Gin is having something of a moment right now.

Whilst at its basic form it’s a spirit mixed with juniper berries, gin is a complex drink packed with potential. Served neat over ice, with a wedge of orange or cucumber, or blended with botanical juices in a cocktail, it’s a hugely versatile spirit.

Thanks to the rise of craft distilleries popping up, Scottish-made gin is having an impact worldwide.

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Lucky enough to have them right on our doorstep, why not peruse some of the best Scottish gins here.

Go on, that’s the spirit. 

The Dundee Gin Company

The Dundee Gin Company burst onto the market in April 2017 with a new London Dry Gin, quickly followed by a brand new recipe Marmalade Gin Liqueur. The classic dry gin is bottled at an ABV of 46 per cent and contains ten botanicals.

HeraldScotland:

Crafted in small batches of around 250 bottles, this gin celebrates the traditions of a classic London Dry Gin, on the palate the ubiquitous juniper leads, followed by citrus notes, rich earthy tones and a hint of liquorice.  Complex and mellow, with an almost velvet smoothness, it makes a wonderful partner for a chunk of grapefruit and a quality tonic water. The Marmalade Gin Liqueur is a well-rounded balance between spirit and marmalade sweetness, perfect with a wedge of orange and a double dash of lemonade or soda water.

HeraldScotland:

Currently stocked around Dundee, Perth and their environs our team are looking additional outlets nationwide. Meanwhile the company’s gin fairies are currently locked in the laboratory, working on a range of exciting, seasonal gin liqueurs to compliment the core products.

Visit www.thedundeegin.com for more. 

Indian Summer Gin

Prestigious spirits company Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky are based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.  Renowned for their fine collection of outstanding award-winning whiskies and rums, part of their portfolio includes Indian Summer Gin that is sure to add a bit of colour to any party.

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Wanting to stand out from the crowd, the gin contains the precious spice saffron, which gives it a distinctive golden-yellow hue, reminiscent of a sizzling summer day.  The saffron also gives the spirit a warm, rich aromatic flavour which complements the diverse botanicals.

Indian Summer is a clean and flavoursome gin which contains carefully selected natural ingredients.  Bottled at a higher than usual 46% ABV, the botanicals include Angelica bark, almonds, coriander seed, cassia, juniper berries, lemon and orange peel, liquorish and orris root.

HeraldScotland:

This gin is the soul of summer in a bottle and is one to add the collection for any gin enthusiast. Drink it as a classic G&T with ice and a fruit of your choice – lemon and orange are good to complement the botanicals.  Or, add it as a cocktail ingredient to give an extra dimension to your drink.

For more information head to www.indian-summer.com

Shetland Reel Gin

Distilled and bottled on the mysterious and remote Shetland Isles, home-grown ingredients are used to create these unique gins.

HeraldScotland:

The most northerly distillery in the UK, Saxa Vord Distillery produces Shetland Reel Gin in a beautiful location, which is closer to the Arctic Circle than London, and to Bergen than Aberdeen.

Each Shetland Reel Gin blends traditional botanicals with a twist distinctive to the island. The original gin includes locally grown apple mint, and the Ocean Sent Gin uses specially harvested bladderwrack seaweed from the Shetland coastline.

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The gin is available online shop, delivered direct to your door. The products are also stocked in hundreds of retail outlets, bars and restaurants throughout the UK. 

Find out more at www.shetlandreel.com

Stirling Gin

Award winning Stirling Gin was born from Cameron and June McCann's desire to put the heart of Scotland 'Stirling' on the gin map.

The development and refinement of the gin began when Cameron took it upon himself to install in the family kitchen a micro still named Jinty'. He then spent six months distilling and experimenting with around 60 different botanicals in various forms.

HeraldScotland:

The McCann's then enlisted the help of several Stirling residents / gin enthusiasts by creating a tasting panel whom tested and validated the gin.

The final six botanicals used today Juniper, Angelica, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel and the most unique being fresh hand-picked Stirlingshire Nettles and Basil which give an amazing clean green fresh flavour allowing you to sip Stirling Gin straight over ice or as a classic G&T with a garnish of orange zest & basil.

It also lends itself very well in numerous cocktails, especially the 'Bloody Scotland'.

Since it went into full production Stirling Gin has gone from strength to strength, with it being listed across the the UK in specialist independent shops, bars & restaurants. It's now listed with all major wholesalers.

HeraldScotland:

Not wanting to sit back Stirling Gin is certainly putting Stirling on the Gin map with the impending purchase of a building at the top of Stirling near the historic Castle. This will operate as a distillery and visitor centre.

Stirling Gin is currently available in 70cl and 5cl bottles

Follow our journey on FB,Twitter and Instagram or sign up to our newsletter via www.stirlinggin.co.uk

Firkin Gin

After launching in 2015, Firkin gin has enjoyed a quick surge in popularity, firmly establishing itself as a quirky premium bottle that would sit well on any gin shelf. We're proud to create small batch cask aged gins that are quite unlike any other with our 4 times distilled 10 botanical classic dry gin recipe.

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The Oak rested gin is best served either neat or in a tall glass with Fentiman's Rose Lemonade - both with lots of ice while the Islay rested gin is best served with Fentiman's ginger beer over ice with a wedge of lime.

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The recently launched 'Try Me Naked' gin has proved a popular choice. Smooth and flavoursome with no ageing or casks, the signature recipe shines through in all its glory, and is best served neat over ice or with a slice of orange garnish.

Discover more at firkingin.co.uk

Wild Island Gin

Wild Island Botanic Gin is made from 100 per cent British Wheat, distilled five times in the most traditional single copper pot still method and infused with botanicals from the remote Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay. This premium gin is citrus-forward, to be expected from its use of hand gathered lemon balm and sweet Mediterranean lemon peel.

HeraldScotland:

Working in collaboration with the 200 year old award winning, family run distiller, Langley, in the heart of the Black Country, the recipe for Wild Island Botanic Gin was crafted over two years to perfect the smooth, refreshing style the owners wanted to create. It is cut to 43.7 per cent bottling strength with pure Scottish water and bottle in Scotland. Smooth enough to be served on its own over ice, it makes an outstanding Dry Martini and the perfect Gin and Tonic served with a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh mint.

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Each abstract watercolour design on every bottle is hand applied as a wet transfer then kiln fired at 600 degrees to create a permanent decoration inspired by the colours of Kiloran Bay on the island.

From 75 different gins entered, Wild Island Botanic Gin was named as a finalist in the Scottish Gin Awards, the winner to be announced in September.

Visit www.wildislandgin.com for more. 

Lilliard Gin

Lilliard Gin, launched in February this year, is distilled in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The company behind Lilliard are fiercely proud of their region and launched the company to both showcase the Scottish Borders as an area of stunning natural beauty, and to create a product that could attract people and money to a region in Scotland that is frequently overlooked by visitors heading North. The distillery, in the beautiful Teviot Valley, is open to visitors at weekends and for gin tours, and boasts resident ospreys as well as sharing a site with a restaurant and the Scottish Borders Brewery.

HeraldScotland:

A light, floral gin, Lilliard is designed to reflect the fragrant Summer in the rolling Border’s valleys. Botanicals include elderflower, rowan and rosehip, which grow in abundance near their cowshed-turned distillery at Born in the Borders, just three miles outside Jedburgh. The tiny copper still that is used to make Lilliard Gin, at just 60 litres, is one of the smallest production stills in the country. Distilling tradition is that a still will normally bear a female name, but it’s no surprise that in a company where the lead distiller is female, that they’ve named their still Donald, after one of the quirky locals.

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The original Lilliard was the heroine of the Battle of Ancrum Moor, fought between the Scots and English in 1545, just North of where Lilliard Gin was conceived.

She fought to the death to avenge the murder of her lover at the hands of the English, and the landscape that inspired the gin bears her name, so it was only fitting that the gin should too.

Discover more at www.lilliardgin.co.uk

Caorunn Gin

Launched in November 2009, Caorunn Gin (pronounced "ka-roon”) is a handcrafted, small-batch distilled Scottish gin infused with five hand-picked, local botanicals. Caorunn Gin is named after one of its botanicals, the fabled rowan berry, which has inspired Celtic medicines and recipes for generations. The famous Caorunn Asterisk on the bottle is a symbol for five, representing all five of wild, Scottish botanicals, whilst echoing the shape of the bottle.

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Caorunn’s locally foraged Celtic botanicals include coul blush apple, dandelion, heather, bog myrtle and rowan berry which are hand-picked, distilled and infused by Gin Master Simon Buley on the Speyside hills surrounding the Balmenach Distillery.

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Caorunn Gin is available from £28 in selected Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and also Fortnum and Mason, Oddbins, The Conran Shop, Spirited Wines, The Whisky Shop and spirit specialists. The price is subject to change throughout the year within the different retailers.

Visit www.caorunngin.com to find out more. 

Porters Gin

In 2012, founders Ben, Josh and Alex set out to create a new gin recipe that paid homage to the core principles of traditional gin distillation but also utilised modern techniques.

HeraldScotland:

The team reevaluated the gin production process with a fresh perspective; using two styles of distillation and a unique combination of botanicals to create a gin that brought together the best of classic and contemporary distilling.

The result was a modern classic gin with a punchy juniper and a unique citrus flavour profile without the gimmicks. Proud of their product, the no-nonsense team started to spread their gin within the bartender circles from which they came.

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Receiving industry praise, their project quickly became a solid brand... and Porter’s Gin was born.

Find out more by visiting www.portersgin.co.uk

Crossbill Gin

Crossbill Gin is a celebration of juniper and rosehip, two bold and fresh Highland botanicals.

Made using 100 per cent Scottish hand-picked botanicals, we have re-established a long lost tradition of harvesting Scottish juniper. We believe this creates a distinct taste evocative of the ancient pine forests where juniper has grown for centuries.

HeraldScotland:

In the 18th century Scotland’s fragrant juniper was exported to Holland to produce Jenever (gin's great, great grandfather). This tradition died out 200 years ago but Crossbill’s founder Jonathan was captivated by the idea of reviving Scottish juniper harvesting to produce a new gin.

Now, with the help of the Forestry Commission and PlantLife.org, Crossbill has revived Scotland's juniper production and is delighted to be able to produce the only gin to use 100 per cent Scottish juniper.

We recently moved to the legendary Barrowlands, in the east end of Glasgow.

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Our purpose built facility at Barras Art and Design allows us to expand and increase the volumes of each batch we produce.

This great space has also allowed us to start up our Gin School, offering you the chance to sample straight from the still and to create your own custom Crossbill blends.

Discover more at www.crossbillgin.com

Minus 33

To Gin or Not To Gin? That was the question the makers of this delicious spirit, Minus 33, asked themselves.  Having spent a year creating the recipe with gin lovers, the most popular recipe, at 33% abv, fell just short of the 37.5% abv required legally to be a gin. Rather than change a winning taste for a namesake, they kept the recipe where gin lovers like you and me preferred it.

The consensus here is that breaking the rules, in the name of flavour, has never tasted so good and the world’s leading blogger, @ginconnoisseur, agrees, having given them the highest taste and design scores.  The elegantly designed bottle, which comes in a great gift pack, makes for a great addition to the gin shelf, or the perfect gift.

HeraldScotland:

During the year of recipe design, what the team at LoCa Bev  found was that a slight reduction in alcohol meant the spicy notes were not as overpowering as in traditional gins and thus allowed the more subtle botanicals and flavours to come through leading to a better balance of flavours and a well-rounded taste profile.  The overall result was a more light and refreshing taste, full of floral and citrus notes – ideal for summer…or if the mood so takes you, breakfast.

Craft distilled, hand bottled and brimming with nine of the best botanicals the world offers, Minus 33 is fresh and floral with hints of juniper, citrus, lavender, elderflower and angelica.  This mix of flavours is guaranteed to make your taste buds sing.

Full of flavour, it is anything but lightweight, but at 46 calories a serve it is light, the lowest calorie gin in town, we’ll definitely be toasting to that.

And the good news doesn’t stop there, all natural, organic botanicals, no added sugar or artificial flavours and a great attitude to sustainability means you’re not just doing good by your body, you’re doing good by the planet as well.

Their hands on approach results in a spirit of the highest quality that lives up to their slogan, ‘it’s not quite gin, it’s something better.’  Give it a go and you’ll see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

www.minus33.co.uk

Badvo

Badvo is an all new gin from a 400-year-old family farm in Pitlochry, headed up by 21-year-old founder Helen Stewart. After inheriting a book on local illicit distillation pre-1824 Helen designed a distillation process for gin on traditional copper pot stills.

HeraldScotland:

The stills are as original as possible to the ones that were originally on the site, including copper worm coils to condense the spirit. Rather than using imported conventional botanicals, Badvo is entirely hand-foraged from the farm including honeysuckle, nettle, meadowsweet, thistles, rowan berries, and 100% Scottish Juniper. Helen calls Badvo 'hedgerow gin' to describe this new range of local botanicals which create a herbaceous spirit. Badvo is due to launch this September and yet is already pre-sold and reserved past the first month.

HeraldScotland:

This is in part due to Helen's recent win at the Scottish Young Edge Awards with one judge remarking 'I don't like gin, but I love Badvo!' Helen herself, fresh out of University, plans to hire her mum later this year to help her with production- with all that foraging it's no wonder!

For more information or to sign up to a monthly newsletter go to Badvo.com

Scottish Gin Awards

The Scottish Gin Awards, sponsored by The Scottish Gin Society, was launched at the start of this year and Scotland’s booming gin businesses have gathered in support of this new national awards programme.

The programme aims to promote the growing range of high quality gins produced in Scotland with a promise to reward achievements in gin distilling.  Scotland now produces over 70% of the gin consumed in the UK and exports are predicted to outsell whisky by 2020.

The awards, sponsored by The Scottish Gin Society, cover both taste and business performance and were judged last month by a highly experienced judging panel consisting of some of Scotland’s foremost gin and distilling experts.

HeraldScotland:

The finalists in the first annual Scottish Gin Awards include 28 producers and 56 gins.  Eight distilleries will fight it out for the top prize, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year.   Arbikie, Balmenach Caorunn Distillery; Dunnet Bay Distillers; Eden Mill; Edinburgh Gin Distillery; Glasgow Distillery; Isle of Harris Distillery; and Summerhall Distillery have been selected following the strict independent judging process.  In choosing the finalists, the distilleries had to score high marks in the written submission for Distillery of the Year while also reaching the finals of the taste categories.

75 Scottish gins were marked by 12 judges in a blind tasting adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology.  More than half of all the entered gins have been selected in the taste categories as finalists with the highest scores.   The top three performers will be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in each of six categories.

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Chair of the judging panel, Stephen White, founder of the Scottish Gin Society which sponsors the competition commented;

“Chairing the judging session for the Scottish Gin Awards was challenging but one which the panel absolutely thrived on. We reviewed a total of 60 written entries which we debated thoroughly, ensuring the process was rigorous, fair and crucially, free from any commercial influence.

“The evidence we reviewed showed that the Scottish gin industry is a vibrant, creative and high quality centre for the delivery of premium product which is among the best in the world.  I expect that we will see many of our top producers gain the recognition that will come from winning one of these sought after awards.”

The Scottish Gin Awards celebration dinner takes place on Thursday 14 September 2017 at the Hilton Doubletree, Glasgow.  To reserve a place contact Gayle@kdmedia.co.uk

For a full list of finalists in the Scottish Gin Awards visit www.scottishginawards.co.uk/finalists