Did you make it to the Juniper Festival at the weekend? Here's our highlights of Saturday...

With World Gin Day on Saturday, there was no better time to head out and sample a G&T or two. Thanks to the annual Juniper Festival, which was in Glasgow at the weekend, avid gin fans could do just that.

We popped along to find out what was in store…

Esker Gin

Juniper Festival

Picture: Esker Gin, contributed

Esker Gin is a fairly new contribution to the North-East of Scotland gin scene. Husband and wife team Lynne and Steve Duthie set up a gin still in their back garden after buying a copper still from Portugal.

The pair use Juniper, Heather, Rosehip, Peppercorn and Citrus alongside Silver Birch Tree sap from trees in the local Kincardine Castle Estate.

What was once a hobby has now evolved into a commercial venture, and the gin (and original still) were on show at the weekend.

Stirling Gin

Picture: Stirling Gin, contributed

Beginning life in October 2015, Stirling Gin is making steady progress in the sea of Scottish gin competitors and gaining recognition as one of the best new examples of the spirit around at the minute.

Created by June and Cameron McCann, the gin contains a recipe tweaked until the couple settled upon a blend of locally-sourced botanicals that they say offers a clean, citrus taste with just the right amount of heat provided by hand-picked, crushed local nettle leaves.

Fans of the gin could also purchase scented candles and pick up a free  highball glass with every bottle sold at the festival.

Sipsmith

Juniper festival

Picture: Sipsmith gins, contributed

Possibly one of the more famous gins of the bunch, Sipsmiths is known for their special flavours such as Hot Cross Bun gin, Lemon Drizzle and the spicy London Cup gin, which would make a delicious warm drink on a cold day.

Die hard gin fans will appreciate their London Dry gin and VJOP navy strength gin, all of which were available to try at the Juniper Festival.

Eden Mill

Juniper festival

Picture: Eden Mill gins, contributed

Eden Mill has perhaps one of the most individual stories. Beginning life as primarily a brewery, it has now progressed to encompass distillation of both gin and whisky.

Not afraid to experiment, Eden Mill have produced some very interesting gins; most recently the Golf gin, which incorporated Hickory wood shavings and the Hop gin, created using Hops sourced from their beer production.

Eden Mill try to source most of their botanicals locally from places such as St Andrews gardens and they are keen to create seasonal small batch gins, using different botanicals. Our favourite mix was their Love Gin, topped up with Fentimans Rose Lemonade.

Shetland Reel

Juniper festival

Picture: Shetland Reel gins, contributed

It’s fair to say that you can’t get much further north than Unst in Shetland and their gin Shetland Reel, really reflects the rugged spirit and beautiful landscape of where the drink is made.

Offering three gins with very distinct flavours; their original gin uses locally grown apple mint to create a juniper based gin with punchy hits of citrus and spice, while their Ocean Sent Gin uses specially harvested bladderwrack seaweed from the Shetland coastline to create a complex and flavoursome gin perfect for cocktails.

Their limited edition Up Helly Aa gin was created for the annual festival, is navy strength and really packs a punch. And the Special Edition Simmer Dim Gin is inspired by the Shetland ‘Simmer Dim’ or summer twilight when the sun barely falls below the horizon. The finish is spicy with hints of orange, and was pared well with citrus garnishes.

Boe Gin

Boe Superior Gin, winner of a Silver Medal at the World Gin Awards, has now been joined by Boe Violet Gin, Boe Peach & Hibiscus Gin Liqueur and Boe Scottish Bramble Gin Liqueur, to create a colorful family.

Our pick of the collection was the light and delicately fragrant Violet Gin, which could be enjoyed on its own or with a light tonic and floral garnish.

To Finish…

House of Broughton syrups 

Juniper festival

Picture: House of Broughton syrups, contributed

Add some sweet flavour to a G&T with the range of syrups from House of Broughton. With fruity creations such as rose, raspberry, cucumber and ginger, the syrups are a great addition to any home bar. And, as they’re owned by Fentimans, they all boast natural ingredients and botanical extracts.

Bon Accord juices

Juniper festival

Picture: Bon Accord, contributed

Once a dominant brand on the Scottish soft drink scene, Bon Accord was a household name and loved by many. First set up in 1909 by the Robb family, the business, which was based in Arbroath, manufactured a range of soft drinks including Bon Accord Cola, Lemonade, American Cream Soda, Tropical and many more flavours and were known for their iconic orange lorries which delivered their drinks to homes across Scotland.

Now, four generations on, the company has been revived by the great-great granddaughter of the original founders, Karen Knowles, and business partner Nathan Burrough, who have re-imagined the brand for modern day consumers. Gone are the neon colours and sugar in favour of natural sweeteners and real fruit juices aimed at the more health-conscious consumer.

Our favourite was the sparkling Rhubarb juice, which would work well as an alternative to tonic for a fruity take on a G&T.

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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