Gin has become one of our favourite spirits as a nation, and it’s easy to see why. Fast to distil and delicious to drink, juniper berries are at its heart along with a range of other botanicals.
‘London Dry’ is the most common type of gin, and to gain this quality recognition, the base spirit needs to be distilled to a neutral spirit of 96% abv, have flavours added through distillation of ‘natural plant materials’, and can have nothing added after distillation apart from water and a small amount of sugar. After that process, it’s then brought down to 37.5% abv – a much-more palatable percentage of alcohol!
Gin was developed in England after the introduction of the Dutch juniper-based spirit, genever, in the 1600s. From the late 1600s to mid-1700s, thousands of gin-shops opened all over the country – a period that became known as the Gin Craze. Poor quality gin was often drunk by the poor of London and this may have been partly responsible for the high death rate during this time, and the nickname ‘mother’s ruin’ still survives to this day.
The recent gin revolution was spearheaded by London distillery, Sipsmith. In 2009 they set up the city’s first traditional copper distillery since 1820. London’s craft distilling scene exploded and the rest of the UK soon followed suit – now there are over 300 distilleries producing the spirit.
Gin is popular all around the world, and in recent years the top three gin-drinking countries have been Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands, with the UK coming in at fourth (yes, we were surprised at that too!).
There’s even a World Gin Day, organised by blogger, Gin Monkey, which aims to get people together all around the world with a legitimate excuse to drink some gin. It happens on the second Saturday in June every year – so get the date in your diary!
With Scotland’s distinguished distilling history, it should come as no surprise that we’re now producing a raft of unique gins that utilise the ingredients from the country’s natural larder.
Garden Shed gin were inspired by botanicals found on their doorstep, including the wild blackberries and dandelions growing in their garden, plus locally grown juniper, blackberries, lavender, coriander seed and dandelion root. As well as using Scottish ingredients, Garden Shed also gives back to Scottish charities such as The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Tress4Scotland – one of the many reasons why we love them!
Caorunn is crafted by just one man and distilled in small batches in the highlands. Wild highland botanicals—rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, coul blush apple and dandelion leaf—are mixed with traditional gin botanicals—juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root and cassia bark—and the spirit is vaporised through the world’s only working Copper Berry Chamber.
As the British took over the governance of India in the mid-1800s, British immigrants began to contract malaria. A cure came from the bark of the chinchona or ‘fever’ tree (which our favourite tonic is named after), and this contained bitter quinine. To make it a little bit more delicious, sugar, lime, ice and gin were added: this was the birth of the G&T.
Gin is a particular favourite in classic cocktails – from the stylish Martini (mostly definitely stirred, not shaken, Mr Bond…) to the bitter Negroni. We’ve put our spin on some gin cocktails below…
The Fizzin’ Flamingo is a sweet and fruity evolution of the G&T. Inspired by the sociable flamingo, its pink gradated colour is created by a wonderful rhubarb liqueur. An easy-going party starter, it’s perfect for sipping while socialising with a group of friends.
Gin, Aperol and rosé Prosecco all found in one cocktail – what’s not to love? This sweet, bubbly drink is full of flavour and Saint Germain elderflower liqueur adds some lovely floral notes.
Pink gin has become increasingly popular of late, and we make it the star of this super floral cocktail. A blend of rose syrup and crème de violette (you guessed it, made from violet flowers) is mixed with strawberries, and there’s a wee sour punch from lime and pink grapefruit juice.