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July 5, 2019

When it opened in 1819, The Waterloo Hotel on Waterloo Place, at the west end of Princes Street, was the first, large scale, purpose-built hotel in the city.

Over the years, it has played host to many a famous figure. Charles Dickens stayed often when visiting the capital.

A greater inspiration for the new 1819 gin was another guest: the world renowned botanist Asa Gray. He counted Charles Darwin as a close friend and frequented the hotel in the 1800s.

Seven of the hotel's staff members and general manager Alan Harbisher worked with Eden Mill to create a gin whose botanic mix paid homage to Mr Gray.

The floral gin combines a number of key ingredients or botanicals including the citrus notes of juniper berry and the peppery, aromatic taste of rosemary. It is rounded off with smoky hints from allspice.

Rich history

Alan, who has been general manager for ten years, said: 'Waterloo Place Hotel has seen a rich history throughout its two hundred years here in Edinburgh. Many famous faces have resided in the property, from royalty to film stars and everyone in between. Our new gin, The 1819, seemed a fitting way to not only celebrate its anniversary, but give a nod to one famous guest in particular – botanist Asa Gray.

'The bespoke spirit was a real team effort and I’m sure our customers and guests will taste the labour of love that went into getting the combination of botanicals just right. What better way of celebrating two hundred years on Waterloo Place than by raising a glass of the good stuff?' 

Fancy a cocktail?

The 1819 cocktail selection includes one called Dicken's Delight.

The 1819 cocktail selection includes one called Dicken's Delight.

For a short time, the hotel will be serving five signature cocktails, including The Botanist and Origin of Species, starting from £9.

Fans of The 1819 will also have the chance to get their hands on a bottle of the limited edition gin, but with only twelve bottles available, you will have to be quick.

If it proves popular, the hotel may consider producing new bespoke gins.

When it first opened two hundred years ago, The Waterloo Hotel had fifty bedrooms, a coffee room and three dining rooms.

Benefitting from a recent, multi-million pound refurbishment, today's Apex Waterloo Place has 184 bedrooms, an airy bar and the spacious Elliot's Restaurant.

Book dinner via 5pm

Book able via 5pm, the restaurant runs regular 5pm offers. A very popular offer is their £40 offer for two people to each enjoy three courses from the fixed price menu plus a bottle of house wine to share.

You can book here.

Having sampled several cocktails made with The 1819, we recommend you swing by the bar for an appetite sharpener before your meal.

If you really want to go the whole gin hog, you could also take advantage of the hotel’s latest B&B package:  an overnight stay, breakfast the following day and a gin-themed afternoon tea for two, including a bespoke cocktail, expertly shaken at the table by the in-house mixologist.