THIS Saturday (June 9) marks World Gin Day and it would be rude not to raise a glass. Here we celebrate with 12 facts that will have you feeling supersonic while sipping that gin and tonic.

1) Scotland's love affair with gin dates from the 1700s

The Port of Leith in Edinburgh can lay claim to helping introduce Scots to the delights of gin.

A strong history of trading with the Netherlands saw vast quantities of jenever (Dutch for juniper) and exotic spices exchanged for Scottish produce such as wool. By 1777, there was eight licensed gin stills in Edinburgh – and reputedly almost 400 more unregistered.

2) We make 70% of gin consumed in the UK

The nation's love for gin shows few signs of waning. Over the past decade, the gin-making industry has mushroomed in Scotland with a raft of distilleries and craft gin brands.

Two of world's bestselling gins – Hendrick's and Tanqueray – are made in Girvan, Ayrshire and Leven, Fife, respectively. Then there's rising stars such as Speyside's Caorunn, The Botanist on Islay, Isle of Harris Gin and Arbikie Distillery in Angus.

Visit;;;; and

3) The definition of gin is rather fuzzy

While the production of whisky and vodka is subject to a long list of rules and regulations, all that is legally required to make a gin is a minimum ABV of 37.5% and juniper as the base botanical. After that, the world is your oyster, leaving plenty of scope to experiment with flavours.

4) The ingredients are innovative and colourful

The Botanist, a small-batch, artisanal gin, contains 31 botanicals of which 22 are hand-foraged on Islay including apple mint, chamomile, mugwort, thistle, gorse, hawthorn, elder, heather and bog myrtle.

Kintyre Gin uses 12 botanicals such as locally grown sheep sorrel and Icelandic moss, both unique to the brand, as well as citrus fruits, liquorice and angelica root.

Angus-based Gin Bothy came about after owner Kim Cameron was mulling over what to do with her leftover raspberry juice from making jam. Cameron uses a 17th-century recipe once popular among bothy dwellers who would sweeten alcohol using fruits, tree sap or herbs.

The annual gin production calendar starts with raspberry and blueberry, then moves into rhubarb, chilli (made from Fife grown capsicums) and Amaretto. The brand has unveiled a limited-edition Sloe Gin this week to mark World Gin Day.

READ MORE: 15 things to do in Scotland when the sun shines

Stirling Gin, the brainchild of husband and wife team June and Cameron McCann, uses handpicked Stirlingshire nettles to give the gin its distinctive floral and spicy kick.

Visit; and

5) Juniper is not a berry

It's actually a seed cone. Juniper is still picked wild across Europe, rather than mass produced, and then sold via distributors to gin makers worldwide.

It is said to have medicinal properties such as helping alleviate digestive problems including upset stomach, flatulence, heartburn and bloating as well as being used to treat urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones – and even snake bites.

Between the 14th and 17th centuries, plague doctors reputedly wore masks filled with juniper and other berries which they believed helped stop the spread of the disease.

6) There are gin distilleries popping up across Scotland

Kinrara is one of the new kids on the block. The distillery – within a 12,000-acre estate in the Cairngorm National Park near Aviemore – launched in January. New off the stills is Kinrara Highland Dry Gin and an Estate Edition Hibiscus Gin.

Colonsay Gin has used the Strathearn Distillery near Methven in Perthshire for its small-batch production since last year and is about to open premises on the Hebridean island whose name it bears. The first "island batch" of Colonsay Gin is set to run from the still this month.

Having grown from modest beginnings as a kitchen table project for wife-and-husband lawyer duo Vivienne and Steve Muir in 2013, NB Gin unveiled a distillery and visitor centre near Tantallon Castle in East Lothian in April. Tours cost £30pp.

Visit; and

7) Gin-making comes in all shapes and sizes

Glasgow can lay claim to one of smallest commercial gin producers in the UK – possibly the world – with McLean's Gin which is made in the cupboard of a tenement flat.

It all came about after Colin McLean was given a make-your-own-gin kit for Christmas by his in-laws and decided to rustle some up a Valentine's Day tipple for his wife Jess. That went down a treat and so began many months of research and experimentation.

McLean's Gin launched last September releasing five varieties: signature, floral, citrus, spiced and cherry bakewell (which has become their bestseller).

Colin works as a sales and technical manager for a construction firm, while Jess is a junior doctor. To date they've sold 1,600 bottles including a limited-edition called Something Blue, released to commemorate their recent wedding, which sold out within five days.

READ MORE: 15 things to do in Scotland when the sun shines

McLean's Gin has around 20 stockists from as far north as Arbroath all the way down to Weymouth in the south-west of England. Not bad going for a business that began life in a 1.5 square metre cupboard.


8) Gin production is breathing life into old buildings

Pickering's Gin is produced at its Summerhall Distillery in an old animal hospital at the erstwhile site of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh.

Beinn an Tuirc Distillery, which makes Kintyre Gin, is housed in a former piggery on the Torrisdale Castle Estate, while Persie Gin, founded and run by Simon Fairclough, uses a converted hotel at the foot of Glenshee in Perthshire.

Visit and

9) The pot stills are lovingly named

Edinburgh Gin has pot stills called Flora and Caledonia at its Rutland Place distillery, while Misty Isle Gin on Skye has plumped for Christy, Mairi, Euan and Finlay with its test still for new recipes dubbed Wee Tommy, after co-founder and managing director Thomas Wilson.

The prize for best nickname, however, must go to The Botanist where the cherished Lomond pot-still is affectionately known as Ugly Betty.

Visit and

10) There is something to suit most palates

The biggest misconception is that all gins taste the same. While juniper-forward, piney gins are perhaps what many people are familiar with, there is something to tickle most taste buds from fruity, sweet and floral to spicy, herbal and smoky.

New to gin or keen to gen up your knowledge? Book yourself a tasting with Gin Club Scotland run by Perthshire-based Chrissie Fairclough.

She provides staff training for shops, bars, hotels and restaurants as well as offering private tasting sessions with tips on everything from gin nosing to food parings.

READ MORE: 15 things to do in Scotland when the sun shines

There is also a DIY gin tasting kit available from the web shop.


11) Be wary of clever marketing

This is where we wade into the quagmire. Not every gin bearing a Scottish name is made here: there are brands that use contract distillers in London and Birmingham. Be sure to read the small print.

12) Don't just stick to tonic water

Garnish with everything from rose petals to pink grapefruit and even chilli. In fact, we have a trio of cocktail recipes for you.



By Anastasia Mourgela, The 158 Club Lounge at Hutchesons City Grill, Glasgow


50ml Isle of Harris Gin

7.5ml Briottet Creme de Violette liqueur

15ml Dolin Vermouth de Chambery (dry)

Dried lavender flowers


1. Chill a Martini glass with crushed ice.

2. Pour the dry vermouth over the crushed ice.

3. In a chilled mixing glass, add three lavender flowers, Isle of Harris Gin and the Creme de Violette.

4. Add cubed ice to the mixing glass and stir with a bar spoon for precisely 45 seconds to achieve the desirable dilution.

5. Discard crushed ice and vermouth from the Martini glass.

6. Double strain contents of the mixing glass into the vermouth washed Martini glass.

7. Garnish with a dried lavender flower.


By Alistair and Thomas Wilson, co-founders of Misty Isle Gin, Skye


50ml Misty Isle Gin

25ml Strawberry liqueur

12.5ml Elderflower syrup

Crushed ice topped up with rose lemonade

Garnished with a slice of orange peel


1. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice.

2. Fill a Boston shaker with cubed ice and add the Misty Isle Gin, the strawberry liqueur and the elderflower syrup.

3. Shake. Single-strain into the glass, over the crushed ice.

4. Top the glass up with rose lemonade.

5. Garnish with a slice of orange peel, a paper straw and serve.


By Kim Cameron, founder of Gin Bothy, Kirriemuir, Angus


50ml Gin Bothy Chilli

20ml Freshly squeezed lime juice

15ml Aperol

Mint leaves, coriander leaves and chilli slices


1. Add the mint leaves, coriander and chilli slices to a highball glass.

2. Add the Gin Bothy chilli liqueur, Aperol and lime juice, then muddle together.

3. Add crushed ice and stir with long stirrer.

4. Garnish with a little chilli, mint leaves and coriander.