The incredible reputation of Scottish gin distillers is showing no signs of waning - in fact, both well-established and new distillers are upping their game and continuing to produce creative and delicious spirits. 

However, with 2020 proving to be a turbulant year for the popular spirit due to the global pandemic and many distillers temporarily switching to producing hand sanitiser, here we will reveal some of the best Scottish gins that are still excelling in the industry. Cheers!


Distiller & Owner at Avva Scottish Gin, Jill Brown, has been using the "downtime" during lockdown to continue to expand their range and facilities. They launched their cheeky-colour changing gin late last year just ahead of Christmas, Avva Blink Scottish Gin, 50cl 40% ABV changes from blue to pinky-purple with the addition of tonic/lemonade. 

She noted: "This was really very popular with our Christmas customers and like everyone looking forward to showcasing this over our summer events which just did not happen.  We have an pop-up shop open this weekend 25th & 25th July in Elgin and also on the 1st & 2nd of August. 

The Herald:

"Our previous pop-up shops have been really popular and we are so grateful for the support and to see our regular customers.  Lockdown has been quite busy especially at the start when we were quickly able to turn out Hand Sanitiser. 

"We had been working on refurbishment for opening for tastings & tours, that area was quickly turned into a ‘chemical lab’ and in the space of 4 weeks we produced just under 4,000l of hand sanitiser which went to our local community. 

The Herald:

"It has been such a strange year for everyone and we’re now back working on getting the site ready for opening for tours in mid-august.  More information will be posted on our social media sites and website on how to book tours and ticket availability.  We’re hoping to stay open as long as we can for tours, initially we had planned to open from April with the spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival & run through to September. 

The Herald:

"Our online shop has seen a huge increase and we hope we helped shoppers by adding the Gin & Tonic sets, which are mixers paired with the gin. 

"As well as a range of distilled gins we produce liqueurs including a delicious cold-brew Coffee Liqueur, Cofaidh.  Beans are freshly roasted by Cairngorm Leaf & Bean in Aviemore before we make them into the liqueur. Perfect for making the at home Espresso Martini. 

The Herald:

"As well as the online shop customers can order to send directly to friends & family with a new range of gift cards included covering birthdays, general, and congratulations."


Badachro Gin

Badachro Distillery is renowned for its range of absolutely delicious, provenance focussed premium gins and rightly proud of its artisan production methods and small batch distillation.

The Herald:

Most of the botanicals for Badachro Gin, Coastal Gin, 57* Storm Strength Gin and very small batch Raspberry Gin and Orangey Orains Gin are hand-picked locally or sourced from within the Highlands and it really tells in the full flavours and very smooth spirit.

The Herald:

The small family business started off in 2017 to produce a drink for their bed and breakfast guests and perhaps the local pub. Now it sells gin across the UK in the independent trade and exports to Germany, Denmark, Malta with more quality conscious markets to come.

The Herald:

Although gin has been the focus until now, with a slight diversion into rum at times, Badachro Distillery’s first single malt Scotch whisky botting will be released in early August with The Bad na h-Achlasie Collection, first release being a superbly balanced, lightly peated dram, matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in Tuscan oak red wine casks.

You can order online at



An ice-cold G&T on a Scottish summer’s evening, does it get better than that?

It seems like it does with Minus 33, who have concocted a solution to the high calorie content in flavoured gin. The answer is sugar- or rather NO sugar!

Gram for gram, alcohol has almost twice as many calories as sugar. Flavoured gin has up to 65g of added sugar; imagine 15 teaspoons! When you do the maths, the added sugar plus alcohol make a shockingly high calorie count.

The Herald:

Minus 33 is a great tasting, low calorie gin, with a twist; made with 100% natural ingredients, no added sugar or sweeteners with a 33% ABV. It is also vegan friendly and gluten free.

Distilled by the Edinburgh based team, their new flavours have received top reviews from drinkers and bartenders alike.

Using naturally sweet botanicals, this delicious spirit could save gin lovers up to 600 calories per bottle compared to standard flavoured gins.

The Herald:

The range includes floral Rose & Peony, classic Juniper Berries, and tropical Passionfruit and Mango gin. Mouth wateringly smooth, you wouldn’t believe they’re sugar free! Individual bottles cost only £23 and there are several great deals to be had on their website.

Bottles, Gift Bundles, Party Packs and Cases available to order online at

Best enjoyed with ice, light tonic and a fruity garnish. 



Black Thistle is based in Brechin, among the rolling hills and fertile landscapes of the county of Angus – an area renowned for producing the finest fruits, freshest water, and of course the highest quality botanicals Scotland has to offer. We do not compromise on the key ingredients for our range of smooth, and sumptuous gins.

The genesis of our gin begins in our recipe development lab; we deliberate, iterate, taste and repeat, creating over a hundred recipes in the pursuit of perfection, and we think we are pretty close.

The Herald:

From the original Black Thistle Gin, to our misted range, we have blended such classic combinations as orange and cinnamon through to the less common heather and liquorice with outstanding feedback. Not only do they look breathtaking they taste breathtaking too.

And we do not stop there – at Black Thistle we are constantly in the pursuit of new and interesting flavour combinations. Our latest launch is our Green Mist – a mint and kiwi gin that will tease your taste buds and leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised.

What will be next? That remains to be seen, but rest assured it will be delicious and it will be soon.

The Herald:

We take much care in scaling our gin from our lab stills to our beautiful 850l Carl Copper stills. We run our gins through eight slow and steady stages of distillation making our cuts with the precision that only experience can grant.

Every bottle is hand bottled and undergoes loving and rigorous quality assurance checks. The result… well the result is something that’s difficult to put to words. You will have to go and try it for yourself.



House of Elrick gin

Nestled in the rich, rural tapestry within the lowlands of Aberdeenshire, the House of Elrick is the source of a delicious range of premium quality spirits.

House of Elrick’s signature gin is crisp and fragrant. The botanicals, hand-picked by their Master of Gin are a complement of juniper, coriander seeds, angelica root and citrus peel, built around a core of heather, pink peppercorns, sweet fennel and rose petals. 

The Herald:

Refreshing and aromatic, House of Elrick Gin is a spirit made with the essence of Scotland, using local ingredients and the crisp waters of Loch Ness. It is a fresh and vibrant infusion. The versatility of the gin means that it can be enjoyed on the rocks, or as the foundation of your favourite gin-based cocktail. 

At the House of Elrick, quality over quantity is key. Distilled by hand in batches of 600 bottles per run, means distillers can maintain control over every bottle that leaves the distillery. Botanicals are handpicked before each distillation through their bespoke pot still. 

Members of the Elrick Estate note that a perfect serve for their signature gin would be served on the rocks or with a fine, quality tonic from a deep wine glass to retain the aromas. When it comes to garnishing, they recommend you opt for aromatic orange zest. The orange will accent the fragrance and intensify the rose and peppercorns notes. 

The Herald:

The lines of gin and rum are made at the Elrick estate, within the garden walls of a home veiled in mystery and tradition. Built at the height of the Scottish Enlightenment period in 1720, the house boasts a rich history.

As the restoration project continues, the team welcomes you to indulge in a drink and share their journey and will open as a venue for weddings and events later this year.


Tiree Gin

The latest addition from Tiree Whisky Company (the team behind Tyree Gin), Hebridean Pink Gin is distilled and bottled on the Isle of Tiree, the outermost of the Inner Hebridean islands. 

Tiree is a fertile and remote island, famed for sunshine and stunning scenery, and is surrounded by the vast Atlantic Ocean. In the eighteenth century, the island was home to around fifty distillers with each farm on the island operating at least one still producing whisky.

The Herald:

This began to decline as tighter regulations from both the estate and the government were introduced. Although a large number of islanders were still making whisky illegally, this industry ceased completely in the nineteenth century.​

Tiree Whisky Company Ltd was established by locals Alain Campbell and Ian Smith with the aim of reviving the spirit industry on an island with a rich heritage in the tradition. Local production of Tyree Gin began in February 2019 and, once again, the island was home to an operational distillery - the first in 217 years.

The Herald:

Hebridean Pink Gin is distilled with juniper, raspberries and sweet peels. The stunning bottle was designed by Glasgow based design agency, O Street, and the striking design certainly catches the eye. 

Pre-order available with delivery from 27th July.


Pentlands Hills Gin

Nestled deep in the western Pentland Hills, Tarbraxus Distillers is home to the award-winning Pentland Hills Gin.

The company was created by Phil and Tabatha who set about delivering not just a first-class gin, but  a gin that’s distilled in the most sustainable fashion possible.

The gin reflects the life they live in the hills; first up, however, you have to meet Panza, the chocolate Labrador who is the CEO (well he likes to think he is!).

The Herald:

The Company’s original gin is distilled using nine botanicals, some of which are grown around the farm. Double distilled in a copper still called Amy, the gin offers a very smooth impression on first sipping.

For some the taste of citrus will emerge, for others maybe a hint of aniseed or cocoa. This 40% abv gin is full of surprises. Served with pink grapefruit it makes a delicious G&T. In a martini, the gin offers the perfect 007 moment.

The gin is also offered at Navy Strength – 58% abv. Despite this big mouthful of alcohol, it is remarkably smooth and can be happily sipped naked! As a G&T it offers hints of toffee and citrus, for the adventurous try mixing a Vesper – you won’t be disappointed.

Sustainability drives Phil and Tabatha’s ethos. The distillery uses solar energy, water rises on the land and juniper has been planted to help the regeneration of the berry which is key to all gin distillation.

Perhaps the greatest innovation is the ‘bottle for life’ approach to the way the gin is sold. You buy your first etched bottle and it is marked with your personal number. When it’s time to replace the gin you post is back (there is also a drop box at the farm).

The Herald:

Even better your gin bottle can be switched from Original to Navy gin and back as you wish. As Panza says, ‘it’s a woofingly good idea!’

The gin is produced in tiny qualities (500 litres in 2019) so if you’re lucky enough to own a bottle enjoy every drop and then have it refilled by people who really care about how they create and deliver your tipple. or #PentlandHillsGin @PentlandHillsGin @PentlandGin


Esker Spirits

A family-run business led by husband & wife team, Steven & Lynne Duthie, Esker Spirits has evolved from a kitchen hobby, to distilling in the shed before, in April 2017, moving to premises in the beautiful Kincardine Estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire. And it’s here in Royal Deeside where the inspiration for Esker Spirits comes from – all the spirits contain the sap from silver birches which are everywhere around the distillery.

Says Lynne: “We have our own distillery – and make, bottle, deliver and enjoy our gins. All our gins are full flavoured – there is no relying on mixers or garnish for flavour, it’s all packed into the gin.”

The Herald:

Photo: The Gin Cooperative Ltd

All of Esker’s gins start in the same way with classic gin botanicals and the Esker twist – silver birch sap from the Kincardine Estate. Distilling days start early, using traditional copper stills (one called Drum, the other called Kelpie) to make the gin – the smell in the distillery when they are working is incredible.

Esker Gin is the flagship – a classic London Dry gin, great in a gin and tonic with ice and a twist of orange zest, it is a beautifully smooth gin. Esker, along with its sister gin, Esker Gold (Honey Spiced) have won IWSC Gold Medals and Great Taste stars.

The Herald:

Photo: The Gin Cooperative Ltd

The flavour profile of Esker Gin is smooth, clean and juniper led. This classic gin has its own distinctive notes with over a dozen botanicals, locally sourced silver birch sap, citrus and a hint of the floral botanicals.

In addition to Esker Gold, the range also includes the Silverglas gins – a light, fresh London dry, and two fruit gins, Scottish Raspberry Gin and Valencian Orange Gin. The fruit gins are made with real fruit, not syrups or cordials. “It’s a lot of work, but worth it for the end product”, Lynne adds.

The Herald:

Photo: The Gin Cooperative Ltd

Building on the brand, and tapping into the market for lighter, fruit flavoured drinks, Esker Spirits has recently lived up to its name by extending the spirits range to include two fruit vodkas (Scottish Raspberry and Orange and Pomegranate).

Of the future, Lynne says: “We are focusing on building our brand and making it easier for our customers to find our spirits on the shelf – whether they are in a shop, or in a bar. There is always some development work going on at the distillery so you never know when new products might start appearing… watch this space!”

Facebook: @eskerspirits

Instagram: @eskerspirits

Twitter: @esker_spirits


Red Door Gin

Red Door Gin is carefully handcrafted at Benromach Distillery in Forres, where every drop is distilled in “Peggy” – the small copper pot behind the distillery’s iconic red door.

Launched in 2018, Red Door has already won a Gold Medal at the Gin Masters with the panel of expert judges commenting on the gin’s “chocolatey nose, earthy taste, woody, rooty notes and a little liquorice sweetness.” Delicate enough to sip and savour neat, perfect with fresh raspberries in a classic G&T or packing a punch in a classic cocktail, this is a gin that can do it all.

The Herald:

Focusing on quality over quantity, the distillery produces two varieties – Red Door Highland Gin (a classic London Dry with a heart of juniper with deliciously complex notes of sea buckthorn, pearls of heather and rowan berries) or Red Door Gin with Winter Botanicals (a limited-edition seasonal gin with notes of warming allspice, blood orange, sultanas and hop blossom). Both are equally delicious and it’s impossible to pick a favourite.

For those with a real thirst for gin knowledge, be sure to put the Red Door Gin Visitor Experience on your staycation to-do list (check for opening times). With only eight spaces per tour, this is a chance for visitors to learn first-hand about the history of the distillery and how each batch of handcrafted – and award-winning – Highland gin is made.

Housed behind the distillery’s iconic red door, this one hour tour will bring the distillation process to life while introducing guests to “Peggy” – the small copper pot still where every batch of Red Door Gin is carefully handmade by the on-site team.

After learning about botanicals and distillation, visitors can make their way to the Red Door Gin bar to sample the perfect Red Door G&T or signature cocktail. It’s on the site of Benromach Distillery, so while you’re there why not pop in to learn about this iconic Speyside single malt too? It’s the only distillery in Speyside to offer gin and whisky visitor attractions at one site and is well worth a visit.

Red Door Highland Gin and Red Door Gin with Winter Botanicals are available from for £29.99/70cl.


Teasmith Gin

It’s been a busy year for The Teasmith Gin creators Nick and Emma Smalley.  The makers of the first Scottish Gin distilled with hand-picked tea have been slowly expanding their list of stockists across Scotland and the UK. 

2019 saw them collect another swathe of awards including the Spirits Business Masters Medal for their packaging and design of their flagship product The Teasmith Original. They also released Broich Single Estate – a limited edition gin featuring tea grown right here in Scotland. 

The Herald:

Why tea? Because Scotland has many historical links with the tea trade with several stemming from Aberdeenshire which is where the Founders are based. When they discovered the story of James Taylor – a young man from the area - who grew the very first commercial tea plantation in British Ceylon, they worked with tea consultant Beverly Wainwright to source a special loose leaf tea from the Amba Estate in Sri Lanka.

The Herald:

It is both hand-picked and hand-rolled – much in the same way Taylor produced his first batches 150 years ago on the island.

When distilled, the tea provides fabulous citrus notes of blood orange along with a minty sweetness. These flavours are paired with more classic gin botanicals such as juniper, coriander seed, dried orange peel, angelica and orris root and a sprinkle of rose petals to create a smooth and fresh juniper-led gin with a citrusy lingering sweetness.

The Teasmith Gin doesn’t disappoint. A truly smooth classic dry style gin packaged in a beautifully simple bottle with lots of hidden hand-finishes – it ticks all the boxes.

The Herald:

Serve this gin with copious ice, a premium quality tonic and sprig of fresh mint for a truly crisp and refreshing G&T.  The founders used their recent time in lockdown to completely refresh their website and provide a nice range of cocktail suggestions too! So check out the different ways you could enjoy The Teasmith Gin this summer.

The Teasmith Gin is available through The Teasmith Gin’s website for £38.95 or through the Master of Malt.  Available in store at The Good Spirit Co (Glasgow) and Royal Mile Whiskies (Edinburgh) and many other stockists listed on their website.


Twitter: @the_teasmith

Facebook: /theteasmithgin

For more information, visit