Around Burns night we traditionally celebrate whisky (I like Talisker 10 YO with haggis and neaps). But Scotland’s reputation for a different spirit is newly on the up. I’m talking about gin. Scottish Gin has grown rapidly over the last few years and, if you haven’t already, it’s worth checking out because much of it is very good.
It was a Scottish Gin, Height of Arrows from Holyrood Distillery, that won The Whisky Exchange’s prestigious Gin of the Year award in 2021. Other excellent new(ish) Scottish gins that have made waves include Lind & Lime (made in Leith, it smells of pink peppercorns and lime) and Isle of Harris Gin (which comes in a beautifully designed bottle).
But there are plenty more out there. The Scottish Gin Society, which was founded in 2016, now lists 218 Scottish gins. Of these, 135 are distilled in their own Scottish distillery and a further 66 are distilled in contract distilleries. If you’re thinking that this doesn’t add up, there are also Scottish-owned gins distilled outside Scotland as well as gins that are ‘cuckoo distilled’ – meaning that the brand’s distiller oversees the distillation in someone else’s still.