It produces 70 per cent of the UK’s gin and is now home to over 50 different producers, so if you are looking for some ginuine ginspiration this World Gin Day (10 June), look no further than Scotland.
The country is becoming a magnet for gin enthusiasts thanks to its ever growing collection of craft brands infused with some wonderful natural botanicals.
Scotland’s links to gin go back centuries with many crediting Edinburgh-born George Cleghorn with creating the first gin and tonic after discovering quinine could cure malaria. The quinine was drunk in tonic water with gin to make it more palatable.
In recent years, ‘Mother’s Ruin’ has enjoyed a notable resurgence. From Shetland to Dumfries, there are new distilleries, exciting events and unique gin-themed experiences popping up the length and breadth of the country, making Scotland the perfect place to come this World Gin Day and beyond.
GREAT GIN GET-TOGETHERS
The Edinburgh edition of the popular Juniper Festival is a mainstay in the Gin Lovers’ calendar and offers the chance to kick off your World Gin Day festivities a week early. The Capital is home to some of the country’s best loved botanical brands and the festival offers the chance to exchange your experiences with some of the best local and international exhibitors.
Glasgow Juniper Gin Festival
SWG3 venue, Glasgow
The following week head west for Glasgow’s Juniper Gin Festival. With a variety of top producers to try before you buy, as well as gin talks, cocktails, food stalls and handmade fashions and crafts on sale, the Juniper Festival is a celebration of all things gin.
The Gin Fest
Bonar Hall, University of Dundee
Showcasing Scottish gin –old and new – enjoy a day of creative cocktails and delicious food as you learn about the perfect serves in the contemporary city of Dundee.
Wee G & T Festival
This little festival made a big impression in its first year, with a second outing planned for this September. Held in the Salutation Hotel in the beautiful heart of Perth City Centre, this year’s event boasts over 50 different gins to taste, as well as workshops, a chance to meet the distillers and gin-inspired recipes and cocktails. But we quick – last year was a sell out!
Gin Fest Edinburgh 2017
Corn Exchange, Edinburgh
World Gin Day might be over, but the gin celebrations continue as the UK’s biggest and oldest gin festival returns to Edinburgh, bringing with it over 100 different gins, as well as live music, great food and a gin cocktail bar. Gin lovers can soak up some Scottish distilling heritage with an extra special 5th bar, dedicated exclusively to Scottish gins.
Stirling Gin Festival
Stirling Highland Hotel
Now in its fourth year, this little festival has gone from strength to strength and now welcomes some of the top distilleries in Scotland. With over 60 gins to try the hardest task on the day will be where to start!With over 60 gins to try, the hardest task on the day is deciding where to start!
SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT
Can’t decide where to start or what distillery appeals to your taste buds? Then embark on your own gin adventures on Scotland’s very own gin trail. Created by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and launched just last year, Scotland’s Gin Trail hopes to mirror the success of the country’s whisky trails by taking visitors on a tour of 12 of the best gin distilleries and bars including Shetland Reel, Eden Mill and Edinburgh Gin.
Located in Summerhall, right in the centre of Edinburgh lies Pickering’s Gin – one of the UK’s premier gin brands. Based on an old Bombay recipe dating back to 1947, the distillery offers not just tasting tours but also the first distillery-themed escape game. Using the original rooms in the old small animal hospital, which closed its doors to veterinary teaching in 2011, this thrilling experience sees Pickering’s Gin and LockedIn Edinburgh challenge gin fans to solve the clues, save the distillery and most importantly save the gin!
Get away from the stresses of daily life and unwind on this Hebridean haven of Colonsay at the Gin Lovers Retreat. Wild Thyme Spirits, makers of Colonsay Gin, are husband and wife team – Finlay and Eileen Geekie – who after 30 years decided to swap the hustle and bustle of Oxfordshire for the tiny island. Their Gin Lovers Retreat couples the stunning surroundings and pristine coastlines of the Outer Hebrides with a collection of over 200 gins.
This summer sees the arrival of Scotland’s first ‘Grain to Glass School of Gin’ at the Deeside Brewery in Aberdeenshire. In a region known for its castles, coast line and links to the Royal Family. Deeside Brewery has partnered with Peaty Nose to bring an entirely new gin experience to the North East. Class begins with a history of gin, a study of various styles and a lesson in botanicals before pupils graduate on to making their very own bottle of gin.
If you are looking for the perfect cocktail of spirits and culture then the Isle of Harris is just the tonic. Known as the ‘Social Distillery’, its creators decided that the island’s natural assets could be the key to addressing it economic concerns, creating a state of the art attraction that could support the island’s economy and create more job opportunities for its declining population. As well as sampling Harris Gin, which thanks to its nine botanicals – including hand-harvested sugar kelp – offers a real flavour of the island, visitors can also browse the gift shop for the best in local crafts and beauty products.
Located in Fochabers, Moray, Gordon Castle is home to the largest productive walled garden in Scotland where they grow the botanicals for their very own multi-award winning gin. And what better way to sample it than during one of Gordon Castle Gin Feasts. The next one on World Gin Day (10th June) will see gin lovers enjoy a delicious four course meal served with four matching Gordon Castle Gin cocktails.
NEW ADDITIONS TO SCOTLAND’S GIN CROWD
The first distillery in Dundee for almost 200 years only opened its doors in April with the launch of its Verdant Dry Gin. Over the coming years, the distillery hopes to extend its range to include vodka, rum, vermouth and in the future, rye whisky.
Based in Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway, this new gin distillery boasts the honour of being one of the few that also creates its alcohol. Perfection takes time though and over 50 different recipes were tried and tested before creating their gin. This month, sees the launch of the Crafty Distillery – Tour, Taste and Mix, which takes visitors on a guided tour of the modern distillery, lifting the lid on the liquid-sorcery of the distilling. The experience ends with an information tasting and cocktail mixing sessions.
For more about gin in Scotland, including recipes and tasting tips, go to: visitscotland.com/scottishgin
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