In 1545 the battle of Ancrum Moor took place between the Scottish and the English and the unlikely apocryphal heroine of this scrape was called Lilliard. A wee woman who gallantly fought at the battle following the death of her lover and immortalised in the following verse:
“Fair maiden Lilliard lies under this stane little was her stature but muckle was her fame upon the English loons she laid monie thumps and when her legs were cuttit off she fought upon her stumps.”
Not a lady to trifle with, obviously, and she has also given her name to a gin from the borders of Scotland.
The distillery is based at the Born in the Borders Brewery just outside Jedburgh. Lilliard Gin is distilled in small batches in a copper still called Donald. Unusual to find a male still as most are named after the female of the species. But Donald is a trooper and parps and gurgles away in the rolling countryside of the Scottish Borders about 10 miles from the border with England.
I must admit here that I am rather partial to Lilliard Gin as it is light and floral and in my Venn diagram it sits squarely in the ‘More-ish’ sector. Lilliard’s palette of botanicals gives it a standout middle section - with it being stacked with Rosehip, Rowan, Meadowsweet and Elderflower. A Summer falling into Autumn Gin with a whisper of Juniper that takes a backseat and allows the Border Botanicals to go acapella.
This is a very clean and fresh gin that has a delicate note on the nose of the florals, sweet and flowery, with the juniper dancing away in the mid-ground. It is a gentle gin and so the tonic you choose needs to be carefully thought out. I am torn between Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic with orange garnish or Fentiman’s Pink Grapefruit Tonic, but end up going for the Pink Grapefruit. It adds a refreshment of sherbet citrus with enough perfume to intertwine with Lilliard’s florals to give a light depth to the Gin and Tonic.
Make sure you add plenty of ice and for a garnish consider fresh strawberries to bolster the florals with berry fruitiness. Then sit back, forget the rain, and imagine a hot summer day in the garden.
Lilliard reminds me on Bloom Gin and its claim of being based on an English cottage garden. But Lilliard tops this by offering you a Scottish Summer’s day with a walk in the Teviot Valley.
The long Lilliard and Tonic can also be zhoozhed up with raspberries, rose petal or mint. Then again make a jug and add the lot.
Lilliard Gin is a small distillery that came into being after successfully crowdfunding the venture. It can be difficult to get hold of but if you pop over to Born in the Borders Online Shop then you can have it sent to you. You won’t be disappointed.