It’s World Gin Day tomorrow – here are the top gins from the north-east and the Highlands and Islands you can toast the occasion with.
When it comes to gin in the UK, Scotland is very much at the forefront of the industry.
With estimates some 70-80% of UK-produced gin comes from the country, there’s no denying Scotland has a love affair with the juniper-based spirit – which dates back to the 1700s when the first bottle of fiery Dutch Jenever entered into the Port of Leith.
With distilleries scattered up and down the country, you’ll find gin makers developing unique brands and flavours from the Western Isles to the East Coast.
To celebrate World Gin Day tomorrow, we’ve hand selected some of the north-east and the Highlands and Islands best expressions on the market right now.
So raise a tipple to your favourite distillers with us as we showcase some of the most innovative and forward-thinking brands out there.
Porter’s Gin – Aberdeen
Cold distilled, this light and refreshing gin is part-made in the heart of Aberdeen in one of the city’s trendiest cocktail bars, Orchid.
Founded by three friends who met in the drinks industry, this gin has been designed by those who have worked front-line in the industry and knew exactly what kind of gin the bar scene was in need of.
The brand has also got a Tropical Old Tom Gin which is fruity and packed full of flavour. A must if you’re looking for a tropical twist.
From £31.95 for a 70cl bottle, www.portersgin.co.uk
Loch Ness Gin -Inverness
Using ingredients sourced from the surrounding area and the rich water of Loch Ness, this family run brand is extremely passionate about the local area.
The gin is made by using handpicked juniper berries from the family estate on the shores of the loch and is brilliantly finished with a slice of kiwi as garnish.
From £40 for a 70cl bottle, www.wearelochness.com
Avva Gin – Elgin
Lovingly handcrafted in a copper pot still called Jessie-Jean, this Scottish gin is distilled with a selected mix of Highland and Speyside botanicals, ensuring local authenticity is at the heart of the brand.
Home to a bourbon cask finished gin, not to mention a 57.2% navy strength expression, too, Avva offers a varied range of spirits which can be easily enjoyed.
From £35 for a 70cl bottle, www.avvascottishgin.co.uk
Rock Rose Gin – Dunnet, Thurso
The brainchild of Claire and Martin Murray at Dunnet Bay Distillers, Rock Rose Gin is one of the most popular gins on the market.
Best known for its high quality liquid and its signature ceramic white bottle with waxed topper, it took 55 experiments for the husband and wife team to agree on the final recipe.
The ever-growing collection of limited edition expressions always go down a storm with this gin’s loyal following.
From £34 for a 70cl bottle, www.dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk
The Teasmith Gin – Aberdeenshire
Created by husband and wife team Emma and Nick Smalley, this gin was inspired by Aberdeenshire’s rich tea trade with Sri Lanka in the 19th century.
Launching a Growers Edition last year, the brand has centred its key botanicals around tea. Distilled with hand-picked specialist tea, the original expression is best served with a sprig of mint to garnish.
From £38.95 for a 70cl bottle, www.teasmithgin.com
El:Gin – Elgin
This Scottish brand is all about flavour and loves to experiment with different ideas when creating their gins.
From a mocha coffee infused liqueur to a fruity berry expression, not to mention a cherry gin, a Speyside heather honey gin and the original, there’s plenty to try out. The original gin sits at 40% ABV.
From £35 for a 70cl bottle, elgin-gin.co.uk
The Botanist – Isle of Islay
Crafted using 22 hand-foraged botanicals from the Isle of Islay, this stunning gin is the first and only Islay dry gin to hit the market.
Picked throughout the growing season, the botanicals are slowly distilled to give it its delicate fresh finish.
Bruichladdich Distillery, home of The Botanist, is now also a B Corp certified firm. You can read more about it here.
From £34 for a 70cl bottle, www.thebotanist.com
Esker Gin – Aberdeenshire
Founded in 2015, this gin started life in a back garden shed and has now found a home in its distillery based in Royal Deeside.
Creating using local silver birch sap on the Kincardine Estate where the distillery lies, all of Esker Spirits’ range is produced in copper stills.
As well as the original, Esker also boasts a honey spiced, raspberry and Valencian orange gin.
From £35 for a 70cl bottle, www.eskerspirits.com
Isle of Harris Gin – Isle of Harris
This well-known gin bottle houses one of Scotland’s most popular gins.
Made in the village of Tarbert at the Isle of Harris Distillery, the brand uses sugar kelp seaweed as their key botanical which is sustainably gathered by hand from local sea lochs.
Serve with a wedge of pink grapefruit for a refreshing gin and tonic.
From £37 for a 70cl bottle, www.harrisdistillery.com
Orkney Gin Company – Orkney
Taking inspiration from the bathtub method of making gin, Orkney Gin Company distils its gins seven times. The ultra-small batches are made using traditional techniques and many of the botanicals used are foraged.
The brand boasts four core gins and has also recently released Scotland’s first Akvavit – a Scandinavian spirit.
From £29.90 for a 70cl bottle, www.orkneygincompany.com
Kinrara Gin – Aviemore
Nestled in the Cairngorm National Park just outside Aviemore, this micro distillery uses local flora and berries within its variety of gins.
Kinrara Distillery also boasts a range of Artists Editions which sees the best young Scottish artists design a collectable bottle. The first releases feature artwork from Kat Baxter – a young Scottish artist who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone with a degree in Fine Art.
From £38.25 for a 70cl bottle, www.kinraradistillery.com
Barra Atlantic Gin – Isle of Barra
Another gin where seaweed is the main botanical, Barra Atlantic Gin features carrageen seaweed which is hand picked from the shores that surround the island.
Harvested after spring tides, each piece is dried and is then used in the distillation process to create the delicious gin.
From £30 for a 70cl bottle, www.isleofbarradistillers.com
Misty Isle Gin – Isle of Skye
Provenance is key when it comes to the distilling of this gin. A marriage of waters from the Storr Lochs and the best botanicals they can get their hands on, the gin features just 11 botanicals.
It also received the title of Scottish Gin Awards Distilled gin of the Year in 2018.
From £36 for a 70cl bottle, www.isleofskyedistillers.com
EeNoo Gin – Aberdeenshire
Made by the team at Lost Loch Spirits in Aboyne, this gin is distilled with Royal Deeside honey which is made up of local heather, willow herb and clover pollen. As well as the honey, there’s also locally foraged bramble berries, raspberries, rosehip and more packed in to give the gin its distinctive flavour.
There’s also water from an ancient spring in the Cairngorms National Park in there, too.
From £35 for a 70cl bottle, www.lostlochspirits.com