If you’ve been shopping in the Grassmarket in the Old Town of Edinburgh then you’ll have walked past Demijohn on Victoria Street.
You probably noticed the large glass bottles displayed around the walls, full of different coloured liquids. These are demijohn bottles and they are holding an array of cordials, liqueurs, spirits, wines, oils and vinegars.
Demijohn has a fantastically simple concept, pick an empty glass bottle and then choose which of their delicious products to fill it with. Staff will guide you and offer tasters and advice. Once you’ve finished your Gooseberry gin liquer from East Lothian or Apple Vinegar from Perthshire; wash out your bottle and return to Demijohn to fill it anew!
Tell us all about Demijohn and being part of the Grassmarket community
We opened our first Demijohn store in Victoria Street 15 years ago. We describe ourselves as a liquid deli and sell a range of fantastic artisan made liqueurs, spirits, wines, oils, vinegars and non-alcoholic cordials. We believe that taste is the most important selling point of these delicious products and so every one of our wares is open to taste. They are sold from an array of large glass demijohns and bottled for each customer into any one of a quirky collection of bottles. Since then we have opened further stores in Glasgow’s Byres Road and York’s Museum Street, but we remain a very family run business with a great team we like to think of as our extended family.
We met Bill and Helen early on as the Grassmarket traders are a very supportive family to one another. We all know how important it is for independent small businesses to show their customers just how unique we can be and fortunately our customers seem to appreciate that.
Many of our flavours come from our producers, many of whom start with a fruit and create their delicious liqueurs as a way of preserving these wonderful flavours longer than is possible in a fresh state, or diversifying from the raw product, such as our rhubarb liqueur which was first created by an Inverness-shire rhubarb farmer for his wife’s birthday! Our country produces such a wonderful array of drinks, fruits and flavours that we never cease to get excited by a possible new flavour. We like to experiment at home with new flavours too and then, together with our producers, work to create the quantities that our customers need. We have recently been reworking our walnut liqueur and experimented in the autumn with new hedgerow flavours.
Small businesses bring something unique and individually tailored to their customers. We also are directly involved in ensuring that the area stays lively, occupied, and content. We can’t just up-sticks as readily as large corporate finance backed companies and so it’s really important to us that we contribute to the community beneficially. It, of course, goes unsaid that small businesses are the grassroots of rate and tax revenue.
What are your most popular flavours and what is your personal preference? (We love the Sloe Gin from Worcestershire here at Bill Baber Knitwear!)
We find it so hard to choose a favourite: Bramble Scotch Whisky Liqueur was almost our founding drink as we met its producers, Robin and Derry, when we were first dreaming up the business and we think it encapsulates so many of things Scotland is best at producing: whisky, soft fruit, and happiness. Our Seville Orange Gin delights our own obsession with finding the perfect marmalade while also putting a zing in any occasion. And our range of olive oils are so delicious and fresh. We are so lucky to be able to source them direct from the growers on the estates where they are grown so we know that we are getting the freshest pressed oil from each harvest. But the list could go on and on, we’d find it far too hard to narrow it down!
Many thanks to Angus for speaking with us and for everyone at Demijohn for being so helpful whenever we pop in with a question about which liquer would go best with fizz or what would be an ideal Father’s Day gift! They also offer in store Tasting experiences which would be a unique experience – what a great way to spend an afternoon in Edinburgh!