Makar gin, Glasgow, gin review

The current desire for small batch, hand-made, locally sourced produce is driving the demand for everything from clothes to food. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the drinks market, where British manufacturing is once again becoming more and more highly sought.

Published 1st Feb 2016
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

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.

Makar gin

Glasgow’s first whisky distillery in over a hundred years is making its mark not just in the world of whisky but also in the world of gin. Carrying on the tradition of whisky distilleries creating great small batch gins. Makar is produced in small batches in ‘Annie’ the distillery’s own copper pot still.

Seven botanicals – lemon peel, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cassia bark, rosemary, angelica root and liquorice – are added to compliment the Juniper and help to make a classic refreshing gin.


The Rosemary really jumps out, very earthy, juniper is there but masked by the very perfumey Rosemary.


Neat: Very, very different, big rosemary, very perfumey. Slight pepper punch at the back of the palate on the finish.

With tonic (one part gin to two parts Fever Tree): Very interesting flavour, definitely unique, pepper definitely comes through. Very slightly aniseedy but very round and balanced. Rosemary gives way to notes of parma violets.

Recommended garnish: mild green chilli

Matthew says: "A bold gin that demands attention but does not conform, may not please the purists but has plenty of class."

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Khi’s choice: "Makar is very aromatic, so it needs to be in a cocktail with big flavour, so I used the cherry and vermouth to balance the flavour. I used some of our bitters to compliment the flavour too."

 Martinez recipe:

• 50ml Makar gin

• 20ml Sweet Vermouth

• 10ml Maraschino

Winners of the 2023 Scottish Gin Awards announced - including North Uist Distillery and Edinburgh Gin

• 2 dashes Good Spirits Company bitters


See also:

• 15 Scottish gins we recommend you try

Try our Gin Quiz 

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-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 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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