Virtual Gin Tasting Programme 1st October 2022
Meet-the-Makers Virtually on Saturday 1st October 6.00pm-8.30pm
With the 1st of October being International Scottish Gin Day, what better excuse do we need to have a strictly Scottish gin line up for this months Gin Tasting?!
October is our chance to celebrate and champion Scottish gin and their producers, this is where we recognise the hard work and talents of some of Scotland’s most exiting craft distillers. This month’s line-up is particularly exciting (if we do say so ourselves!), including classic dry gins through to commemorative wedding gins, this month, we really do cover it all!
So, without further ado, lets start the month as we mean to go on and raise a glass to Scottish distilleries, from afar!
Love and Best Wishes,
The Gin To My Tonic Team
ON THE NIGHT - MIX WITH THE BEST
Roehill Gin No.5 – Fever-Tree Indian, Orange, or Lime with Rosemary
North Uist Downpour Gin–Fever-Tree Indian, Lemon and Rosemary
McLean’s Something Blue Gin–Fever-Tree Mediterranean, Grapefruit & Mint
Isle of Cumbrae Nostalgin –Fever-Tree Naturally Light, & Orange
Inveryclde Coastal Gin– Fever-Tree Indian, & Orange
These are recommendations of The Gin To My Tonic and Fever-Tree.
A Roe a Deer! The story of Roehill Springs Distillery
Roehill Springs Distillery comprises of husband and wife team Duncan and Shirley Morrison. Alongside running the family farm, Duncan had a passion for gin for many years, gaining his Institute of Brewing & Distilling’s General Certificate and working as a stillman for 12 years he had always wanted to produce his own. His dream came true a couple of years ago when he decided to go for it!
Fuelled by a passion for the industry and a love for traditional craft distilling, Roehill have expanded their portfolio with a floral colour changing masterpiece and a hearty navy strength gin. Duncan and Shirley also champion their Scottish surroundings by using the finest locally foraged and traditional botanicals as well as their own natural spring water. The location was also key in naming the distillery, the land of Roehill aptly named because of the abundance of roe deer roaming freely on the land, a classic scene across the Scottish countryside.
This gin leads with classic Juniper, followed by bold and confident citrus, complex but sweet floral notes and finishing on a well rounded, smooth mouthfeel.
What inspired you to begin making gin and what do you love about the distillation process?
As well as running the family farm, I worked for 12 years as a stillman in a local whisky distillery, which is where I gained my Brewing & Distilling knowledge. Shirley and I were both really enjoying tasting all the new craft gins that were coming onto the market, and one day I had a light-bulb moment when I thought to myself “I could make my own gin” and that’s how it all began.
The thing that I love most about the distillation process is, the wonderful smell of the botanicals that fill the stillhouse during distillation and the lovely warm feeling when you taste the resultant spirit. It is very rewarding knowing that all of the time, care and effort you have taken in preparing and creating your gin has paid off.
What did Roehill Springs Distillery look like in the early days?
In the early days, Roehill Springs Distillery was just an old dis-used farm building so it looked pretty basic. We took advantage of having an existing building and went to work renovating it. It is a very small and humble building, but we do absolutely everything ourselves on-site. Our gins really are ultra-small batch and we are very proud of the awards that they have achieved. We believe in quality over quantity.
What is your perfect serve?
Our perfect serve is:
An extra large ice-cube
50ml Gin No 5
150ml Premium Indian Tonic
A slice of Orange
A Distillery Through Time - North Uist Distillery
Creating a gin that represents the authenticity of the Island that Jonny and Kate call home was at the heart of this project. It is the product of the passion for the industry and the people of the island, people are integral to the work that North Uist do.
Downpour gin is proudly hand-crafted on the island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, with citrus, spice and blossoms of wild Hebridean heather, this gin can be enjoyed in warm sunshine or torrential rain! The distillery building itself has had many different enterprises dating back to 1700, from nunneries to cattle sheds, North Uist is another exiting new venture for this piece of Hebridean history.
After the success of the flagship Downpour Gin, North Uist have subsequently released a zesty number, their Pink Grapefruit Gin has a strong level of citrus you can taste in every drop! Finally, a Sloe and Bramble gin, finished in bourbon casks for added fruity richness, a perfect winter warmer for those autumnal nights.
What do you love about gin / distilling?
I love the flavours of gin and I’m a big fan of a juniper forward classic G&T. Its also a very exciting time to like gin as there’s so much variety and so many different gins out there to taste at the moment.
What was your favourite moment from 2022 so far?
Definitely the launch of our beautiful new bespoke bottle. a lot of time and effort went into designing it and its paid off as people love it. It also highlights all of our brand touch points. The neck has ‘Island Life. Distilled’ embossed around it and the bottle feels very tactile with the embossed rain pattern .
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge has been the supply shortages since the pandemic. Earlier in the year we struggled to get enough glass and corks so we kept running out of stock. But thankfully, everything is back on track now.
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Colin and Jessica wanted to celebrate and commemorate their wedding with more than just photos, something unique to them. What better way to raise a toast to new adventures than with one of your own creations, that was where the Something Blue Gin was born.
McLean’s Something Blue Gin marries together each of their favourite botanicals, Tonka Bean and Buchu Leaves. These symbolic botanicals delicately tread the line between dry gin and flavoured gin whilst creating a perfect balance between the two. Further complimented by six botanicals, a beautifully balanced gin is created. With a floral nose comes a sweet yet herbaceous palate, it encapsulates the taste of those warm summer evenings in the garden.
From the Something Blue Gin success, McLean’s now boast a range of six different gins. Perhaps for the colder and darker months we are entering into, their winter spiced gin would be the perfect tipple for your hip flask or sat by the fire!
What made you choose botanicals you chose for your commemorative gin?
The gin “marries” our two favourite botanicals; tonka beans (Jessica’s favourite) and buchu leaves (my favourite). The former hail from Panama and the latter from southern Africa, “buchu” being the colloquial term for “good fragrance”. Much like tonka beans, It certainly is a good fragrance; something along the lines of blackcurrant leaf with a touch of garden mint and a subtle spice note akin to cinnamon/clove, with tonka beans being firmly in the vanilla/marzipan/magnolia category. The botanicals are an unlikely marriage; given the opposing continents that they hail from and their bold flavour characteristics, we’d hazard a guess that we’re the first to ever pair them in such a culinary sense…but it works! The remaining botanicals were selected to accentuate the flavour; there’s mahlab seed from Lebanon which adds a touch of almond; dried orris root which adds a floral bouquet to the nose and just a touch of cardamom, adding a subtle spice note to the finish, all sat atop a gentle juniper background (knowing that not everyone is a gin lover, we’ve gone a little lighter on the juniper than we might usually do…it was our wedding toast after all and the last thing one would want is for your non gn-loving guests screwing their faces up as you kiss the bride!). The final botanical – C. ternatea AKA “butterfly pea petals”…contrary to popular belief these don’t add anything meaningful in terms of flavour, but do add a beautiful blue hue to the gin (which transforms to a striking violet with the addition of tonic water).
Do you have any exciting plans for 2023? What can we expect to see from you in 2023?
Navy Strength gins seem to be having a bit of a moment, and Navy Blue has a nice ring to it…watch this space.
Would you ever consider branching away from Gin and experiment with other spirits?
We’re still very much focused on our favourite spirit for the moment, but we do like to experiment. Lots of producers seem to be going down the rum route, which has been touted as “the next big thing” for a while. It’s tempting to hop on that bandwagon of course, but our ideas (which are firmly under wraps for the moment) would likely begin with grapes as opposed to molasses or sugar cane.
Isle of Cumbrae, Nostalgin
The Isle of Cumbrae Distillers is the first, all female own Scottish distillery, and what an achievement that is! The team of 5 ladies started in September 2019 and by the end of 2020 they had obtained some incredibly high accolades in the industry, such as a Gold at the Gin Masters.
The team pride themselves in being an advocate for the older business woman, showing that you can start a business at any age, they are proof that age is but a number! Not only are they passionate about the product they make, they strive to be sustainable, choosing only responsible packaging and being members of the islands beach clean team, they recognise the importance of sustainability.
Their flagship spirit, Nostalgin, was designed to create memories of summer holidays. with lavender and bramble bring subtle floral notes, topped off with sweet orange for a citrussy burst! As well as their Nostalgin success, their release of Croc Rock gin is a lovely winter warmer. With spiced ginger and cacao creating a rich and creamy feeling, it has a taste that lingers after you’ve enjoyed your last sip.
What inspired you to begin making gin / what inspired your range?
A love of the island…and gin, first brought us together, probably in one of Millport’s 5 pubs; certainly, the conversations blossomed during Thursday quiz nights at the Twa Dugs! Our conversations evolved from the general idea for an island distillery to raise funds to support the campaign to save Millport’s historic Town Hall building – a commitment that remains near and dear to us – to the realization that with our collective life experience, skills, enthusiasm, and “why the hell not” attitude, we could be the ones to start up a distillery for the island!
Our gin range is inspired by our island for our first three gins. Nostalgin, Croc Rock and Restoration Gin all have island stories, and the chosen botanicals are wrapped into those stories. Our newest Gin, Maura, has fabulous stories about women and Scotland – in fact the label is packed with stories – we can’t wait to share them with you!
What is your perfect serve?
Nostalgin is best served with a light tonic and a slice of orange or bramble.
Do you have any exciting plans for 2023?
Absolutely – we are now available in Europe and soon to be distributed in Italy. We also hope to get Maura to the USA in 2023.
Inverclyde Coastal Gin
Inverclyde Coastal Gin has always been about the people, it is a celebration of everything the locals know and love about the area. With classic flavours of Juniper, Coriander Seed. Orris Root and Angelica bring cooling earthy notes, then the Sweet Orange softly blends with the Bramble, and Samphire. Finally it finishes on notes of Sea Buckthorn, reminiscent of a summer sea breeze.
They take immense pride in their local ethos and their relationship with the community. The local people helped with the design of the bottle, aiming to celebrate the fascinating heritage of boat building in the local area.
After the Coastal Gin release, Inverclyde have gone on to release a Limited Edition Tidal Series, including a Smugglers Sweet Orange and Peach. The aroma of citrus is prominent when tonic is added, making a deliciously bold and vibrant G&T.
What did Inverclyde Gin look like in the early days?
The design of the bottle was pretty different. We have more of an off-the-shelf bottle and didn’t have the distinctive neck finish at that stage. It was also more focussed on the Inverclyde landscape with many of the early stage designs showing off the beautiful scenery. It was only after around 4-5 iterations that we got to the more clean, minimalist design focussing on our coastal roots.
What inspired you to begin making gin?/ what inspired your range?
There’s been a desire to have something local for a while and we have the innovation capabilities in-house to do so pretty quickly. COVID also presented a bit of an opportunity as we had a bit more time than usual to be more innovative and focus on creativity – with one of the outcomes being Inverclyde Gin.
What inspired you to begin making gin and what do you love about the distillation process?
We wanted to create a gin for our staff and the local people. There was no gin in the market local to Inverclyde, which is full of history and passionate people. We involved all of our staff in the development process – from tasting the liquid to picking designs – and everyone’s signature is on the bottle. All of our bottles are also hand finished – an element we’re really proud of. The innovation side of the distillation process is probably my favourite – getting to try all of the different variants, botanicals and strengths (and seeing just how different all of our palates are!)
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FEVER TREE
Fever-Tree began in 2003 with a meeting of minds and one simple premise: if three quarters of your G&T is the tonic, wouldn’t you want it to be the best?
It became apparent that Charles and Tim had both come to the same conclusion – namely that the growing prevalence and popularity of premium spirits had not been matched by what was on offer in the tonic category. From the very beginning, Charles and Tim approached their business in a different way – there would be no compromise at Fever-Tree. Flavour and quality were of the utmost importance. This mindset led them on an 18-month adventure from the archives of the British Library to facing the wrong end of a Kalashnikov in the Democratic Republic of Congo and concluded with the launch of our Premium Indian Tonic Water in 2005, with the belief we still operate by today.. If 3/4 of your drink is a mixer, mix with the best. As well as quality, Charles and Tim wanted to put the choice back into the category. The whole company has been built on innovation. Constantly developing new mixers, new flavours, new ideas, thus creating, an array of flavours to pair with the myriad of premium Gins, Vodkas, Whisky’s and Vermouths.