While Scotland will always be known as whisky country, the boom in the gin market over the past few years has seen many distilleries starting to produce gin as well as the traditional whisky. Distilleries solely producing gin are also popping up with over 200 now across Scotland and a loyal band of enthusiasts who are firmly on the Scottish Gin Trail.
Gin is made with grain mash in the same way as whisky, with whisky going on to be aged in barrels whereas gin is infused with different botanicals such as juniper berries. It is then distilled to a higher strength alcohol by volume than whisky, with a minimum strength of 37.5% abv. In order for whisky to legally be referred to as such it must spend a minimum of 3 years in cask, but as gin doesn’t need to age it is much quicker to produce. It is no wonder distilleries are starting to branching out into it.
Gin is certainly not something new to Scotland, after all, some of the most well-known and much loved brands hail from here. Gordon’s has been made in Scotland since 1998 and Hendrick’s create their floral spirt in their very own ‘Gin Palace’ in Ayrshire.
The current popularity of the drink has resulted in an International Scottish Gin Day being established. This year it will be celebrated on Saturday, 2 October 2021 and will be marked by gin makers across the globe with a range of special events forming a real ‘celebration of gin’. Some hosts are offering complimentary distillery tours and there is the chance to take part in a cocktail masterclass or even a ‘virtual ceilidh’!
Traditionally paired with tonic for a refreshing tipple, gin is also a key ingredient in some really delicious cocktails.
As well as the classic gin drinks such as the gimlet, gin fizz and martini, the Italian Negroni has had somewhat of a revival over recent years. The tasty blend mixes gin with vermouth and Campari over ice, topped off with a slice of orange – utter perfection!
Balmenach Distillery, Speyside
At the Balmenach Distillery near Cromdale in Speyside Caorunn Gin is produced by their resident Gin Master. As well as their usual gin and the flavoursome but potent Highland Strength variety they also make a Scottish Raspberry flavour that is particularly gorgeous and fruity when served with tonic over ice.
Just 7 miles away from the distillery is North Steading near Nethy Bridge. This former steading has been transformed into comfy, cosy holiday accommodation that is ideally placed for getting out and about in the Cairngorms National Park.
The Borders Distillery, Scottish Borders
The Borders Distillery in set right in the heart of the Hawick in the Scottish Borders and produces whisky and vodka as well as gin. Tours of the distillery are available followed by a tasting session and they provide a little sample bottle for the nominated driver to take home with them.
Just quarter of an hour’s drive from the distillery is Stables Cottage, a peaceful rural retreat set in a woodland clearing on the Borthwickshiels Estate.
This traditional cottage is pet friendly and sleeps up to 6 people with scenic walks out into the hills straight from the door. Stables and grazing can be arranged for those wanting to bring their horse along.
Persie Distillery, Glenshee
A variety of gins are made by the Persie Distillery in Glenshee where as well as guided tours there are tastings with food and gin pairings and even the chance to try a cocktail master classes.
Their tasting room is dog friendly as well so four legged friends can come along but strictly sticking just to water!
The Dalmunzie country estate sits within an easy 20 minute drive of the distillery and has 6 different properties varying in size within its 6,500 acres.
One of the more unusual properties on the estate is The Dower House that has a lovely baronial style turret that sets it apart. From the bedrooms some gorgeous views of the estate and the Glen Taitneach and Ben Gulabin mountains can be admired and there are wonderful walks all around the estate.
The Isle of Raasay Distillery, Isle of Raasay
The Isle of Raasay Distillery takes its name from the island it is based on just off the beautiful Isle of Skye. It uses a unique water source to create both whisky and gin made with handpicked juniper berries. The distillery occupies a stunning setting on the island with amazing views all the way over to Skye and the impressive Cuillin mountains.
Kilima is just half a mile from the distillery, offering spacious accommodation in a handy location for exploring the delightful island.
As it is less than 5 minutes’ drive from the ferry terminal it is really handy for popping over to discover the delights of the amazing Isle of Skye.
With such a wide range of distilleries to add to the holiday agenda, there are plenty of opportunities to bid each other the traditional ‘Sláinte Mhath’ (pronounced slanj-a-va) meaning ‘good health’ in Gaelic. Get in touch with our knowledgeable Booking Team to get your perfect cottage booked close to any of these fascinating gin makers.