Not a lot of people realise how important Scotland is to gin – it was here that the continuous still was invented, allowing for a purer gin to be made on an industrial scale; also, that Scottish juniper was exported to the Netherlands to be made in to Jenever (Gin’s Dutch cousin). Indeed, G&T is so synonymous with Britain that it comes as a shock that more gin is drunk, per capita, in Edinburgh than in any other city in the United Kingdom.
Is it fair, we have single malt and now we are claiming Gin?
Scotland has always had the knowledge in creating great spirit alcohols and so it should not be a surprise that the new interest in gin has been fuelled by the new craft and artisan gins, literally, pouring out of Scotland.
We have always had a knack for producing eccentric products. The myriad tastes of malt whisky from three simple ingredients – from honeyed to citrus to smokey. Woollen cloth woven into a kaleidoscopic number of tartans – from weathered hues to retina damaging acid colours. I could go on, but as you get my drift, I’ll spare you.
It should be no surprise, then, that us crafty Scots have taken to Gin and manipulated it’s taste with a cornucopia of herbs, spices, flowers, barks, fruits, nuts and anything else we have found in the hedgerows, seaside and kitchen cupboards.
True to gin’s spirit and legal obligations juniper is always present, but we have gone on to tamper and tinker with the other botanicals used to create some new tipples that are unique, surprising and sometimes totally bonkers.
To find out more, we will be taking you by the glass-in-hand to give you your GINdependence Day. Let’s take a trip around Scotland discovering gins, giving them a taste, a review and some sneaky recipes for you to enjoy them - more than just a torrent of tonic and a contribution of lemon.
Believe it or not Scotland has a Gin Trail, where you can rumble around the country and pull up at distilleries to get a tour, a tasting and a poke about in the bins. This seems like a good place to start as any on our Magical Mystery Tour of Scottish Gin.
Goggles on, crank up the jalopy – in Episode 2 we are off to Gordon Castle, where the notion of legal whisky distillation was born…