Spend an afternoon at the Scotch Whisky Experience, an Old Town emporium offering an amber-hued window into Scotland’s liquid history. Skip the hour-long tour at the accompanying museum; instead, chat with the shop’s amiable, knowledgeable staffers while perusing the 300-bottle collection, including rare and limited-edition distillations, like a 40-year-old, Oloroso-aged Dalmore, which retails for roughly $2,360. Don’t have a small mint to spend? Pick up a 12-year-old Aberfeldy, a dry single malt from the Highlands ($51). True Scotch hounds should sign up for one of the shop’s small-scale tasting events, like this spring’s Evening With the Blenders, hosted by local distillers (tickets $42).
Pregame for a night on the town with a locally brewed Barney's Pale Ale ($5) and hearty bowl of lamb stew ($10) at The Royal Dick, the café and craft brewery at Summerhall, Edinburgh’s hottest new venue and Europe’s largest private arts center. Afterward, kick up your heels at Grown Ups, a raucous, retro dance party that spans funk, soul, and disco hits on vintage vinyl in Summerhall’s industrial-chic Dissection Room (admission $16.50). Get your after party on at Bramble, a hip subterranean cocktail bar in New Town, where a well-coiffed crowd sips creative tipples like the Campbeltown, a mix of Springbank single malt, Cherry Heering, and green chartreuse (drinks from $10).
Shop like an Edinburgh gourmand, starting with local delicacies like Cumberland pork sausages ($8 per half kilogram) and Stornoway black pudding by the tube ($20) at Crombies of Edinburgh, a craft butcher in New Town. Get hip to local cultures quite literally at I.J. Mellis Cheesemonger, which stocks British curds and whey like Shropshire Blue, Cairnsmore Goat Cheese, and Barwheys Cheddar (cheese from $33 per kilogram). Afterward, head over to “liquid deli” Demijohn, and stock up on elderflower vinegar bottled in Dalmeny and chutney made with Perthshire peaches and gooseberry gin liqueur ($8). On Saturdays, hit the farmers’ market near Castle Terrace, where 55-some vendors hawk duck eggs and homemade chocolates in the shadow of the Edinburgh Castle.