta, hummus, garlic ‘mayo’, Hickory kraut, on a khobez wrap); Snacks, Salads and loads of Fries.  

An ice-cream tricycle will supply summertime treats for the perfect dessert. 

The Hickory Food menu and Bar Drinks list can be viewed and ordered online and by the ‘at-table’ App (see link below)

HIckory – quality, fresh, good food from garden picnics to grand banquets

The Holyrood Distillery Courtyard Bar will be a safe and spacious outdoor venue for families and friends to socialise – children will be welcome until 7pm.  The Bar opens daily from 1pm to 8pm in the first week, and then from Thursdays to Saturdays, 1pm to 9pm; Sundays 12pm-6pm.

 “We are absolutely delighted to be able to reopen our Courtyard as a sunny, safe and social space.  After a massively challenging year for everyone, and a particularly tough time for the hospitality industry, the distillery team will be very emotional to see people back here again, enjoying the space, sipping our new gin, and supporting the other small distillers and brewers we are showcasing”.   Debs Newman, Holyrood Distillery’s Brand Home Manager.

Time to celebrate the escape from lockdown and where better to go than the Holyrood Distillery Courtyard Bar as we spring into Summer.

Book your bench soon at the Holyrood Distillery Courtyard Bar

Table Reservations are recommended:  


Place your order from the Hickory food menu and Bar Drinks on line as well as with an ‘at table’ App.


Location:  Holyrood Distillery, 19 St Leonard’s Lane, Edinburgh EH8 9SH.

Telephone 0131 285 8977

N.B. Holyrood Distillery asks all visitors to adhere to government guidance and onsite direction.

A wide choice of Scottish gins and whiskies at the Courtyard Bar

The Taunton Cider Company: Award-winning, Artisan, ‘Proper Cider from Somerset’.

What could be more refreshing that an ice cold glass of cider on a summer’s day.  Just like alcoholic ginger beer, this is Apple juice for grown ups.

Sparkling, ice cold Apple Juice with an alcoholic kick

It was the Romans who discovered how to ferment apple juice and fast forward to the 11th century when the Normans conquered Britain, they brought their fruit-growing and cider-making expertise with them. The fertile soil and warm climate in the West Country was ideal for apple orchards. Thus, the British cider industry was born.

A Treatise of Cider, 1678

In 1805, in the Somerset village of Norton Fitzwarren, a farmers’ co-operative was formed to make cider which developed with great success. In 1911, Reverend Cornish, a cider maker at Heathfield Rectory and his gardener Arthur Moore, collaborated in the business and within a year they established The Taunton Cider Company.

The original Taunton Cider Company – loading the barrels

Following The Second Wold War, Taunton Cider supplied local and regional pubs  and through the 1950s and 1960s the British brewing industry developed through takeover mergers. Taunton Cider sales increased with share holders assisting the rising scale of cider production – also launching half-pint and two-pint bottles as an alternative to the traditional draught cider. 

The famous Taunton Dry Blackthorn Cider

Guinness became an investor in order to create new brands of cider, venture into the off licence trade, supermarket sales and  marketing with great success. by 1992 the company grew to become the second largest cider maker in the UK, producing 30 million gallons per year employing 550 people most of whom were based in the village of Norton Fitzwarren.

Taunton Cider Octopus, a painting by Mike Jeffries

After a management buyout and a public floatation, Taunton Cider was taken over by Matthew Clark in 1992.  Unfortunately, production at the original Somerset Mill was closed down in 1998 with the majority of loyal workers made redundant.

Somerset is Cider and Scrumpy country

Somerset in the West Country is at the heart and heritage of English cider making, best known for its strong, cloudy, scrumpy ciders, dry and medium-sweet versions, the county is known for bittersweet apples creating traditional flavours from vintage cider recipes.

The historic company was reborn in 2015

The good news is that The Taunton Cider Company was re-registered in 2015 by a group of cider enthusiasts setting up premises at Cutliffe Farm, Sherfor to produce a range of traditional ciders, crafted from 100% heritage apple varieties from local orchards.

Gathering local apples in Somerset orchards

Working with the best apple growers, we harvest, press, ferment and make premium ciders with no additional concentrates. .. it’s a really natural product blended by our master cider maker. We are building our brand whilst being respectful of the history, heritage and importance of Taunton Cider in Somerset.”  Jonathan Dunne, founder and owner.

Taunton Cider has partnered with Stewley Orchard which is committed to the responsibility of its conservation and the care of twenty varieties of heritage apple trees.  The ecology of this Orchard is vitally important, with birds and honeybees, Roe deer and rabbits, all benefiting from the fallen fruits, wild flowers, grasses and ponds.

Stewley Orchard, now back in the hands of Taunton Cider Company

Cider is akin to Champagne

The slow fermentation and crafting of Champagne – similar process to Cider

It’s fascinating to know that the British invented the ‘Champagne method’ for cider production well before Dom Perignon began making his superior sparkling wine in northern France!

The tradition of mashing, pressing and fermenting the apples

The ‘Cider is Wine’ group is keen that British Heritage Alcoholic Drinks are given the same financial and business benefits as other drinks industries.  Cider and Perry made from 100% juice (grape, apple, pear, or other fruits) should be treated like wine due to the similarities in production.  The soil on which the apples are grown influence the taste – just like wine with its regional terroir.

The Taunton Cider Taste Test:

Having not sipped a Cider for many years, I recently opened a bottle of Taunton Dry cider while watching the women singles final at the Australian Tennis Open – on TV, not in Melbourne. As it’s summer there, a refreshing ice-cold cider was just the perfect tipple due to the fact that light, sparkling Cider is produced with a similar method to Champagne!

The various styles and strengths of Taunton ciders are so fresh tasting, not overly sweet but with the crisp, tart flavour of biting into a juicy apple.

Taunton Dry Original Cider, 4% ABV

Dabinett, Harry Masters Jersey and Yarlington Mill apples.

Soft sunshine gold in colour with an aroma of aged oak.  Slightly dry on the tongue, smooth with a crisp, tangy apple taste.  Served ice cold, this is deliciously refreshing.

Taunton Medium Cider, 4%  ABV

Dabinett, Harry Masters Jersey and Yarlington Mill apples. 

Warm amber shade with lightly sparkling effervescence. A well balanced blend of floral and bittersweet apple flavours then a lingering taste of smoky earthiness.  

Taunton Proper Natch Cider,  5.5% ABV

A sharp, dry traditional cider, proper Natch is made with the finest Somerset apples. A proper thirst quenching cider. “

Light amber in colour, smooth, silky texture and natural, juicy fruity taste. Ideal with food as an alternative to an IPA: think Pub grub, Sausage and mash, Veggie Burger, Fish & chips.

 Taunton Longaller Mill Cider, 5% ABV

A blend of classic apple varieties, Yarlington Mill, Sweet Coppin, Improved Lambert Pippin and Tom Putt from a single orchard at Longaller Mill in Somerset, which has produced apples to make cider since the early 1900s.

A golden hued, premium, semi-dry cider with a light sparkling carbonation, smooth tasting, with a long lasting, classic apple cake flavour.

While cool, crisp and refreshing drinks sipped on their own, Taunton ciders can accompany lunch or supper, too and also use as an ingredient, in pies, cakes and add to sauces – apple is traditional with pork – and ideal with seafood.

Scallops with leeks, Taunton Cider and Apple

Baked Scallop in the shell, buttered leeks, Taunton cider and Apple

Check out the recipe here. https://www.tauntoncider.co.uk/blogs/news/baked-scallop-in-the-shell-buttered-leeks-taunton-cider-and-apple

Taunton Cider Company combines traditional methods with contemporary skills for small batch, premium quality and such a pure, natural taste.  ​This is ​authentic, Artisan, craft cider at its best. 

Proper Cider from Somerset”

What drinkers are saying:

Proper apples are used and you can tell straight away. Dry crisp taste, just worried that it’s a bit moreish as only 12 in a case.!”

“Fanstastic tasting local cider from a great company. The Vintage cider is really good, 10/10.”

It’s not easy to stop at one. This cider has become by far my favourite.”

Since their first cider was bottled in 2016, the “new” Taunton Cider Company has been presented with no less than thirty awards in the first four years of production. At the annual International Cider Challenge Trophy. the Medium received the highest accolade, the Trophy, and the Dry, Medium and Vintage varieties have also won bronze, silver and gold awards.

Taunton Cider is served at a selection of leading hospitality and leisure venues, such as Soho House and the National Trust.

Read more about the company, the range of ciders and purchase online at www.tauntoncider.co.uk