It comes as no surprise that over the past few years there has been a massive revival in the Gin industry. As a younger man, I probably would have squirmed at the thought of drinking Gin but times have changed and I have taken quite a liking to this deliciously refreshing drink. Over 16 million bottles of Gin worth £413m were sold in the 2017 festive period. There are over 315 Gin distilleries in the UK alone and with each competing to bring a new contemporary edge to what used to be quite a traditional tipple, it’s important that they stand out in a crowded market. Juniper berries, which gives gin its unique taste, grow in abundance in Scotland. Therefore it is no surprise that Scottish distilleries are taking full advantage of this as well as the varied amount of botanicals available.
Whether you like it straight up, on the rocks, with tonic or mixed in a cocktail, there is bound to be a Gin that tantalises those taste buds.
Here are my top #blublazerguy recommendations:
I was first introduced to Darnley’s Gin whilst attending a masterclass at this year’s Edinburgh Cocktail Week. This Gin is created at a quaint distillery called Kingsbarns which is located in the East Neuk of Fife. Having grown up in Fife, I was immediately intrigued about this brand and the range of Gins that they produce.
I was lucky enough to visit the distillery and try out their new ‘distil your own’ experience. Housed in a small cottage in the Darnley’s school of Gin, this experience is the perfect gift for any Gin lover. Here you are able to learn about the history of Gin and how different botanicals can be used to enhance its flavour. The exciting part for me was when i was able to pick my own botanicals from their vast collection to craft my very own blend of Gin in their mini stills. After naming and labelling your Gin and you get to take your unique bottle home. This highly informative and fun day costs £100pp and lasts 2.5 hours. . I found this day very enlightening and it was a great way to learn more about the process that goes into Gin making.
Whilst there I tasted their numerous blends of Gin, my favourite being their original blend which contains notes of elderflower and citrus creating a clean, fresh and light taste that goes perfectly with tonic.
Situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh is the beautiful Secret Herb Garden, a patch of land taken over in 2012 by Hamish Martin and his family. They painstakingly brought the area to life, creating an award-winning herb nursery with over 600 types of herbs. They then branched out and used this space for events, local arts centre, shop and café. If that wasn’t enough, Hamish then created Old Curiosity Gin with co-founder and mixologist Steve Ross. Using both of their experience and taking advantage of the vast range of natural ingredients that grew around them, this distinctive Gin was born.
After attending an evening in their new barn conversion and meeting Hamish himself, it was evident to see how passionate he was about their range of Gin creations. With distinctive flavours such as Lavender and Echinacea, Chamomile and Cornflower and Apothecary Rose you are guaranteed a beautiful tasting Gin with the added bonus of a miraculous change in colour as the tonic is added. In addition to these, Old Curiosity Gin have launched three limited edition blends; Damask Rose, Geranium and Mallow and their Christmas blend with Cinnamon, Ginger and Cardamom. My favourite was the Damask Rose as the sweet smell of Rose petal transports you to the exotic middle east.
I am not going to lie, I know it’s what’s on the inside that counts but the beautiful bottle that houses this delicious Gin is what initially caught my eye. The vessel was created to represent the crystal clear water that laps against this Scottish island shores. You will be thankful to know that you won’t be disappointed by what’s on the inside either. I remember first experiencing this Gin in a small cosy pub in Edinburgh. Its clean, refreshing and unique taste immediately captivated me. The sugar kelp that is hand-harvested by local divers off the coast of this beautiful Island, gives this gin its unique taste and truly captures the essence of the Isle of Harris. As I haven’t yet visited Isle of Harris yet, I have made it my 2019 resolution to explore this magnificent island and visit their distillery.
I first discovered Daffy’s Gin just after its launch at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival. It was clear to see that this Gin was going to be a hit as there was queues of people waiting excitedly to taste it. Distilled in Strathmashie Distillery located in the Scottish Highlands, this Gin’s unique selling point is its use of French Grain Spirit, Lebanese Mint and other carefully sourced botanicals from around the world. Along with its this fantastic blend of ingredients and its striking bottle design, Daffy’s Gin have created a contemporary Gin that takes your taste buds on a fantastic journey. I often use Daffy’s Gin in Gin Martini’s due to its fresh and clean taste.
Based in Scotland’s capital city; Edinburgh Gin is a small-batch distiller who produces a varied range of Gins to suit all tastes. Their distilleries are based in Edinburgh’s West End and Leith. Edinburgh Gin have grown in popularity immensely as they stand out with their brand logo and unique variety of products. Along with their Classic, Seaside and Navy Strength gin, they also produce a delicious selection of Gin-based liqueurs, each with its own distinctive flavour combination such as Pomegranate and Rose, Plum and Vanilla and Rhubarb and Ginger, to name a few. My favourite has to be their Seaside edition, which is inspired by the East Coast of Scotland. This contains a delicate selection of marine plants adding a subtle minerality to the blend. In addition to this I often use a dash of their Rhubarb and Ginger Gin liqueur to transform Prosecco.