Five great Scottish gin cocktails

From martinis to juniper brownies, here are five Scottish gin cocktails you must try

Published 28th May 2015
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

Small batch gin is fast becoming one of the most sought after drinks in Scotland. With this in mind we went to the Good Spirits Company on Glasgow’s Bath Street, to speak to spirit expert and mixologist Graeme Mackay about his thoughts and recommendations for cocktails using some of the best of Scotland’s up-and-coming gins.

Strathearn Oaked Highland Gin - Juniper Brownie
Strathearn distillery is making waves not only in the world of gin but also the world of whisky. Scotland’s newest micro-distillery and probably also the smallest commercial distillery, Strathearn produce three main gins currently; the Classic, the Heather Rose gin and the Oaked Highland gin.

Graeme’s choice: “I wanted to go for a desert style drink to compliment the creamy, vanilla style flavours of the gin and also to showcase the versatility of the oak gin.”

Juniper Brownie recipe:

The Juniper Brownie

The Juniper Brownie

• 37.5ml Strathearn oak gin
• 15ml dark creme de cacao
• 10ml sugar syrup
• 15ml lemon juice
• 2 dashes angostura bitters
• Lemon rind to garnish

Gordon Castle gin - Aviation (with a twist)

Gordon Castle is a small-batch gin made using highland herbs from their Moray Garden, which are carefully blended and patiently distilled to tease out the botanicals to create a light, refreshing gin.

Graeme’s choice: “A twist on an aviation, I chose this so as not to overpower Gordon Castle’s subtle flavours. A sweet cocktail for a sweet gin.”

Aviation (with a twist) Recipe:

The Aviation (with a twist). picture: Sean Murphy

The Aviation (with a twist)

• 37.5ml of gin
• 5ml liqueur de violette
• 10ml maraschino
• 10ml Creme de peches de vigne
• 25ml lemon juice
• 10ml sugar syrup
• Garnish with a lemon peel

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Darnley's View Spiced - Martinez

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 family in Fife. The traditional gin is a London gin made with six carefully selected botanicals brewed to a recipe held by the family. However, it is this unusual spiced gin made with added nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, that really stands out.

Graeme’s choice: “I chose a Martinez, it’s my favourite style and I found it works more naturally with the spiced gin.”

The Martinez Cocktail recipe:

william wemyss

William Wemyss of Darnley's View gin

• 40ml Darnley’s View Spiced Gin
• 20ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
• 10ml Maraschino Luxardo
• 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
• Garnish with a cherry

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Caorunn gin - Gibson

Caorunn gin, created at Balmenach distillery in Speyside, is another of the big whisky distillery gins, though its reputation has been built on the back of its excellent taste. Using small batches of pure grain spirit which are triple distilled for smoothness, the gin is infused with five celtic botanicals (including Coul Blush Apple and Bog Myrtle), six traditional botanicals and only the freshest Scottish spring water.

Graeme’s choice: “A Gibson is a Martini garnished with pickled onions. It works well as Caorunn is quite light so we don't want to overpower it. The retro style of the Gibson really suits this gin.”

Gibson recipe:

A Gibson

A Gibson gin cocktail

• 60ml Caorunn gin
• 15ml Dolin dry vermouth
• Pickled onions for garnish

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Strathearn Classic Gin - The Alaska (with a twist)

Revisiting Strathearn for the last cocktail, The Alaska (with a twist) is made with the distillery's Classic Gin.

Graeme’s choice: “A twist on the Alaska, to enhance the anise flavour and add a nice honeyed character. A simple cocktail that showcases the gin well.”

The Alaska (with a twist) recipe:

The Alaska with a twist.

The Alaska (with a twist)

• 50ml gin
• 15ml yellow chartreuse
• 10ml manzanilla sherry
• Ungarnished

Want to find out more about Scotland's gin?

11 Scottish gins we recommend you try

Facts that may surprise you about gin

Five Edinburgh and Glasgow gin bars to try

Five of the best ways to discover Scottish gin


Having sampled beers from Vietnam to Boston, Patrick felt it was time to turn his attention to the growing Scottish craft beer scene. Despite what some would call a Rebus-esque attachment to Deuchars IPA, he has turned his attention to smoked porters, hoppy pilsners and roasty stouts and hasn't looked back since.
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