‘Yes, people, today is the first-ever official International Scottish Gin Day! In honour of Scottish Gin and Scottish Gin drinkers, we’ve pulled together a wee list of our personal favourites from home…’
Isle of Harris
Harris is located in the Western Isles, at the southern end of Lewis and Harris. It’s the more mountainous end of the island and is known for being the home of Harris Tweed. Harris Gin has only been available for the past few years, but it has already won multiple awards, including Scottish Gin of the Year in 2018. The distillery uses the local waters of The Minch to source the sugar kelp, which gives the gin such a unique taste. The brand new Isle of Harris distillery and visitor centre is based in Tarbert and offers daily peak season tours. When we visited a few weeks ago, the tours were sold out for a week in advance. At the time of writing, the distillery is working on its first batch of whisky, the Hearach.
Try Isle of Harris original with a slice of grapefruit and tonic.
Eden Mill is also a fairly new distillery, based in the beautiful coastal town of St. Andrews in Fife. The distillery was the first single-site in Scotland to produce gin, whisky and beer. The distillery is based on the banks of the River Eden and the company sources botanicals from the local area, including from coastal and local fields. Eden Mill offers tours of their distillery and, as well as the regular gin, they have a range of flavoured gin liqueurs.
Try Mango and Pineapple gin liqueur neat with ice, or lemonade.
The people behind Edinburgh Gin have been producing the spirit in Scotland’s capital city since 2010. The original gin and the newer batch of flavoured gin liqueurs have become firm favourites on supermarket shelves across the UK. I can even buy it in Wales, which I can’t say for many other Scottish gins. The company has two distilleries; both based in Edinburgh. One is located in the West End of the city (a five-star attraction and one of the top 10 city attractions on TripAdviser) and a new distillery opened in 2016 in the neighborhood of Leith, at the northern end of the city. Tours are available for both distilleries.
Try Rhubarb and Ginger Gin with lots of ice
Caorunn, pronounced ka-roon, is the Scottish Gaelic word for Rowan Berry, which is one of the main components of this Speyside, Highland gin. Their Balmenach Distillery is located in Grantown-on-Spey and the distillery was first established in the area in 1824, for the production of whisky. It has gone through several incarnations since then and was finally bought by Inver House Distillers in 1998. Caorunn has developed a range of gins, with its core original, plus the newer flavoured liqueurs. Tours can be booked online via the website.
Try Original Caorunn with tonic and slices of red apple.
Misty Isle gin comes from the Isle of Skye, on Scotland’s beautiful west coast. The brainchild of the Wilson brothers, from the town of Portree on the island, the gin was started from their family home. The small-batch gin is made with 11 different botanicals and water from Storr Lochs on the island. The brothers currently have two gins; Misty Isle original, and Tommy gin, which is in memory of their late father. Although the distillery currently has no information about tours, they have a Gin School in Portree. That’s a class we wouldn’t mind getting out of bed for on a Monday morning. The tutorials run frequently and pupils can craft their very own unique gin.
Try Tommy’s Gin with ice, a slice of orange and lots of tonic
The Botanist gin is distilled on the Isle of Islay (pronounced Isla) in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. It’s the only dry gin made on the island, which has long been famous for its whisky distillation. The gin is made from 22 locally sourced botanicals, including heather and creeping thistles. What could be more Scottish than that? If your gin has those in it already, you can get away with not wearing an Islay tartan kilt when you’re drinking it. The Bruichladdich Distillery is located near Port Charlotte on the southwestern portion of the island. Tours of the distillery can be booked online.
Try Botanist Gin, a teaspoon of Scottish jam, crushed ice and tonic water.
Rock Rose Gin
Rock Rose Gin is produced in the town of Caithness by Dunnet Bay Distillers. Caithness is already world-famous for its glass, so it was only right to find something amazing to go in it. The hand-crafted spirit is the brainchild of married couple, Martin and Clare Dunnet, who came up with the idea in 2002. Fast forward through years of research and the distillery produced its first test batches in August 2014. The company now produces an original Scottish botanicals gin, a navy strength gin (ooft…) and a beautiful pink grapefruit gin. They also produce vodka but, as it’s not International Scottish Vodka Day, we probably shouldn’t be talking about that. Except we have and it’s really good. Not sorry.
Try Scottish Botanicals with a sprig of rosemary, lots of ice and Scottish tonic.
Scottish International Gin Day just happens coincides with LT’s birthday, so we’ve got even more excuse to test out the range. Not that we need an excuse, you understand. Half of our pairing is Scottish, after all…
Happy International Scottish Gin Day!