First seen in the craft beer movement and now reflected in spirits, small batch gin is fast becoming a prized commodity. With this in mind we went to the Good Spirits Company on Glasgow’s Bath Street, to speak to spirit expert Matthew McFadyen and mixologist Khi Leonard – a former finalist in the Diageo World Class – about their thoughts and recommendations on some of Scotland’s up-and-coming gins.
Producing their first small batch of just 200 bottles in 2013, Crossbill are now running at full production and a good thing too as demand for their highly acclaimed gin is now taking off.
Named after the indigenous bird that can only be found in the ancient forests of Scotland, Crossbill gin claims to be the only gin distillery to use 100 per cent Scottish juniper and rosehip. Indeed the distillers claim to have revived Scotland’s fragrant juniper production. Most of the reviewers describe Crossbill as a real ‘gin lover’s gin’, definitely one to check out now it’s becoming more readily available.
As a tribute to one of their juniper bushes, which had just turned 200, Crossbill used only the berries from this one bush - and the wild rosehip that grows around her - to produce this 59.8 % Still Strength Crossbill 200 Special Edition.
A very different beast from the original, less juniper and more rosehip, warm tones of earthiness and very balanced. Dry earth on a hot day, slightly sweeter.
Neat: Higher strength with a very nice kick. Intense, rounded appley finish with a sweet peppery aftertaste. Rosehip rounds to a lovely orange character.
With tonic (one part gin to two parts Fever Tree): Perfect balance of sweet and savoury, very moreish with real intensity. Big hints of flavour, long sweet finish, coats the mouth with a fennely, herby character.
Recommended garnish: Mint
Matthew says: “Just lovely with tonic, great balance, the intensity grabs you and makes you pay attention. The finish goes on and on. A rare treat.”
Khi’s choice: “A simple cocktail in the Duchess, to really let the gin shine."
The Duchess recipe:
• 50ml Crossbill 200
• 12.5ml Cocchi Americano
• 1 dash celery bitters
• 1 dash Good Spirits Co Bitters
• Only 200 bottles are available but there are still some left at the Good Spirits Company.
• 15 Scottish gins we recommend you try