We've chosen nine great Scottish gins for you to celebrate St Andrew's Day with

So perhaps, you aren’t a huge fan of whisky, and liqueurs aren’t your thing, but you still want something other than Irn-Bru to celebrate St Andrew’s Day with?

Well we have picked out some of the best and brightest of Scotland’s burgeoning craft gin scene for you to enjoy on Scotland’s national day.

Eden Mill

Hopgin

Obviously the best place to start on St Andrew’s Day is St Andrews itself, so naturally the first choice has to be Eden Mill.

With perhaps one of the most individual stories of the gin companies mentioned here, Eden Mill began life as primarily a brewery, before evolving to encompass distillation of both gin and whisky. Not afraid to experiment, Eden Mill have produced some very interesting gins; including the Golf gin, which incorporated Hickory wood shavings and the Hop gin, created using Hops sourced from their beer production.

And it’s the Hop gin we’ve chosen here – though to be honest we doubt you’d be disappointed by any of their gins – fruity with hints of biscuity hops, it’s a little more unusual than your average gin.

Recommended garnish: Pink grapefruit or lime.

(Approx. £30)

NB Gin 

NB Gin Nov 2014

Don’t let the plain label or the name fool you, NB is a cracking wee gin. Made using only eight botanicals – NB claims that it only needs those eight to create a classic gin – this is a punchy, juniper-led gin that doesn’t hold out on flavour.

Judging by the response they’ve received since their creation – they won a silver medal at the Gin masters awards at the first time of asking – it certainly looks they are doing something right.

Produced in small hand-crafted batches, you’ll enjoy not only its award-winning flavour but also its great value for money.

(Approx. – £25 -£30)

Recommended garnish: The classic wedge of lime

Edinburgh Gin

Hopgin

To be honest we could probably could have had quite a few gin selections from Edinburgh – as gin producing has exploded in the capital – but in the end we chose two.

The first of which is the eponymous Edinburgh Gin, made by an enterprising family business, the Nicols of Spencerfield Spirits company, Edinburgh gin is another small batch gin distillery that has put Edinburgh firmly back on the gin producing map.

Nestled below the stairs of Rutland Place in the capital their gin distillery creates a little taste of Edinburgh, the company’s myriad gins are as varied as they are excellent.

We’ve gone for the Christmas gin as our choice – though for an extra kick you could try the Cannonball gin bottled at an incredible 57.2 % abv – which is distilled with frankincense & myrrh and with a delicious note of nutmeg for genuine yuletide warmth, it’ll have you in the festive spirit in no time.

Recommended Garnish: Sprig of Fresh Rosemary

(Approx. – £35)

Like this? See also: 

• Five great Scottish gin cocktails

Daffy’s Gin

Picture: Daffy's

Picture: Daffy’s

The second of our capital gins is Daffy’s, named after the Goddess of gin and created using the finest French grain spirit,  this gin is distilled using an ancient copper pot whisky still.

Interestingly, Daffy’s mixes classic ingredients such as juniper, coriander seeds, cassia bark with newer botanicals like Lebanese mint and rare varieties of lemon, so it’s perfect for those who like their classics with a modern twist.

We also love the bottle which looks as pretty as the gin is tasty.

Recommended garnish: fresh mint and a wedge of lime

(Approx. – £35)

Caorunn gin

Caorunn Gin,

Caorunn gin, created at Balmenach distillery in Speyside, is another of the big whisky distillery gins although its reputation has been built on the back of its excellent taste not its provenance.

Using small batches of pure grain spirit which are triple distilled for smoothness, the gin is created using the distillery’s unique Copper Berry Chamber, which was made in the 1920’s.

The gin is infused with five Celtic botanicals (including Coul Blush Apple and Bog Myrtle), six traditional botanicals and Scottish spring water, and Balmenach’s Gin master personally oversees every step of the process.

Great quality and even better value.

Recommended garnish: Sliced red apple

(Approx. – £25 – £28)

The Botanist

Hopgin

What can be said about Jim McEwan that hasn’t already been said? The man is a legend in whisky circles and now he’s taken the gin world by storm.

Made at Bruicladdich distillery on Islay, the Botanist claims to be made with 22 foraged island botanicals, hand-picked locally, including gorse and wild mint.

Sweet and refreshing there’s a reason this gin has been so successful and it all comes down to its great flavour.

Recommended garnish: Thyme & Lemon

(Approx. – £30)

Rock Rose

rock rose gin

Named after one of their rare botanicals the ‘Rhodiola rosea’ which is very difficult to find but grows on the cliffs of Caithness, Rock Rose Gin is one of the fastest selling craft gin in the UK.

The Rock Rose is famed for its confirmed health benefits and was once sought after by the Vikings for its strength and vitality.

Britain’s most northerly mainland distillery, Rock Rose use an increasingly unique distilling process which infuses 18 botanicals, of which 5 are grown locally. Perhaps most interestingly, they use both traditional Italian and Bulgarian junipers which are blended together to create a unique juniper taste for their gin.

Punchy, floral and full of cream notes this one is definitely for those with a sweet tooth.

Recommended garnish: Either a sprig of rosemary or orange peel

(Approx. – £30 – £35)

Darnley’s View

Hopgin

Named in celebration of the moment that Mary Queen of Scots first spied her husband-to-be Lord Darnley at Wemyss Castle in 1565, Darnley’s view is produced by the Wemyss (that’s weems not weemiss or weemees) family in Fife.

This traditionally-made spirit is a London gin made with six carefully selected botanicals to a recipe held by the family. The unusual spiced gin – made with nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves – is our choice and it really works well in a winter setting.

Recommended garnish: Orange slice

(Approx – £30)

Hendrick’s 

gin

Probably the most famous gin on this list, William S Grant & Sons pretty much provided the spark that started the Scottish craft gin ball rolling by introducing Hendricks in 1998.

Created in a specially built gin distillery housed within the walls of the Girvan grain distillery, Hendricks uses a unique system combining two different styles of production.

First, the gin is distilled using two different methods – pot still and infusion – the two distillates are then combined and finally the cucumber and rose oils are added.

Refreshing light and universal, great for taking to a friends and sharing over a St Andrew’s Day meal.

Recommended garnish: Cucumber

(Approx. – £28)

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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